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Not only is Mayor Bloomberg apparently misleading the media and the public about the so-called "Christmas bonuses," he's also not telling the whole truth about the $12-thousand-dollar retiree payment. After listening to numerous retired police officers and firefighters tonight, it seems not EVERY retiree gets the benefit. Also, the Mayor never once mentioned how much money the City has made off the deal that resulted in this payment. The bottom line is the Mayor can't take something away that was established years ago just because it doesn't fit into his budget proposal. Wall Street still gets its perks and he doesn't fight that. It seems Billionaire Bloomberg is bit biased.
Union leaders representing rank-and-file police officers and firefighters called Mayor Bloomberg a "liar" who is trying to "steal money" from their pensions. UFA President Stephen Cassidy and PBA boss Pat Lynch are upset over Bloomberg's proposal to eliminate an annual $12,000 payment to retirees.
Bloomberg estimates getting rid of the payment, which retired members receive on top of their regular pensions, would save the City a billion dollars a year. The Mayor acknowledged the difficult decision, then said, "Do we want to send out Christmas bonuses or have more teachers?"
Is it reasonable to cut this payment from pension benefits, given the City's budget constraints? Do retired firefighters and police officers deserve this money? Is Mayor Bloomberg trying to pit unions against each other, as their leaders claim?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
The City wastes so much money of good tax payer money - did the City really need to take out car lanes and ruin the streets and small businesses, just one example. It is absolutely wrong to take away this pension money. Maybe the Mayor doesn't need so many chefs, drivers and trips on tax paper money. There is the billion a year right there. Stop stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. The fat cats are fat enough.
Esmerelda, East Village, NYC
There is 130 Billion Dollars of Pension Contributions Money Laying in The NYCERS Pension (really years ago negotiated as deferred compensation years ago - now called Pensions) fund contributed by Civil Servants (Teachers, Police, Fire, Sanitation, Transit , etc).
Are The City Council going to contribute their pensions and lifetime medical ? Are Past Mayors Koch etc going to forego their pensions and lifetime medical? Are Congress and Politicians going to give up their pensions lifetime medical.? Are they going to share in this so called pain ? That they actually created.
This is America, you are allowed to earn money that is negotiated under legal New York state Law. How low will politicians stoop by holding wonderful teachers hostage ? Oh sure, the teachers did this to the economy. Pathetic this type of extorsion ..
Jack, West Side
Not only should they give up their $12,000 bonuses, they and their families should start paying for the lifetime medical benefits they collect starting on retirement in their 40s.
I often wonder how the uniformed services have gotten away with this for so long, and the best reason I can come up with is that (1) they do a good job of refusing the public access to the details of their benefits and (2) a huge portion of the NYC population that isn't on the public payroll is subsidized through Medicaid, housing, food stamps, etc. and doesn't really care since they don't pay taxes.
By the way, I am the granddaughter of a fire captain in another city and the niece of other members of the uniformed services.
Ellie - Midtown
IF the 12K is part of the NYPD and FDNY Pension Package, then it must be honored by the city. If it is not part of the pension package, then it should be looked at. Other city workers do not get perks on top of their pensions, pensions are set. If the 12K is something that NYPD and FDNY get on top of their pensions, the matter must be examined. Other city retirees do not get those sort of perks please correct me if I am wrong???
[OUR REPLY: The $12,000 payment is not considered a part of the pension system and is not constitutionally protected.]
I AM NOT A POLICE OFFICER OR FIREFIGHTER. THEY HAVE GREAT BENEFITS AND PERKS. I AM NOT A POLICE OFFICER OR A FIREFIGHTER BECAUSE OF THE AWFUL DANGERS INVOLVED. THESE FINEST AND BRAVEST MEN AND WOMEN DESERVE ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING TO KEEP THEM ON THE JOB. SKIRLING BAGPIPES WILL EVEN THIS ARGUMENT WHEN THESE SENTINELS IN THE PAST AND FUTURE HAVE FALLEN PROTECTING THIS CITY AND ITS PEOPLE. SIMPLY PUT, FIND THE MONEY ELSEWHERE.
JOE, BAY TERRACE
Instead of eliminating the $12,000 payment outright, why not scale it back to $8,000 or $6,000, that way the retirees would not completely lose this bonus and the city would save some money. And the amount of the bonus can be restored or renegotiated during better financial times.
This was suppose to be when the stock market was doing good. It is not anymore. Cut it down to zero.
I never voted for him nor his johnny one note predecessor but I do know this: his clone in Albany will never be reelected and can forget about national office with this kind of demagoguery and class warfare. And I couldn't care less about teachers, who are grossly overpaid and without many skills. From grammar school through college, there were but a few who were worth having. (today they're worse).
This mayor is overstepping his bounds time and time again. I keep saying in my e-mails that he has no respect for any of us and the rules never apply to him just to same people that pay taxes and continue to get nothing and we are treated as nothing. He should leave because he has no business being in that office as he should take the city council with him. He continues to be sarcastic over and over again. I hope all of these stories never go away and we should hit him hard.
What about all the free fringe benefits that he allows and no one but no one has mentioned any benefits that these tax and spend politicians just continue to do and we are told to mind our own business.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALREADY
I am one of those people who gets a pension and social security- and cannot claim that I am living high on the hog. I get enough to subsist and that`s it.
Rosalie from Canarsie.
I think it is pretty sad of this mayor to go after this benefit that was earned by taking members pension money, growing it at high rates and then paying them 12k when the city was recieving so much more in return. This system had been set up by the city, so how about the mayor just fork over all the money the city has earned plus interest and then it should be even. When things are going great this man is out in front cheering on wall street and every other joker but the minute it gets tough he attacks the working men and women of this city. How about that great deal with city time This man is a joke.
Do the NYC cops and NYC firemen deserve the $12,000 annual payment? Well if it If the $12,000 is a "defined benefit" which was written into state law as a result of labor negotiations back in 1970, then the cops and firemen deserve it rightfully ........... and legally. What would our city's labor workers integrity become if our City arbitrarily backed out of a legal and legitimate deal made with the City???? A deal is a deal. Mayor Bloomberg should take his issue to the city counsel and address is properly. Misleading the public into thinking that this annual payment is a "bonus" is disgraceful. Love cops and firemen, or hate them - we must respect labor laws and legally and honestly constructed deals struck with the City. Re-negging on a deal with any union laborer is very dangerous territory.
The Mayor is grossly misinformed.....or is he trying to purposely mislead the public to sway their opinion? He is a smart man - my guess is that he knows the truth.......and so should you.....
The "Annual Bonus" that the Mayor is referring to is legally called the VARIABLE SUPPLEMENT FUND (VSF) which was initially created at the City's request. (It wasn't the Unions idea at all) Mayor Bloomberg knows this. The original deal came about at the City's urging because the administration under then mayor John Lindsay wanted to be able to invest money from the POLICE and FIRE Pension Funds in the stock market and needed the approval of the Unions. Mayor Bloomberg knows this. The Unions wanted an improvement in the formula used to calculate what percentage of salary would determine pension allowances for their members.
The matter went before an arbitrator and during discussions the City Chief Actuary proposed as an alternative that the VSF be created, with the funding only to be provided in years when the stock investments topped that of the City's bond holdings by a specific percentage. The unions agreed and decided that this was acceptable and the arbitrator incorporated it in his award. The funds were created by a state law that passed in 1970, that made them retroactive to October 1, 1968.
NYC. Mayor Bloomberg knows this quite well. As a result of this very lucrative deal, The City made BILLIONS (not millions) of dollars! Fast forward - During the second term of mayor Giuliani, it was estimated that the City's share of the pension funds profits during the stock market boom of the 1990s was $4 billion greater than it would have been had the unions refused to make the conversion to a defined-benefit payment. Cops and Firemen have made many concessions and paid handsomely to secure this defined-benefit over the years. The Cops and Firemen BOUGHT and PAID FOR this defined-benefit. It is not a bonus. It is state law. Period.
Only Bloomberg would propose something as ludicrous as this, he's never had to stand a foot post at 3 in the morning in a crack infested neighborhood, or had to run into a burning building to save a 4 yr child, no police officer or firefighter is getting rich from a 12 thousand dollar bonus, once again the mayor is severely out of touch with the citizens of New York!!!
R from Queens
Retired police officers receive decent pensions. That should be sufficient. It's not like they have benefits for the rest of their lives. There is no reason for annual payments of $12,000. For once, I do agree with Bloomberg. However, isn't it time that he stop using the teachers and "the new budget hostages." Why doesn't our Mayor find a way to correct the City Time deal, with all of its corruption and come down from Planet Bloomberg. Not only are the Unions fed up with his "budget ploys", but so are the residents of New York City.
While it’s appropriate to cut salaries and pensions in time of economic crisis, whether you can or can’t, whether you should or shouldn’t depends on the labor contract. If the contract calls for these payments you have three choices. One is to continue paying. Two is to stop paying and risk a lawsuit for contract violation. Three is when the contract expires, delete these payments, cut salaries, etc.
Few people it seems today understand the power and importance of labor agreements. All employer, employee relations should be defined by a clearly stated contract. Absent that, nothing but trouble will be encountered.
Port Richmond, SI
The truth about the origin of this payment appears unclear as of right now, as I would hope that Mayor Bloomberg is not lying. If it is really a holiday bonus, then it should be rescinded immediately.
HOWEVER, if the $12,000 payment is actually derived from a state law in 1970 created by the City's urging with the Unions approval, then it should absolutely remain as it has been since 1970. For Mayor Bloomberg to even attempt to change this law, successful or not, is a blatant slap in the face to ALL CITY EMPLOYEES who have now, or ever will negotiate salaries, benefits and pensions with the city. A deal is a deal. As a businessman in NYC, that's very poor business ...... and quite unethical.
Ask the Mayor, how much excess money did the city gain over the last 43 years of using city union pension money? versus this supplement that is given to retirees.
Look at the last 20 years of contracts and see the injustice of raises for police officers and firemen. It is a dangerous and dirty job. For 43 years the city got the benefit of our money in the stock market to help the city's budget and they are still benefitting. Now they want to steal it away.
Billionaire Bloomberg is a thief and a liar.
NYC has long since sold it's soul and pocketbook down the river with these pensions and gross overtime scams that were promised in a time when most people never thought the high times would EVER end. Alas, they have ended. Things will NEVER be as good as they once were for NYC, financially speaking. A contract is a contract though. How many lawsuits will NYC see when the Mayor starts to break these contracts? How much $$$ will the defense of breaking the contracts cost the city?
Someone who is trusted who is NOT hated as much as the current Mayor should be brought in to try to bring everyone to the table with realistic expectations. Perhaps it's time to stop promising the moon and stars and start to make realistic salary, overtime, and pension promises and contracts for ALL city workers!
Having the Mayor basically say; "what do you want, fire protection or educated children?" is probably the WORST way to address this subject.
while i am a big supporter of the city workers, they have been getting benefits that are unheard of in the private sector. retire at 20yrs...fine...collect when you are 62!
The Variable Supplement Fund is NOT a holiday bonus, nor is it “On Top” of the pension. The VSF is a supplement to the pension that the members themselves paid for through pension concessions. The 100 million dollars that the union members agreed to allow The City to invest, cost the members in other benefits that the union provides.
We the city employees chose to work for the city because of the benefits and the pensions. For many years the private sector did so well and profited so much money. We knew we were not going to get rich working for the city, but the one thing we never expected the city to do was go back on the agreements we reached through hard fought labor negotiations.
The mayor of this city needs to stop insulting the people of the city. Stop playing games and trying to garnish the peoples vote. If the mayor believes the VSF is unfair then let’s go to the mats. Let’s take it to Albany where he doesn’t have the legislators in his pocket, unlike the city council.
Just to clear up some numbers in 1968 the Nypd and FDNY agreed to give the city 177 million dollars a far cry then the several million dollars that are being talked about on the news. In 1988 again the city used 250 million dollars of the NYPD and FDNY monies soooooo just wondering who really has gotten the better end of this deal. This man is a hypocrite who has turned on everyone and is grossly out of touch with his constituients but then again it must be tough to govern from Bermuda.
1) NYC does not pay into the Police Pension Fund until a member (Police/Fire) submits their application for retirement. NYC employees (POLICE & FIRE) PAY their share, every two weeks (pay week) for twenty (20) years like clockwork. NYC does NOT. The NYC Police & Fire Pension funds are SELF-Funded (Employee contributions) 2) 1967 an agreement between NYC & unions agreed to invest these funds into the Stock market. NYC was allowed the first 6% interest gained; any amount over 6% went into the VSF. The VSF was not touched for twenty years accumulating interest based on these investments. The city wanted to use these dollars (Billions) for their investments, the union negotiated an agreement thus paying retirees $2500 increasing annually $500. Up to $12,000 in 2007. 3) The VSF is Police & Fire Owned respectfully. The city used OUR money and now wants to steal the principal.
Sean Retired NYPD
Let's let the Labor Lawyers have discussion with the City Lawyers. Documents were signed.
When the VSF wasn't worth anything, no one wanted to talk about it. When it started to make some money, the City (Guiliani) put a gun to the Union's heads demanding these funds. So the deal was made where the city got millions in return for the defined benefit.
Once again, Bloomberg uses the press to stir the pot without disclosing all the facts.
Stop it already.
Gd night, in reference to the Mayors cuts,everyone should consider the years we took low salaries and some zeroes in our contract still getting the job done! that's why New York is the largest safe city in the world. We constantly do more with less and this will definitely affect what we fought for all these years, especially in these times of terrorism. The job will not attract new officers, there is lots of retirements and we are already short approx 2-3000 plus members.
This will definitely hurt lots of families and the safety of our city! Crime is on the rise and continue to spike daily. Are we gonna go back to the days of the early 80's n 90's. using the term Christmas bonus is just a method to get folks in the private sector to agree with him! Isn't it great that he qaudrupled his billions in his terms of service changing laws to make it happen for him.
The mayor don't have a clue I am a officer with twenty years plus the vs is not a christmas fund , it is a supplement income to the retired uniform staff who protect and serve the people each a everyday ! The cost of living has increase , but not the pension system . Hard working people need help also and that the VSF does.
This is unheard off over 100 k pension after 20 years its like winning lotto.
These benefits are tied to the pensions of these retirees. Our pensions are protected by federal law. Isn't it true that it also would be a violation of the Taylor law to negotiate any reduction in pension benefits? Does the mayor or even the state legislature have the legal authority to put these payments on the table? Could the state be sued in Federal court if she tried to take them back?
The FDNY and NYPD laugh in the face of the working non-municipal middle class. They get to work the least and get paid the most even when they have retired at the ripe age of 45.
I don't want my tax dollars to be spent this way. The $12,000 bonus annually is actually hitting the Lotto on the backs of the rest of working people in New York.
Whatever was finagled in 1968 or so doesn't hold water now.
I work very hard and can't retire till I am 65 which means putting in 40 years on the job. I will be lucky to get enough to pay my bills when I retire. My health benefits is Medicare.
The people of New York should not be held hostage by these 2 agencies.
The variable supplement fund was and is funded by give backs on past contracts and agreements for the use pension monies.
It started in 1968 and has been modified several times since. Police officers have sacrificed raises and agreed to contracts based on this negotiated deal.
Its not a christmas bonus. It is an agreement that police officers have sacrificed a minimum of 12 percent in
raises from the past. There was also an extention of the time to top pay. It went from 3yrs to top pay to 5 years to top
pay. That had a dramatic impact on every police officer since 1988.
The concept that you would take money away from people already retired and from an agreed upon contract is unheard
of. This LIE that it is a christmas bonus will never be true no matter how many times it is repeated.
Mayor Bloomberg himself altered this agreement and enhanced it.
How about this: Instead of cutting pensions to make public employees just as poor as private employees, why don't we try to expand pensions so that all employees have retirement that's just as good as public servants, as opposed to everyone getting screwed by deflated 401-k plans?
Lower East Side
In difficult financial times should Speaker Christine Quinn have a discretionary fund of 21 million dollars? Perhaps that should be cut instead of a fund that pays back the members of the worlds greatest police and fire departments what was given to the city in exchange for in excess of 100 million dollars which was given to the city by the unions. Also the police and fire unions gave contract concessions to obtain this pension benefit. The mayor does not bring this up...why???
Charlie from Bayside
If firefighters should keep this payment which they deserve sanitation workers should be entitled to it as well b/c they don't have annual payment for retires
The $12,000 a year pension "Skim" was set-up as part of a collective bargaining agreement. The retirees get this money as a concession to allow NYC to invest retirement plan assets in equities back in the 1980s. NYC is on the hook to pay the "Skim" whether or not the pension fund assets earn money in the stock market. This pension supplement benefit should be renegotiated and indexed to actual stock market returns. It is unreasonable for NYC taxpayers to continue to "guarantee returns" to retired police and firefighters. They already have a very generous defined benefit pension plan; e.g. 50% final average pay, after 20 years of service and medical benefits. I am about the retire, and my company is not paying me a "Skim" benefit even though my 401(k) is way down....
I noticed that all of the calls received today are from retired Police and Firefighters. From a students perspective, if the City needs money, why not take it away. They aren't the only people in the world that are retired and are struggling to survive. Its being completely selfish for everyone to be against it. Which is worse, A retired worker not receiving a extra 12,00 a year on top of what else they get from the state, or a new teacher losing their job because of cuts??? its a no Brainer.
Both my wife and I work for NYC, yet we can hardly afford to live in the outer city, forget Manhattan. Combined we have fourteen years of college education, yet we struggle daily. Both police and fire fighters are underpaid and under appreciated in this city, as are all city workers. City workers allow this great city to function. I am a NYC teacher, and I too am a target of Bloomberg. He threatens my job daily with budget cuts, saying he "must fire teachers". Still, more students enter the system each year and schools become more and more crowded, all while waiving a flag of reform.
Bloomeberg is clearly guilty of a divide and conquer strategy and should be ashamed. To turn the unions on one another is a dirty move. Unions need to join together and combat the Mayor. Moreover, the citizens of this city need to look past the headlines before they quickly judge the city employees. Bloomberg is successful at one thing, getting plenty of media coverage, swaying opinions in his favor.
Hey Bloomberg try entering a burning fire, a crime scene, or teaching adolescents daily before taking food from our tables.
Mike, a teacher from Bay Ridge Brooklyn.
I believe that anyone favoring major Bloomberg's opinion regarding pension benefits is not yet vested for one. Retirement benefits are well earned and deserved due to years of dedication to your job. Falling for demagogy and blatant fallacy is a self-defeating act that will be a reason for regret as the person approaches retirement age and being considered what sounds like "damaged goods" after years of devotion to your job. It is easy for a billionaire to insult dedicated professionals with expressions like "letting go of the young and good and keeping the old and bad". In short, major Bloomberg is now showing is true colors regarding whom does he stands for, namely, the rich and mighty like himself.
Mr. Divisive Bloomberg is once again trying to divide and conquer. He is trying to divide the teachers by pitting the new teachers form the seasoned teachers in changing last in first out. Now he is trying to pit the unions against each other. I do not accept that this is an either or situation. He might have to be more creative with the budget and stop the scare tactics. Again as he did with term limits he is trying to change the rules at the last moment.
States like NY, deep in crisis over pension debt long deferred, have two options, don't they? Either default on their debt or default on their obligation to people. Surprise?!? The people are not the priority. It's shameful but it may be best to get used to it.
J. Young Manhattan
No one has addressed this but the Governor and Mayor are not doing all they can to save money.We have a standing policy where illegal aliens can apply and receive benefits they are not entitled to.Changing that policy would save us BILLIONS .No the deal for with NYPD and FDNY should remain in place.This Mayor is wrong and yes he is lying, you cannot balance the budget from taking money out of the mouth of NYC retirees.
I believe that the Mayor is making the right choice by cutting these "christmas bonuses". Unfortunately city and state workers are used to nice-sweet pensions.
It is better to cut these bonuses and be able to save 1 billion dollars a year and to keep some of the newer generation that came on board.
I fully support the mayor's decision, retirees should learn how to cut their expenses as well as the rest of the citizens.
Eddie from Inwood.
the mayor is way out of line what he doesn't realize is that the police and fire dept depend on that bonus to live on many of them live on a budget they are too young to get ss let him cut his staffs pay the they'd be sreaming for sure
The mayor is wrong. He doesn't have the right to take away benefits which unions had negotiated. The police and firefighters deserve what they have. Who is the mayor kidding, the private sector doesn't give christmas bonuses...doesn't wall st count as a private sector?
Little Italy nyc
Bloomberg will do anything to bust the unions of this city. if he's not trying to give his friends city money by contracting out as in the city time scandal instead of giving that work to union workers trained for it. then he is trying to turn the city against city firefighters and cops with this nonsense. the man will stop at nothing to bust the unions. he tried to put his cronies into city jobs as provisional workers but was thwarted by the state enforcing city civil service code.
i didn't vote for him and shame on all city workers who did!
WHY NOT TAKE IT AWAY FROM POLICE AND FIRE FIGHTERS THE MAYOR TOOK IT AWAY FROM CORRECTION OFFICERS
WILLIAM OF QUEENS
My question is, what are the facts? How much are union pensions after working for twenty years? Is overtime included in the calculation? (padding, anyone?). Do retirees get their medical insurance paid for? How much is the City paying out in pensions and benefits? Seven billion the Mayor says. How many retirees are getting the $12,000? I think that transparency is in order for citizens to have an informed opinion.
If the payments were indeed a negotiated benefit, they its only right that the city negotitate their elimination or reduction. You can't remove a benefit simply because you don't care for it any longer.
Both agencies have been ripping off the tax payers for years. Deduct the 12,000. They get enough pension money already.
I do not want to pay them additional money towards their pension. As a tax payer I feel we are not getting our money worth from both agencies.
Roe - SI
The variable supplement is a DEFINED benefit that was NEGOTIATED in good faith by the unions and the city. The men and women of New York City Uniformed forces have earned, with blood and sweat, their pensions. The Mayor should stop the rhetoric and stop using the press as an avenue to turn the public against the unions. He should be made to appear before the City Council and explain his actions. In this public forum he will have to answer questions without hiding behind a news camera!
Vinny- Garden City
How about the City retuns the money they invested with "our" money with intrest and we'll call it even?
The Mayor wanting to eliminate the $12,000 annual supplement after it was bought and paid for by the PBA is like telling the bank you're not going to pay your mortgage and going into foreclosure, but YOU'RE KEEPING THE HOUSE.
There is a certain desperation in Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal that would eliminate Variable Supplements Fund payments even for those police and fire retirees already receiving them. It has permeated his two-year campaign against the benefit, aided by media stooges who are willfully complicit or too ignorant to know the history of the benefit.
But the VSF was negotiated twice, by two previous Mayors, contrary to the current one’s general claim that Albany is constantly saddling the city with onerous costs because legislators are in bed with the unions. The first time around, the Police and Fire Pension Funds got the right to invest in the stock market in return for granting the benefit; the second time, the unions took a reduced salary scale for their new members in return for a benefit that jumped from $1,700 to $2,500 a year and then slowly rose to the current $12,000 level. In the late 1990s, as the stock market boomed, it was estimated the city was $4 billion better off as a result of the second deal. As the Mayor seeks to legally mug uniformed retirees, it is notable that he hasn’t asked to roll back the clock by ending the Police and Fire Pension Funds’ stock-market investments.
What he is seeking is outrageous, and state legislators should react accordingly.
Police and firefighters deserve and earn every cent they are the cities 1st line of defense against crime and terrorism and serve the 5 boroughs risking their lives every time they report for duty. Many gave their lives over the yrs and their families pay the high price when these heroes are wounded or killed. They earned through legislation pension benefits which should not be cut. Remember how we praised them after 9/11. Many officers and firefighters resigned beause of already low pay. Why hurt these heroes now. They carry the wounds way after retirement, talk to any retired fireman or cop and you will here the hurt put on them by the job.
If the Mayor wants to eliminate the $12000.00 a year Variable Supplement, he can have it. However I want all the millions of dollars our union gave to the city in 1988 which include the billions of dollars made through investments and cost cutting measures such as extending three years to five years before reaching top pay. If he can manage that I'm sure my brothers and sisters would be very happy.
The mayor is not telling the truth when it comes to the 12,000 so called christmas bonus...people should know that this was done in negotiations with the city and it benefited the city...over $100,000,000 million dollars was given to the city in return for the variable supplement. The city did extremely well when the going was good. All of a sudden our mayor, who had to answer why he wasn’t here in the worst snow storm of the year, feels he has to pit unions against each other. The variable supplement has been paid. The mayor knows it is not a christmas bonus. The city chose the month of December for the variable supplement. People should also know that this money is taxed federally(city pensions are not tax by the state and city but are taxed by the feds). In life you chose a career. The cops, firemen, teachers and all others involved chosed their profession. Others chose wall street and their bonuses..this was their choice. Now since wall street is not doing as well (which I cant understand since the dow is over 12000) the mayor wants to tell the people of new york it’s a christmas bonus to infuriate them. He knows this isnt a christmas bonus, the verbage doesn’t appear in the contract he signed. But he is not a dumb man. He figures let me call it a christmas bonus to infuriate the public. TELL THE TRUTH. You will see how things begin to change once the mayor is pressured by an intelligent reported (other than the post). I hope one courageous reporter would get the facts and corner him and prevent from bringing in any other issues when discussing the variable supplement. Cant Wait.
I would like to know what Pension Plan in the United States allows participants to include overtime costs into the retirement benefit. Even if it is factored in for the last three years, these plans for the NYC and MTA Civil Service personnel are simply unsustainable. These workers are "gaming" the system and appears to be a rite of passage toward a comfortable retirement. In the meantime if you work in the private sector you are told to accept a 401k plan and be happy with that.
In the meantime, the NYPD and FDNY pad their respective salaries to pay for their vacation homes in Pennsylvania. From the Civil Service capital of the world.
These are the facts of the VSF. There is no "Christmas Bonus"! It's our money that the City invested. Please read for your own information.
Mayor Bloomberg continually asserts that pension benefits for municipal employees are responsible for drowning the city in red ink. Among other things, he is determined to eliminate the Variable Supplement Fund/Defined Benefit payments (VSF) that service retirees receive each year.
The mayor has derisively referred to these payments as holiday bonuses, a description that many media outlets have gleefully, but wrongfully adapted. If the mayor can be so blatantly dishonest about the true nature of this VSF/Defined Benefit, it is impossible to believe anything he says that is related to this or other pension issues.
The origin of the VSF/Defined Benefit payment is quite different from what the mayor would like the public to believe. The reality is that it is a legislatively-approved and collectively-bargained for pension supplementation. This benefit was bought and paid for at the bargaining table. Not only did police and fire unions sacrifice or delay compensation, they gave the city more than $100 million up front from their pension funds as a bailout when the city was in desperate need of money.
As a result, the city earned billions of dollars during the financial boom years of the 1990s. In return for the much-needed bailout, our members were promised the VSF/Defined Benefit which our billionaire mayor is now targeting for extinction.
Neither New York City pensions nor the VSF/Defined Benefit are responsible for the citys current budget problems. Because the VSF/Defined Benefit actually pays for itself, the mayors use of it as a scapegoat for more complex financial issues is completely wrong.
All of the benefits that we have today are hard-earned and well-deserved. Contrary to what the mayor says, the city has never given anything away at the bargaining table. The establishment of the VSF/Defined Benefit has benefitted the city much more than it has the retirees whose annual checks - even in their totality - represent an infinitesimal portion of the monies accrued from fund.
To most people their only familiarity with the VSF/Defined Benefit is the mayors purposeful misleading description of it as a holiday bonus. It is imperative that we educate our legislators, as well as the public, on the true history of the VSF/Defined Benefit and why it would be an abomination to discontinue it.
The mayor is in the process of drafting legislation to abolish the VSF/Defined Benefit. In order to succeed he would have to receive a home rule message from the New York City Council and pass both the New York State Assembly and Senate before being submitted to the Governor for approval.
Legislators that support this outrageous and egregious attempt to dishonor a long-held agreement are no friends of police officers, firefighters or organized labor. We are only demanding that we retain the benefits that were promised after years of dedicated service to our great city. We are universally regarded as the finest police department in the world, yet we are regularly treated like second class citizens by our own mayor.
We expect the city to keep its promise to us, and we will do everything in our power to stop this travesty from happening. We will join forces with other affected unions to fight this issue tooth and nail. We ask very little of our elected officials, but their lack of full-fledged support in this matter will be viewed as the ultimate betrayal of all.
Bloomberg is a sleazy, blackmailing liar. The pensions he wants to cut were earned by the blood and sweat and hard work of the cops, firefighters, ems and other people who really are public servants. If the funds are not as flush as they should be it is because his crooked friends on Wall Street decimated them with their shady, sticky-fingered use of those funds.
Police and Firefighters put themselves in harms way each and every day. The mayor should leave the negotiated defined benefit which was derived from the VSF alone.
Cut the Unified Call Taking System, City Time and the Automatic Vehicle Locator programs. They cost BILLION$ and do not work.
You mean if I don't take a retirement pay cut , they are going to fire Our Miss Brooks.?
Can't The Wall Street Brokers share in " The Pain " , This Frankenstein Monster that they created.
There was a time when Policemen, Firemen, and Teachers were held in high respect.
Now they just get the blame. For doing their job. For being working people.
My teachers were great, they didn't make this mess.
OFFICER KRUPKE ------ Storied Place on The West Side
I believe the police officers and firefighters should get a good pension. My brother is a police sergeant and I have friends that are firefighters. They all work second jobs so I know they don't make a killing. They also miss out on many family events and frequently have to work on holidays. My brother has been hurt 3 times (one was a slashing) during his 16 year career. I would not want his job for any salary or so called pension perks.
Mike in Queens
Many people are applauding themselves for the "blizzard" of parking tickets
written today. What have these NY City employees done for the past month?
Regular citizens have been asked to shovel around hydrants, bus stops and
other publically accessible spots. Any connect between the Q here and A?
What exactly is this $12,000 payment for? I had always thought that the payment was for uniform costs for working members of the Fire & Police departments. I didn't know retirees continued to get it.
As a teacher, I can not earn overtime - something they can and when I retire, I will earn my pension but not an additional $12,000 on top. I say keep the pensions as is, cut the extra $12,000 "bonus" and let the City save some money. Teachers are the ones who have to have a masters degree and all sorts of continuing ed of which none of it is paid for by the City. Seems to me that we should be the ones getting even half that money to cover the cost of our education.
Jessica, Staten Island
The mayor makes special appearances to advocate for Wall Street CEO's Christmas bonuses that are worth billions all together while the CEOs bankrupted the city, state, and country. He fought for CEOs and believes they deserve this even with their gross mismanagement. But now he insults cops and firefighters and calls a contractual agreement (VSF) a "Christmas Bonus".
The mayor should look to save money by not hiring more than one person for one job...ie the school chancellor...or by not granting special waivers for his friends to take another job for big bucks while already on a city pension...ie FIRE COMISSIONER N. SCOPETTA!
Mayor Bloomberg, is out of control with this latest stunt to pilfer the fire fighter and police pensions. As some callers have already pointed out this was money essentially loaned to the City so that they could make additional monies to balance the budget. It was negotiated and is a done deal.
I am neither a firefighter nor a police officer and have no tie to either organization I am simply a fair minded individual who is civic minded. Mayor Bloomberg ( "Mayor Bloombucks" as referred to in more and more circles daily), Is in fact, showing his true colors. The 25 year tax abatements he gave to Luxury Developers is the biggest reason for the budget Crisis and no one ever addresses the issue, today the Mayor's administration wants to extend that abatement. Is he kidding? we have already added enormous amounts of residents that are burdening our city services, fire, police, sanitation, you name it and yet the Mayor's wealthy developer friends have made billions leaving the city and more importantly the middle class to hold the bag.
two questions Mayor?
1. who is going to save those people in those tax abatement buildings from crime, fire, etc.
2. When are you going to face the fact that you botched the cities largest construction boom.
Finally, I met a retired fire fighter widow in Miami Beach 2 years ago...in a grocery store. She wanted to buy grapes but she couldn't afford the $3.00 and the manager would not allow her to split the package. This ladies husband retired from NYC Firefighters in 1958 and she was living on a pension of $98.00
I guess the mayor would say that she made the mistake of living to 102.
sound familiar? "let them eat cake"
THE CHRISTMAS BONUS THE MAYOR REFERS TO WAS BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY THE POLICE AND FIRE UNIONS WITH AN AGREEMENT WITH THE CITY GOING BACK A NUMBER OF YEARS. TO MAKE IT SIMPLE THE CITY TOOK THE POLICE PENSION MONEY IN EXCHANGE FOR THE PAYMENT DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. THIS WAS AN AGREEMENT WHICH WAS INITIATED BY THE CITY. THE PAYMENT COULD HAVE BEEN MADE IN JANUARY, THEN WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT, WINTER BONUS. THE CITY OVER THE YEARS IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE MADE 200 BILLION WITH THE MONEY THEY TOOK. IF THE CITY SQUANDERED THE MONEY SHAME ON THEM. ALSO, NOT EVERY POLICE OR FIRE RETIREE IS ENTITLED TO THE MONEY. TO MAKE IT SIMPLE, IN REALITY THE POLICE PAY FOR THIER BENEFIT WITH THIEIR OWN MONEY. THE CITY MADE AN AGREEMENT AND THEY SHOULD STICK BY IT, OTHERWISE WHY HAVE CONTRACT AGREEMENTS . THERE IS MONEY STILL IN THE FUND WHICH IS DOING EXCELLENT AND MORE THEN COVERS THIS BENEFIT.
ALL THE CRYING I HEAR ARE COMING FROM PEOPLE WHO WORKED IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY OR OWNED THEIR BUSINESSES. THE POLICE AND FIRE JOBS WERE OPEN TO EVERYONE WHO WANTED THEM. IN FACT DURING THE 1970'S THE CITY HAD WALK IN TESTS FOR THE JOBS, AND STILL COULD NOT GET ENOUGH PEOPLE TO RESPOND. I RECALL MY FRIENDS WOULD NOT TAKE THE POLICE OR FIRE JOBS BECAUSE OF THE DANGER INVOLVED. SOMEONE SHOULD LISTS ALL THE POLICE OFFICERS THAT WERE BASICALLY ASSASSINATED AND INJURED DURING THOSE YEARS, AND ALL THE FIREMEN WERE INJURED AND KILLED WHEN THE CITY WAS BURNING. I PERSONALLY KNOW 5 FRIENDS WHO WERE ON THE POLICE FORCE AND ASSASSINATED BETWEEN 1970 AND 1980. THE NAMES ARE LAURIE, FOSTER, MURRAY,CARDILLO, VENDETTI. SOMEONE SHOULD GO DOWN TO POLICE HEADQUARTERS AND LOOK AT THE NAMES OF THE OFFICERS WHO DIED IN THE LINE OF DUTY AND THEY DIED. WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD OF A SECRETARY OR OFFICE MANAGER ASSASSINATED? HOW CAN YOU COMPARE POLICE AND FIRE TO PRIVATE INDUSTRY.
REMEMBER THIS COMES FROM A MAYOR WHO WORKED TO HAVE THIRD TERM LIMITS, AND WHEN HE WON HIS THIRD TERM HE FOUGHT TO HAVE THE TERM LIMIT PUT BACK TO TWO. DOES HE REALLY NEED THREE CHEFS ON STAFF? HE WAS MAYOR WHEN THE FINANCIAL BOOM IN THE CITY WAS TAKING PLACE. WHEN YOU COULDN'T FIND A REASONABLE HOTEL ROOM IN NEW YORK BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL BOOKED. TOURISM WAS THE BEST IT EVER WAS, AND SUPPOSEDLY NEW YORK MADE A FORTUNE. THE MOIVIE AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK PAID LARGE FEES TO MAKE MOVIES AND WAS ALL OVER THE CITY. WHERE IS ALL THE MONEY, WHERE DID IT GO?. BLOOMBERG WAS MAYOR DURING THE GOOD FINANCIAL YEARS AND NOW THE MARKET IS DOWN HE COMPLAINS. WHERE IS HIS CREDIBILITY? SHAME ON THE NEWS FOR NOT RESEARCHING THIS MATTER AND CALLING THE PAYMENT A CHRISTMAS BONUS WITHOUT KNOWING THE FACTS.
My father spent his career in government service. He got no bonus, no matching 401k, no discount on company products and no stock options. What he did get was a deferred compensation—a pension and the promise of health insurance as a retiree. He felt this was a trade-off—we lived modestly, taking small vacations and driving second-hand cars. Incidentally, no government worker, who can afford it (and many cannot), takes only the basic “free” health insurance—it simply does not provide enough coverage. Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said as much when he was in City service and elected to purchase his health insurance privately.
New York City was foolish to have made such a bonus concession to Police years ago when having budget troubles after 9/11. The City was struggling financially, and the unions, who live in an artificial spoon-fed make-believe world, received concessions because they didn’t get a raise.
Police, who have a very risky job, can retire after 20 years and draw a pension right away. They bolster that pension by working unheard of overtime in their final years at their highest pay rate, so when they receive a pension it is as much as their base pay. Some fortify that by claiming disability and getting retirement pay tax free, at the trough of the goose laying the golden eggs i.e. taxpayers, and some have the audacity to say they can hardly get by.
Meanwhile we who live in the private sector, real world lose our jobs. We go months with no pay, token unemployment and then get rehired at lower wages. There’s no early retirement and no “bonus” pay at the end of our rainbow because we made an involuntary concession of being unemployed.
Cassidy and Lynch have been playing the Guarantee card, that civil sector crutch that says the city i.e. taxpayer, has gotta pay us. However, in the real world, there are no guarantees in life, not with work, marriage, health or the future.
If they think they can’t bankrupt this city, my advice would be to “never say never,” and remember, some day in the future the sun will not come out tomorrow.
in no way is the mayor trying to steal or remove the pensions of our cops, teachers, firemen who all earned them courageously.
by pushing the pension back to true retirement age, it will require our good fine men & women to continue working like we are used to doing - courageously. i think we all laughed over the last few months how the French were at war when the changed the retirement age from 62 to 65. now it's time to look in the mirror. it is absolutely absurd to think anyone should retire at the early age of 40 or 50 years old. we all need to pull our own weight and cops, firemen & teachers should lead by example.
John from the Upper East Side
The city of New York does not give bonuses to its employees. Not now, not at the end of a "good year", not ever. In thirty years I have not received a nickel more than what I was contractually entitled to. Mayor Bloomberg knowingly lies when he calls the VSF a holiday bonus. He is acutely aware of what the VSF is, its terms and how it came to be. He calls it a holiday bonus as a tactic to poison public opinion against the unions that receive it in order to develop support for his agenda to steal it away. He is joined in this coup by his fellow, high flying, high living business types at the Citizens Budget Commission who have made a longstanding career of bashing and attacking the pay and benefits of city employees. Both of them are pedaling their lies and smear tactics largely through that rag of a newspaper The Post and to a lesser extent the News and Times. The degree to which the facts have been withheld and distorted by the press to support their (and the mayors) position on this matter discredits them and their profession. The VSF is a contractual agreement entered into by the city and the affected unions. If you research the facts you will find that the city was well served by the deal. The unions at the inception of this deal where thought, by many, to be foolish for making this agreement as it so benefited the city. As an employee of the city I must perform my job as required in order to receive my agreed upon pay and benefits. I cannot decide I don't want to work nights, holidays or weekends any more. I must honor the agreed upon contract if I want to receive the agreed upon compensation. The mayor however does not feel so obligated. He no longer wants to keep his end of the agreement and to that end he is willing to lie and discredit the workers in order to achieve his goal. In pursuit of his plan he defaults back to Bloomberg the business man and is found to be without honor or integrity. There are really just two issues here. Is the VSF a "holiday Bonus" given by the city to its employees as a gift each year as the mayor would have the public think( what could be more intolerable to the public at a time of struggling and fiscal crisis ). Or is it a legally binding contractual agreement crafted by the city who has already received their end of the deal and now wants to back out on the workers. Let NY1 do the research and report the facts as they are (not spun by an agenda). If the facts turn out to be as stated above, then the second issue is that the mayor has lied, purposefully distorted the facts and continues to do so in pursuit of his plans. That needs to be brought out clearly and loudly to the public by a news agency with the journalistic integrity and courage to do so. Is there anybody out there who measures up to that task? Time will tell and we will all be watching.
Jim B in Staten Island
INSTEAD OF TALKING ABOUT ALWAYS CUTTING THE PENSION FROM FDNY OR NYPD WHY NOT TALK ABOUT TAXING OR SUMMONING OUT OF STATE VEHICLES THAT ARE PARKED ALL OVER NYC STREETS EVERY NIGHT THEY DONT PAY TAX FOR NYS REGRISTRATION AND THEY DONT PAY TAX ON NYS INSURENCE SO WHY SHOULD THEY BE ALLOWED TO PARK IN THE CITY OVER NIGHT I COME HOME EVERY NIGHT SOME TIMES DRIVING AROUND FOR 30 TO 40 MIN EVERY NIGHT LOOKING FOR PARKING THAT IS 25% TAKING UP BY OUT OF STATE VEHICLES ITS JUST NOT FAIR TO THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE AND PAY TAXES IN NYC
Mayor Bloomberg aka "His Horror" is misinforming the public to turn them against the FD & PD. He wants the public's support to help him do his dirty work. Once again divide and conquer. The fact is the money in question does not belong to the city. It is contributions made by the member's of these departments into their pension fund, that the city invests & manage until the member's retirement. How can he possibly be allowed to steal these hard working people's money. It is the city's administration who has been taking advantage of the public and its workers, to the sum of billions. Now they want to point the finger at the same ones who are entrusted to risk it all to protect the public to fuel the agenda of this lying, tyrannical snake. I thought that bending the rules to steal another term was low, but this rates up there with the worst of humanity. Or should i say, inhumanity. The city's financial woes rest squarely on the shoulders of Bloomberg, his corrupt administration, and others before him. The public needs to hear the truth and band together to stop this maniac who is clearly out of touch with the plight of normal people who are not quite as privileged as himself. Let him find the money from his scheming cronies and stop robbing the poor.
1. I think if the city is having trouble paying its bills, maybe it should reform the cities welfare system. I have witnessed people buying alcohol with their cards and handing their benefit card over to drug dealers as payment. I have witnessed big screen TV’s in apartments of welfare recipients. There are plenty of people who have collected benefits for generations that are healthy and able to work. Something for nothing is worse then paying workers what was promised to them.
2. The city already charges its city workers living outside the 5 boroughs an additional tax just to be employed by the city which can be in excess of $4000. And now wants to stop paying the variable supplement which was gained by lending the city money when it was going broke in the 60's. Maybe the city should stop spending money on bike lanes and renaming bridges and changing the letters on all the street signs.
3. The city should not always pay their bills on people who are hard working and also have families to support.
With the Billionaire Bloomberg….the rich get richer and the poor get poorer! Has he suggested to donate to the city “he loves so much”, dish out some of your chump change with a couple of YOUR billions. Of course not…but he will let you know he only accepts $1 as a salary…now let see how much is he really giving up? Being Mayor has made him millions in his company! Stop being such a hypocrite and leave the working class people alone, hard enough to survive in these times. Put your money where your mouth is….give up your private jet and getaways to the Bahamas…using city employees as protection…on your gateways. I’m suggesting a Champaign for Mayor Bloomberg to donate to the dying city under his watch as he is portraying it! SAVE NYC MAYOR BLOOMBERG…..DONATE SOME OF YOUR MONEY ! STOP THE TRIPS TO ARIZONA USING CITY MONEY AND TIME!!
Mike Bloomberg had a contract with the City of New York to serve two terms and leave. He broke that contract so no one should expect him to honor anybody else's contract. He is neither honest, nor trustworthy. But I bet if you had a business contract with Mike Bloomberg, and you broke it, he'd pursue you mercilessly.
It's not a matter of whether firefighters and police "deserve" the additional money, they knew that the job involved risking their lives when they signed on. But this is a contractual obligation that should be honored, or re-negotiated in good faith.
Yes, the City is in bad financial straits, and the pain should be shared, so Bloomberg should reach into his bank account, and donate a billion dollars to the City to help out.
I blame the lap dog City Council and its supposed leader .... When will this man ... Quinn resign and save the taxpayers your salary ... You and the Council serve no useful purpose ...
1) I am not a cop
2) I am not a fireman
3) I am a lifelong NYC resident who pays very high taxes
4) I have ALWAYS supported Mayor Bloomberg
That being said, the $12,000 yearly payment that cops and firemen receive in addition to their pension is quite alarming, and arguably excessive. But the CITY OF NEW YORK entered into arbitration and signed the whole defined benefit into LAW back in 1970. Why have we not heard of this payment before? Well, clearly because the City has had an enormous return on the investment. Shame on the City for making this, and many other ridiculously expensive deals with the Unions.
But it's too late now!! The deal was done - signed, sealed and delivered. We can, however, move forward and learn from our mistakes. A deal was made and you, Mr. Bloomberg, can't simply undo it because it is not profitable at this time. I'm sure that the Unions involved will hash out another deal to clear up this mess. I have a suggestion - The city apparently made billions of dollars on the original deal over the last few decades. Now if the City wants to back out, OK. Simply re-pay the Unions all of the profits earned from the deal. With interest, of course. I'm 100% confident that the unions will accept this billion dollar payment and will not fight the cancellation and revocation of the law.
Mayor Bloomberg should be a man and apologize to every cop & fire fighter for calling the VSF a holiday bonus. He's a coward. It's a benefit that was negotiated between the city and the unions that benefited both. For those in the private sector who are upset we have a VSF get over it. You could have been a hero cop like myself. You could have worked nights, weekends & holidays. You decided you wanted the heroes to protect you and your family. It was your choice.
Let's look at the VSF/ Defined Benefit. The VSF package was contractually bought and paid for by the Police and Fire Unions hard earned money. The two unions gave over 100 million dollars of their pension fund to the city as a bailout to help the City of New York in a time of need. No private sector union helped to bailout the city at that time. The VSF does not belong to the City or private sector, nor was it paid for by anyone else other than the Police and Fire Unions. The interest of the VSF has earned the City of New York Billions of dollars. Because you (NYC) have mismanaged your profits off the VSF you now want to take the profits invested and earned by the Police and Fire Unions pension to supplement the City's mistake.
The unions gave the city money to invest. The city makes billions off the unions monies. Then the city spends all of their profits from the unions money. Now they want to take the unions profit because they don't have any more money. This is wrong morally as well as contractually.
Bloomberg believes if he does not make a profit no one else should. The residents of the City should understand that the next place this Mayor will go is into the citizens personal bank accounts or portfoilio's.