Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Double dipping

It’s interesting how the fog of time can change statements such as “suffered minor injuries” into “it’s difficult to say if he will return to work.” And it’s odd when missing “several days of work” can turn into “remains on restricted duty” nearly two years later.

But this is what happens to words when they’re moved from the mouths of disinterested desk sergeants at the Saratoga Springs Police Department and into the world of litigation. Two of the Spa City’s finest are now embroiled in civil litigation as a result of injuries they supposedly sustained while on the job.

The first to file suit was Keith Pellegri, then a 17-year veteran of the force who was sideswiped by a drunk driver leaving the Dave Matthews’ concert in June 2006. At the time, city police reported Pellegri’s injuries as minor and even debated whether his marked Ford Explorer was totaled in the wreck. Two months after the crash, he was well enough to ride in a benefit motorcycle ride, but remained on limited duty with the department due to his medical condition.

Then on New Year’s Day this year, another veteran officer was involved in an on-duty crash. This time, it was 28-year veteran Joseph Arpei, whose cruiser was struck by a driver that allegedly blew through a stop sign. Though the accident was described by police as fairly serious, they indicated Arpei was treated “for minor injuries” at Saratoga Hospital and released the same day.

These injuries have since grown in severity, according to Brian Lee, their ambulance chasing attorney representing both officers. Arpei’s injuries could end the patrolman’s career and Pellegri’s injuries have prevented the officer from working full-time, according to Lee, who was recently voted as having the “top law office” by Saratogian readers.

The curious thing about all of this legal wrangling is that both of these officers should theoretically receive disability from the city, workers compensation for an injury on the job or a combination thereof. Perhaps their medical bills are to an extent they have overstepped the amount covered by the city’s insurance. But if this were the case, one could safely assume someone among city hall’s legions of union-loving police advocates –Ron Kim perhaps –would have made quite a stink by now.

The so-called public safety commissioner, as we’ve recently learned, is all about getting a bit of extra scratch for the city’s men in blue. In fact, Kim is asking for $64,000 worth of extra scratch to augment the department’s burgeoning level of overtime; something that is undoubtedly augmented by two veteran officers being pulled off patrols due to injuries sustained on duty, But Kim’s overtime request isn’t in response to injuries, of which the department has sustained its fair share over the last three years.

Instead, Kim wants the added cash to fund the coverage shortfalls created by the State Police unit that was removed from the Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, even though he’s presented positively no evidence the racino needs $64,000 worth of police presence to augment their private security force. As explained recently by both Kim and Police Chief Ed Moore, these officers will respond at the racino in the even they are called to make an arrest, much as they did five years ago before the damn harness track was filled with slot machines and grannies. Breaking this down, that’s $64,000 for the police to do exactly what they would have done anyway.

But for fellow of Kim’s vastly superior knowledge of police services, the thousands of dollars of overtime are necessary for providing deterrence to the nogoodniks now flocking to the racino. Truth is, the cash would be better invested in installing a heftier wheelchair ramp at the facility and perhaps a few extra defibrillators; perhaps a standby ambulance crew and paramedic in the event there was a mob scene involving the racino’s geriatric clientele.

Instead, it will get tacked onto the department’s out-of-control overtime allocation, which has consistently gone over budget under Kim’s tenure. This year’s budget includes a 7 percent increase in the police overtime allotment for a total of $160,470, which is more than any other office in garners in the city. Kim’s increase for the racino would boost this a amount by roughly 40 percent. In other words, eat your Wheaties, coppers. You’re in for some long hours this year.

Given these numbers, it’s a bit suspicious Kim is advocating such a monumental increase, especially for something as benign as the racino. But seeing as though there is no line item in the budget for racino patrols, this cash will likely be lumped in with the standard overtime allotment. That gives Kim and Moore a $64,000 cushion to keep guys on sick leave that may have no intention of coming back to the department. And it’s a carte-blanche for them to neglect any cost-saving analysis of the department’s ranks.

26 Comments:

Blogger scoop said...

If the Racino is overseen by the State Wagering and whatever board then the state police should handle it.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Double dipping! There is plenty of that going on. Some that respond regularly on this blog are collecting Disability and selling goods and services on the side. You know who you are!

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what other "Racino" communities have done?

This is just another proposed waste of taxpayer money and overinflated benefit packages that is so designed for the retired cop who has in the past, gone to Skidmore, the High School, the Racecourse or any number of other lucrative private security employment opportunities.

Our City Police do not need to be at this State Facility, tazzing some old geezer for unruly behavior, slipping on a spilled drink and then suing the City for compensation.

5:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's just stop the pain and call for Kim's resignation. Can anyone name one thing that he has done for the residents of this City? Just one .....

1. Truck Traffic enforcement?
2. Efficiency in Public Safety?
3. Building Inspections?
4. Public Safety management?


For someone who called for three strikes and you’re out … count them.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"collecting Disability and selling goods and services on the side."

Dam right and you can start with the police and fireman.


How many of them get full pay from "injuries" while painting there roofs and such.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I am all about being against double dipping, every situation is different and cannot be lumpped together. People deserve a chance to be heard before they are judged without forgiveness.

8:56 AM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

8:56 AM said
"People deserve a chance to be heard before they are judged without forgiveness."


Screw being fair, this American.
Hang all of these bastards by their balls.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:04PM I'll bet your proud to be an American -- Good for you! Go get 'em! Go find those balls!


Uh Oh - Here comes a flock of Wah Wahs . . . -- Joe Walsh

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_5U-Mu0yqg&feature=related

2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of double dipping,Dpw just created a new position in congress park to the tune of 50,000 grand a year.The legality of this new position is now being challenged by the CSEA (could there be trouble in dpw,after all they backed scirrocco and then he promoted the pres.and vice pres.of CSEA...IT'S HARD TO TELL WHO'S STABBING WHO IN THE BACK..STAY TUNED ON THIS ONE.Getting back to the new position in the park,on top of the 50 grand a year the dpw is paying him an extra 40 dollars a week because he has a pesticide licsence,currently the dept.has an employee already with a pesticide licsence,why are we paying twice?So far skippy has paid off alot of people and these employees expect a big big raise...What to you think John Q public? This must even make mamie sick.....have they paid you off yet honey....oh I know your reward will come in heaven.

2:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on HA leave the police and fire depts. alone! You know only the DPW reads and posts on this blogsite. Usually while on the clock.

So keep your blogs having to do with something involving the DPW and you'll have 40posts within an hour or two. LOL

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blah Blah Blah... BORING!

I thought you were going to start doing some humorous posts?


-Miffed

8:35 AM  
Anonymous mamie said...

anon 2:43 is the guy from disutopia who is on disability and sells the goods on the side. The more finger pointing he does the more he hopes people don't see him for what he really is.

Just another one scamming the government!

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re DPW comments: The new"braintrust" currently making a mess of the management of the DPW department will have a lot of explaining to do to account for shortfalls in line items resulting from the creation of new jobs that are not needed and bonuses handed out to the renegade employees who supported them. One thing we do know McTygue ran a tight ship. Now full time employees will be paid overtime just to water the plants on Broadway which used to be done by part timers. The clock is ticking and the "city cash register" is ringing at the taxpayers expense. The majority who believed the false allegations and the smears in the media are getting the "change" they voted for. The only thing is, it isn't just "change" but big bucks and a breakdown of service to boot. Next time you are on Broadway check out to two Ding-Dongs watering the plants at 18 dollars per hour per employee. It ain't just the flowers that are getting a hosing.

9:59 AM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

“Saratoga Springs reports a $4M surplus
By Tatiana Zarnowski
Friday, May 16, 2008
In a development that city officials confessed surprised them, a financial report shows that the city realized a nearly $4 million surplus last year in its general fund”

Why worry?
A little double dipping here a little double dipping there.
Skippy can pay all of those slobs has much overtime as he wants.
Keep watering those plants boys.
After all, money grows on trees in this city.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With this surplus, if there really is a TRUE surplus, maybe, just maybe, someone will start paying attention to GASB 45 and use pre-funding as a more conservative way to take care of funding benefits than the present way "pay as you go." This would increase the City's bond rating and save future monies for the taxpayer through the interest made on the fund.

You get what you pay for and you get who you vote for!

If I only had a brain . . .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZsj4jKkXoc

UTUBE really is quite humorous :)

1:14 AM  
Anonymous mamie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Dylan's Villains said...

anon 9:59

I would rather have my taxes pay them for watering flowers than pay slugs like you that sit around drinking coffee at Starbucks or Uncommon Grounds while collecting disability. I guess just the rest of us saratogians are not worthy of you. You love to critize everything that you can't control.

If not for you
My sky would fall
Rain would gather too.
Without your love
I'd be nowhere at all
Oh! What would I do
If Not For You.

If not for you
Winter would have no spring
Couldn't hear the robin sing,
I just wouldn't have a clue,
Anyway it wouldn't ring true,
IF NOT FOR YOU.

8:09 AM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

Mamie 4:32am, was that really you?

Such language, and I thought you were going to try and refain from blasting the excommissioner.

Well, at 4:32am in the morning, we'll have to forgive you and just caulk it up to the booze talking.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous mamie said...

I know! It just pisses me off that these morons think he was a saint. He was one of the biggest abusers in the system.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous kyle York said...

Mamie-

I missed your 4:32 post and I am the lesser for it. Can you rephrase it? Honest. It seems to have been legit and learned. Thank you.

-Kyle

6:32 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

mamie,
how's your head?
pull yourself together, you're going to have another hard day tomorrow at city hall.
we want you there bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, whatever the fuck that's suppose to mean.
anyways, give us poor taxpayers a fair shot and work your little ass off.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

Kyle,

I didn't even realize that it was removed until now! It wasn't anything of substance, just drunken foolishness.

P.S. I always work my ass off! Who knows maybe I'll be up for city hall employee of the year.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

Kyle,

I didn't even realize that it was removed until now! It wasn't anything of substance, just drunken foolishness.

P.S. I always work my ass off! Who knows maybe I'll be up for city hall employee of the year.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

Kyle,

I didn't even realize that it was removed until now! It wasn't anything of substance, just drunken foolishness.

P.S. I always work my ass off! Who knows maybe I'll be up for city hall employee of the year.

2:15 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

Today's Times Union...


"Triple dipper paid $641,000
Top pensioner George M. Philip draws three state paychecks serving in two post-retirement positions"

5:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HO - "The so-called public safety commissioner, as we've recently learned, is all about getting a bit of extra scratch for the city's men in blue."

The Saratogian just published its story on the settlement for the City's discriminatory conditions within its PS building. It stated, "In December 2007, following an investigation into the complaints, the Human Rights Division found probable cause existed to believe the city was engaging in "the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of," said a Division of Human Rights document released at the time."

As a City resident, I find that statement offensive; we residents are always being tarred with brushes that should rightly be meant for politicians and city staff. So the public at large gets a reprimand? Why don't these reports ever deal with individual culpability or malfeasance? The commissioner if given the chance, will probably issue a press release requesting revision of that sentence to read:

In December 2007, following an investigation into the complaints, the Human Rights Division found probable cause existed to believe the building was engaging in "the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of," said a Division of Human Rights document released at the time.

The commissioner and those before him who fully participated in creating the "illegal" conditions and then, not correcting them (or inspecting them), deserve the reprimand. Spending $10,000 now to make alterations for compliance after the lawsuits supported by two Commissioners, one in office and one who headed the flawed committee to build a new facility, were filed - is unacceptable. But then again, it is, "all about getting a bit of extra scratch for the city's men in blue."

7:13 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


View My Stats