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NYS law enforcement agencies seek 20-year pension plan in budget talks

Several New York State law enforcement groups, including State Park Police, SUNY police, Forest Rangers, and Environmental Police, are lobbying for inclusion of a 20-year pension plan in the FY2025 State Budget. Currently, these entities are part of the 3% of New York law enforcement without this benefit, which is affecting their ability to retain and attract staff. The Police Benevolent Association of New York State has been advocating for this change for four years, but previous legislative efforts have been vetoed by Governor Kathy Hochul.

Governor Hochul has suggested that such pension negotiations are more appropriate within the budget process. James McCartney, President of the PBA of New York State, emphasizes the need for competitive benefits and pay, citing the high cost of training specialized officers who often leave for better opportunities elsewhere. The specialized training these officers receive is unique and costly, making retention crucial.

Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, a Democrat, along with other lawmakers, is pushing for the inclusion of the 20-year pension plan in the upcoming budget. This move is seen as essential for ensuring the presence and effectiveness of these law enforcement agencies in parks, forests, and educational institutions. The plan’s absence in the Governor’s initial proposal has led to calls for alternative measures, such as installing security cameras in state parks, to enhance safety and deter crime.