MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There is public anger over taxpayers shouldering huge payoffs to terminated political appointees.
Many in Nassau County say it’s time to get real and quash antiquated cash allowances for unused sick days and vacation days.
“As a taxpayer, I am not fond of it,” one person told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan on Thursday.
Some taxpayers are not fond of the huge cash payouts being given to political appointees — even if they quit.
“They set their friends up for political favors,” another person said.
As many as 75 employees cashed out $2.5 million when County Executive Ed Mangano left office. Among them, chief deputy Rob Walker, who will soon to be tried for federal corruption, received $139,644.
“We are going to start watching the pocketbook of Nassau County and we are going to take a look at what people are getting, what they are entitled to, and how do we control it,” legislator Denise Ford said.
Ford, a Long Beach Democrat who caucuses with the Republican majority, is sponsoring a bill to reduce terminated political appointees’ cash-out days from 290 to 125.
“It’s the kind of thing that in this area, with the highest property taxes in America, that sticks in the craw of taxpayers and really raises the level of cynicism. It isn’t good for labor or management,” political observer Lawrence Levy said.
Others say Nassau’s proposed bill is not far-reaching enough and should include provisions to renegotiate CSEA union contract cash-outs as well.
“Some may say, ‘Oh, that is some payout,’ but it’s after a 30-year career,” CSEA president Jerry Laricchiuta said. “Many jobs, if they call in sick, police officers, have to be replaced, on overtime.”
“I had sick days. I got my money when I retired. It’s only fair,” retired union worker Mary Terranova said.
Health insurance, pensions, and time off, but private health care worker Mercedes Alexander said resentment is building in the private sector where cash-outs are limited.
“Policies need to be changed. In regular companies they mandate you to take vacations,” Alexander said.
Public employees deserve a fair wage and retirement plan, but critics say the massive accrual of time is no longer sustainable in this day and age.
County Executive Laura Curran has not yet staked out a position.