Police at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have racked up $41.4 million in overtime this year, including a rank-and-file patrolman at the George Washington Bridge who has made $221,000.
Payroll figures and names released for the first time Friday by the Port Authority show 66 police officers have made more than $200,000 so far in 2011, thanks to overtime that in many cases has doubled their salaries.
The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents most of the police, says high overtime numbers are the agency's own fault. President Paul Nunziato said the union has been asking the Port Authority for years to hire more officers.
"To me, it's absurd, and I've told them it's absurd," Nunziato said. "It's cheaper to hire another guy and pay his benefits than paying someone 2,000 hours or 2,500 hours at time-and-a-half."
The Port Authority did not immediately comment on the numbers. The agency operates New York City's airports, its seaports, a train system, and several bridges and tunnels. It also owns the World Trade Center site.
Overall, the Public Safety Department accounted for $41.4 million of the $90.4 million the Port Authority has paid out in overtime this year. The Port Authority has 6,777 employees.
The highest-paid policeman, a sergeant on a special operations team, has racked up $115,394 in overtime this year. His total pay of $265,059 is higher than that of most Port Authority executives, including Chief Financial Officer Michael Fabiano, who has earned $257,814.
The Port Authority's new director, Patrick Foye, has a salary of $289,667 a year.
One patrol sergeant assigned to the Port Authority Trans Hudson Train system has made $256,000 this year, thanks in part to $133,565 in overtime.
The windfall also extends to rank-and-file officers, most of whom earn base salaries between $68,000 and $90,000 a year.
One patrolman on the George Washington Bridge has boosted his $90,000 salary to $221,000 this year through overtime, differential pay and other compensation, the figures show. Another patrolman has earned $218,950.
Under pressure to rein in spending, board members on Thursday said the agency would post the names and salaries of all 6,777 employees on its website beginning Friday, and will also report overtime costs quarterly to the New Jersey and New York governments.