Nozzolio Calls For Immediate Release Of Retroactive Back Payments To State’s Correction Officers

Michael F. Nozzolio

January 26, 2009

Albany – Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R,C-Fayette), Chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee, today called for the State Comptroller to immediately release retroactive pay raises to thousands of New York’s correction officers.

Senator Nozzolio sponsored legislation (S.8295) that approved an arbitration award of pay raises and bonuses for correction officers statewide. Senator Nozzolio called for the release of the funding after learning that the State Comptroller’s office may not process the salary increases until 2007.

“The brave men and women currently employed in our correctional facilities are highly skilled, trained and qualified to maintain a high level of security in our prisons and we must continue to support them in their efforts. Every day, these individuals go to work and place their personal safety on the line in order to ensure not only the safety of our correctional facilities, but the safety of our communities. It is only right that these men and women be compensated for their hard work and dedication.”

Under the provisions of the Senator’s legislation, basic annual salaries for correctional officers would go up more than 11 percent. Included were retroactive raises of 2.25 percent for April 1, 2003, 2.75 percent in 2004 and 3 percent raises in 2005 and 2006.

The legislation was approved by both houses of the Legislature and has been signed into law by Governor Pataki.

Below is a copy of a letter from Senator Nozzolio to Comptroller Alan Hevesi calling for the release of the pay raises for New York’s correction officers.

July 12, 2006

Comptroller Alan Hevesi
New York State Comptroller’s Office
110 State Street
Albany, New York 12236

Dear Comptroller Hevesi:

As Chairman of the State Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections committee, I write to you today to urge your immediate action to expedite compensation and benefits to New York State Correction Officers as outlined in legislation (S.8295) approved by both houses of the legislature and enacted into law by the Governor.

This legislation calls for retroactive pay raises and longevity bonuses to the thousands of brave men and women who serve as New York State Correction Officers.

It is my understanding that your staff has indicated that they cannot guarantee prompt payment of the enacted pay raises and that your office may not be able to process the salary increase until the first quarter of 2007. That is simply unacceptable.

As you are well aware, the negotiations between the state and NYS Correction Officers Police Benevolent association (NYSCOPBA) ended months ago and your office has been made well aware of the details. Recognizing that, there simply is no excuse for any delay in processing the salary increases and longevity bonuses for correction officers.

For too long New York Correction Officers have gone without an increase in base pay and any delay in processing these extremely justified increases in salary by your office is simply unacceptable.

The families of more than 20,000 correction officers are counting on this income, which was earned under some of the most difficult working conditions imaginable, and it is incumbent upon your office to ensure a timely distribution of these funds.

New York’s Correction Officers walk the toughest beat of any law enforcement
official every day, they put their lives on the line to protect New York’s communities and families. The State Legislature has adopted this long overdue recognition and Governor Pataki enacted the pay raises and longevity bonuses into law - now it is the responsibility of the State Comptroller to act expeditiously.

Any delay by your office in distributing these funds would be disrespectful of the brave men and women correction officer who have waited for too long to receive this overdue monetary recognition of their courageous service.

I look forward to your timely response.