surprising no one Comptroller Brad Lander has a report showing that the NYPD has already inflated its annual overtime budget by around $100 million, adding to what is already assumed to be additional expenses.
The NYPD has been committed to limiting its overtime costs for years, but these efforts seem half-hearted at best. After all, why should you make a real try when it’s a given that the money will keep flowing no matter what? That’s not a luxury for any other City agency or department, because we understand that blank checks not only enable but actively incentivize overspending.
One Police Plaza leaders often claim that overtime stems from unexpected or unforeseen costs, but it is hard to imagine how unexpected costs could add up to nearly 15% of the agency’s budgeted annual operating costs in overtime. Either that explanation is misdirection, or the agency is pretty bad at estimating what extraordinary circumstances you might face over the course of a year, particularly since many of them, like parades and holidays, aren’t unpredictable but happen at the same time. . time and require the same resources each year.
This is zero sum. Every dollar spent is a dollar not going to any other city service, and it’s perfectly valid to ask what exactly we get back for that investment as taxpayers, particularly as the city is contemplating deep budget cuts for others public services. services such as schools and libraries.
Mayor Adams, who has prided himself on being a bit of a pragmatist and a fiscal hawk with initiatives like the return of the Closing the Gap Program, shouldn’t be giving the department a pass just because he used to wear the uniform. He should make good on his campaign promise to halve the NYPD’s overtime spending, better late (he promised to do so in his first year in office) than never. That’s still not what we would call a success, but a good start.