Port Authority cops cost a fortune — too bad they don’t keep NY safe
By Post Editorial Board December 12, 2016 | 8:50pm | Updated
Fifteen years after terrorists struck the Port Authority-owned World Trade Center, the very cops responsible for security at PA sites remain "a weak link" in the area’s "public-safety profile."
That’s the alarming conclusion Judith Miller and Alex Armlovich reach in a City Journal review that appeared in Sunday’s Post and is based on numerous interviews, independent reviews and PA documents.
Worse, the agency is paying PAPD cops a fortune. No wonder PA tolls are so high.
The pair cited a previously undisclosed 2011 review by former Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff that blasted PA security practices as "profoundly deficient at every level." He called PAPD leadership "derelict" and "wholly unprepared," but suggested reforms were mostly ignored.
The chief problem? The PA’s police-union contracts, which are driving "a dramatic rise" in security expenditures — from $454 million in 2009 to $662 million this year.
Data from a watchdog group, Open the Books, shows total compensation for some PA cops between 2008 and 2014 ran as high as $403,000. That’s fueled by out-of-control OT, which also boosts pension costs: One lieutenant retired in 2013 with a pension of $172,000, a third more than his $129,000 pay.
The union-friendly deals also include rules that hamstring management and "restrict the agency’s ability to deploy its police effectively." Yet, given the unions’ influence, better deals may be impossible.
Which leaves just one option: Scrap the PAPD and hand security duties to the New Jersey State Police and NYPD, which would likely do a better job at lower cost.
The most recent police contracts expired in 2010, and talks are under way for a new deal, providing a chance to restore some sanity to costs and work rules.
But if the unions won’t be reasonable, the PA shouldn’t sign on.
Better to cut its cops loose and leave security to those who can do it more effectively, and for less.