Five Councilmen Withdraw Support For Bill to Boost Disability Pension of NYC Cops


Last week, Pension360 reported on the re-emergence of a New York City Council resolution that would boost police disability benefits.

At the time, a majority of councilmembers were on board with the resolution.

But between last week and now, things have changed: this week, five councilmembers withdrew their support for the measure.

A few of them said they changed their mind after they were asked to reconsider their stance by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Details from Capital New York:

Five members of the City Council are withdrawing their support for a resolution that would boost disability pension benefits for New York City police officers and firefighters.

The five offered varying reasons for removing their names from the resolution, which is a priority for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union that’s been at odds with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Several Council members said they changed their minds after Mark-Viverito and her staff asked them to reconsider. Eric Koch, a spokesman for Mark-Viverito, denied the Speaker made any such calls, but did not dispute that her staff had reached out to members.

The list of council members who changed their minds:

Councilman Vincent Gentile of Brooklyn had signed onto the proposal last week, but withdrew his support over a “procedural issue,” his spokesman said.


The other members who backed away from the resolution are: Danny Dromm of Queens and Robert Cornegy of Brooklyn, both of whom did not respond to repeated requests for comment; Donovan Richards of Queens, who declined comment; and Daneek Miller of Queens.

The measure would boost police disability pensions by altering the tier system that dictates benefits. Crain’s explains:

[The measure] would increase disability pensions for police hired after July 2009. It has been introduced annually in response to Mr. Paterson’s veto of a bill to move newly hired officers to the more generous Tier II pension from Tier III.

Members of Tier III work for 22 years, instead of 20, to collect full-service pensions. Their disability benefits are 44% of their last three years of salary with an offset for Social Security benefits, instead of 75% of the final year’s salary with no offset.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has come out against the measure, and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is undecided.


Photo by via Flickr CC License

New York City Council Members Urge State Lawmakers to Overturn Governor’s Veto of Veteran Pension Bill

New York City

Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have granted certain war veterans a “jump-start” toward drawing a state pension.

Some members of New York’s City Council are calling on state lawmakers to overturn that veto.

From the Queens Chronicle:

Members of the City Council’s Veterans Committee are urging state lawmakers to overturn Gov. Cuomo’s veto of a bill that would allow veterans who served during peacetime or undesignated conflicts to purchase up to three years of credit toward a state pension plan.

“We firmly believe that all military service is public service and therefore all honorably discharged veterans deserve access to the additional retirement credits this bill would afford,” a written statement by the members of the committee states.

The committee on Nov. 20 wrote to both Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), urging the two to direct their respective houses to vote in a special session of the state Legislature to override the veto of the governor.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), chairman of the Veterans Committee, said the two leaders should “not allow Gov. Cuomo’s veto to essentially close the door on helping thousands of veterans who deserve the help the most.”

Cuomo’s thoughts on the bill:

Cuomo on Nov. 7 vetoed the bill, stating that it would “run rough-shod over systemic reforms carefully negotiated with the Legislature to avoid saddling local property taxpayers with additional, unmanageable burdens.”

“It is disheartening to see the Legislature reverse course only two years after it overwhelmingly agreed to avoid tossing these burdens onto local taxpayers in cities, towns, counties and school districts,” Cuomo added.

“But the Legislature has chosen to ignore its commitment to shield property taxpayers from the costs of the new statewide pension enhancements.”

The estimated first-year cost to city employers would be about $18 million, according to the bill.