Readers have had a good deal to say today about the news that office of state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has expanded its probe into whether public employees have manipulated their salaries and overtime payments to inflate their pensions. The expansion includes probes into payroll records from Westchester and Rockland counties; Yonkers; Clarkstown; Orangetown; Ramapo; Stony Point; the Fairview, Greenville and Hartsdale fire districts in Greenburgh; and the Westchester Health Care Corporation.
The investigation, launched last week, had previously included 28 state agencies, authorities and other entities, including Putnam County.
Recognizing in large part that Cuomo, a Democrat and the front-runner in next year’s race for governor, has much to gain politically from expanding this investigations, many who left comments are nonetheless enthusiastic about the probe. Predictably, some readers have asked why their communities aren’t being investigated and many offered other suggestions for additonal queries on how public money is spent or misspent.
One reader immediately connected the pension investigation with Cuomo’s political aspirations:
Oh, gee Andrew what big eyes you have? Of course there is abuse of the retirement system who does not of a story about some county or state worker who padded his or her last years of working to receive a pension completely out of phase with what they should have received. Now that Cuomo is going to run for election, he suddenly notices there has been so much stealing of pension funds. The Journal News has been reporting these abuses for years.
This reader was somewhat less skeptical:
As mentioned this is long over due. You should be compensated for a career not a few years. That goes the same for the teachers union. A job for life after three years of service? No wonder why our students are failing. I too hope this is not a career move by Cuomo.
Another wondered if the effort was too little, too late:
It’s kind of like knowing that you’re in a leaking boat but you only start looking to plug the holes when the boat is about to go under water. This junk has been going on for decades but our elected officials have turned a blind eye until it is too late.
This reader doesn’t like Cuomo, but thinks he might be well-positioned to effect change if he were elected governor:
I don’t like Andrew Cuomo at all. But I believe only someone with his stature and liberal credentials can be the governor who can tell Sheldon Silver and the public employee unions to go stuff it, and bring back fiscal sanity to the state. A Republican could never do that. The question is, will a governor Cuomo do that, or will it be more of the same old same old?
This reader wonders if the Attorney General will probe abuse of disability benefits:
Anyone who “padded” their pension actually showed up and performed needed functions. They worked for it therefore they earned it. What about the phony “sick, lame & lazy” who are milking the system with fake injuries. These are the mutts who are committing a crime. They’re causing the overtime that workers get while sitting at home, fishing, working other jobs or going to school and getting tax free salaries for their fake injuries. Get your priorities in order Andrew.
Another lauded Cuomo, but suggested such probes be applied in wider scale:
“If there’s waste, if there’s fraud, if there’s abuse, if there’s a scam, the taxpayers have no reason to pay for that,” Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said.
GREAT! But let’s not stop here on the local level. We need to take that same logic and apply it to the State and Federal level as well! Civil workers who inflate their pensions are only very small fish in a very big pond. Lets look at all the pork, all the waste on projects that never actually do anything, all the waste on “social projects” etc.
This reader applauds what he sees as Cuomo’s political savvy:
this is a very smart political move by cuomo..he is taking on members of his own base that is public employee union members..but cuomo is no fool..he understands the outrage by most taxpayers who are not union members..and by taking a hard line position on the legalized stealing that has been going on regarding inflated pensions he knows there is very little political downside…even the unions can’t defend the practice..so he has co opted the issue from the republicans and since it is directly related to the amount of money that the state and localities spend each year….and the growing budget deficit interestingly he could bring a lawsuit against all those people who are benefiting from the inflated pension game to recover the money ..wouldn’t that be very cool
What do you think about the Attorney General’s investigation?