Fulton Cooperates With State Pension Investigation

The city of Fulton has given the state Attorney General’s office the records requested as part of the office’s investigation into alleged pension padding.

“We’ve got everything we could get for him and we sent it to him,” said Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward, referring to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo this week.  “We haven’t heard any more.”

Cuomo announced recently a widening of his office’s investigation of public employee pensions.  He said that it could possibly be illegal for an employee to work sharply higher amounts of overtime in his final years on the job in order to create a significant increase in his pension.

Cuomo asked for overtime and pension data from Fulton, along with the city of Oneida and town of Manlius.

Woodward recently pushed back against Cuomo’s stand, saying that if Cuomo really wanted to protect taxpayers, all he had to do was “change the damn law.”

Woodward argues that state pension law allows workers to increase their pensions by working lots of overtime.  The problem would be solved, he said, if pensions were only based on a worker’s base salary, not on his salary plus overtime.

He also said that local governments are at a disadvantage when it comes to trying to make changes to union contracts.  The truism is that once a right is granted in a contract, it’s almost impossible to get it out.

Fulton spends nearly $700,000 on overtime for its police and fire departments.  Taxpayers do not pay all of that; some police department overtime for special projects, such as DWI checkpoints, quality of life patrols and aggressive driving efforts, is paid for through grants.

But much of the city’s overtime relates to contract clauses mandating a minimum number of firefighters and police officers to be on duty at any given time.

The situation is particularly acute in the fire department because firefighters work 24 hour days.  That means that if a firefighter calls in sick, takes a vacation , or is out with an injury, his replacement gets 24 hours of overtime per day.

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  1. i don’t understand with the number of policemen in the city of fulton why the city does’nt have the coverage that it did in the fifties when i was growing up here. if i’m not mistaken, there were approx. 3,000 more people and a heck of a lot more businesses, i see state police and deputy sheriffs giving out tickets, where are fulton’s finest. AND, if 911 is so all important, then why did it take over 9 minutes to get a cop car to the w. 1st duncan donuts last year when i called in an accident report of a man backing into an elderly ladies car. the man was gone when the officer finally arrived. oh well, nothing to do.

  2. I have been thinking about this for many years, The Fulton Fire Dept has TWO stations, one on the west side and one on the east side. I have noticed that when an east side emergency accures the west side trucks come to the emergency. Why. Also, I really don’t think that it is right for the tax payers to be paying for someone to sleep all night. I think that they should work for only an eight or maybe a 10 hour shift. That is what normal businesses do. We all know that it is their contracts that control everything, Maybe we should get ride of all of them and start fresh. This is coming from someone who is just looking in.

  3. Unfortunately crime has gone up as time has gone on. I believe that is the fault of society and not making poverty uncomfortable enough to make people want to work instead of sitting home on public assistance. As far as response time to an accident, perhaps that is exactly the point, officers are so busy that it took only 9 minutes to respond to a minor accident with no injuries. Call in that same type of accident outside of the city and you’ll probably be waiting for a half hour or more for a deputy or trooper to show up.
    No argument from me about needing to change the way the fire department runs.

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