Weiner: Iraq War Hits City And Its Workers Hard
City workers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost New York City taxpayers more than $57 million, according to a new report released recently by Representative Anthony Weiner and Councilman Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island). In addition, city employees have missed more than 600,000 days of work while deployed overseas, including more than 350,000 lost service days from first responders - New York's Finest and Bravest.
The monetary costs and productivity losses - which come on top of 17 New Yorkers who have tragically died for their country - result from more than 1,800 city employees who have been called to active duty since September 11, 2001.
The NYPD has seen the most employees deployed of any agency - 1,087 at a $38 million price tag to the city. FDNY deployments have cost city taxpayers $5.4 million and other municipal employees, including sanitation workers and administrative staff, cost $13.7 million.
The loss of first responders poses a particular hardship to New York City's ongoing effort to keep eight million residents and four million daily mass transit riders safe, according to Weiner and McMahon. As compensation, Weiner will introduce federal legislation requiring the Department of Defense to reimburse state and local governments for costs incurred when first responders are called to active duty.
OF THE REPORT
War is Draining City Staff, First Responders
Since September 11, City employees have missed 610,873 days of work while on military leave.
Of the 610,873 missed work days, the NYPD has lost 359,615 days and the FDNY has lost 61,437 days due to military leave.
A total of 1,832 City employees have taken military leave since September 11, including 1,087 from the NYPD and 216 from the FDNY.
War is draining City Dollars
More than $108.1 million has been paid to City employees on military leave, including $70.1 million paid to NYPD employees and $11.0 million to FDNY.
Of the $81.1 million paid to first responders, an estimated $37.7 million has been refunded to the city, leaving the city to pick up a $43.4 million tab.
Current Toll on City Workforce
Currently, there are a total of 303 City employees on leave, including 166 NYPD employees and 33 FDNY employees.
Typically, when city employees are called up for active duty, they forfeit their regular paychecks, and take their new paychecks from the military. Under most circumstances, this amounts to taking a pay cut.
To honor the service of New York's City employees, the City has set up a program to make up the difference in their salaries - so that the families of men and women deployed overseas are not put under any financial hardship.
For example, if John Smith makes $55,000 annually as an NYPD officer and his military salary is $45,000, serving in the military would normally mean taking a $10,000 pay cut. Instead, the city continues to pay Officer Smith $55,000 annually, the military pays him $45,000 and he must refund to the city the lesser of the two - in this case the military pay. In the end, Officer Smith gets paid $55,000 - his city salary - to serve in the military.
Under the Weiner bill, the Department of Defense would be required to reimburse the city for the $10,000 it expends to fill the gap between Officer Smith's city pay and his lower military pay. An analysis by Weiner's office using city payroll data and NYPD, FDNY, municipal and military salaries indicates the city has spent $57.1 million since September 11, 2001 to fill salary gaps between city pay and military pay, with $43.4 million funding first responders.
"It's an outrage that New York City tax dollars are rebuilding Baghdad while the Big Apple's security funds get cut to the core," said Weiner. "Keeping New York City safe is a round the clock effort and we need every dollar we can get."