Overtime Boosts Pensions for Port Authority Officers

May 22, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - High overtime is boosting the pension pay for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officers.

The Associated Press reports that a Newark Star-Ledger review of New York state pension and Port Authority records found that, in many cases, retiring officers are receiving pension payments much higher than their base pay. The review also found officers still working much overtime late in their careers, even though a Port Authority equability policy requires overtime to first be offered to officers with the least amount of overtime, the AP said.

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, more than 100 Port Authority police officers have retired with pensions between $95,000 to $172,000, and more than 100 other officers gained pensions between $60,000 and $95,000.

As a result, contributions by the Port Authority to cover police pensions have skyrocketed. Payments from the agency have grown from $3.6 million in 2000 to nearly $33 million in 2005, and officials say rising police overtime was partly responsible for the spike.

Though the Port Authority is a bi-state agency, its employees are covered under New York’s public employee pension system, even if they live in New Jersey or Connecticut. This provides an extra bonus for Port Authority officers from New Jersey, where the state pension system prohibits using overtime to boost pensions.