The ten missing Public Safety officers raise concerns because we’re paying for them. But they aren’t getting paid because they are missing. RIOC approves a budget for 52 every year, a number so preposterous it elicits instant smirks. Plus comments like “You’re kidding me, right?”
by David Stone
Where does the 52 number come from? From RIOC’s budget, a document its inattentive board approves and sends to Albany for inclusion in the state’s annual spending plan. It’s an official document that has other effects.
For example, RIOC uses these numbers to charge building owners $2.3 million in “Public Safety Reimbursement.” Building owners, of course, pass that on to residents as part of the hidden RIOC tax.
As an important reminder, RIOC collects all of its operating expenses from Roosevelt Island. Albany contributes only remote controls and patronage dump appointments.
So, if that number is deliberately inaccurate, it’s fraud. Unless you have a nicer name for it.
About the Missing Public Safety Officers
Let’s start by noting that even 42 Public Safety officers are absurd for our small Island. After all, we already pay New York State and the city for the same services when we pay taxes.
But any casual observer sees what we’ve often reported. Those onboard at PSD haven’t much to do and don’t do much of what they have to do.
Unless you count standing around while e-bikes and motorscooters run through stop signs and crosswalks. But even that doesn’t account for 42 on the payroll.
It’s more disturbing when official reports from RIOC itself verify it while collecting from the public for an even more bloated 52.
The Secret Sauce
A source familiar with RIOC’s budgeting shenanigans explained the gimmicks behind the fraudulent numbers.
RIOC’s deep-thinkers, plagued with EADD, also have standard ethics issues. And these are not unfamiliar to those of us who’ve dealt with New York State spending.
The State Budget is a funny numbers game where department managers protect privileged spending by projecting more than they need because, as the story goes, if they give anything back, they will never see it again.
In other words, unethical game-playing explains much of the bloat in spending and taxing because your money is the bureaucrats’ bounty.
RIOC’s Public Safety Department doesn’t need 42 officers or, God forbid, 52. But the greater concern is, where does the money really go?
Or What Does It Cost Us for 10 Missing Public Safety Officers?
RIOC’s official budget document calls for 52 PSOs at a projected salary cost of $3,143,066. That’s $60,443 per officer, before benefits. And it’s a red flag all its own because only a small number of officers make that kind of dough, meaning there’s even more missing. (See the payroll chart below.)
Add that to the calculation of missing money we are forced to pay for the Public Safety Department.
Take the $60,443 and multiply it by 10 missing PSOs. The result is the baseline of money RIOC budgets and doesn’t spend on Public Safety Officers. Now to that $604,430 per year, add the benefits they are never given at a conservative 25% and you have a whopping $755,537 unaccounted for cash soaked up somewhere inside the state agency that never gets it wrong.
It’s enough to make you question the real motives behind the trickery.
And it’s a little sickening too when you consider that RIOC squeezes out only 20% of that for public purpose funds benefitting struggling local nonprofits. Which, they insist, is all they can afford.
Where’s the Inspector General and/or the Attorney General on this one?