POLICE RETIREES WANT CASTELLI
TO RETIRE OPPONENT
he Police Retirees of White Plains, a White Plains chapter of the New York Police and Fire Retiree Association, announced their support for Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge) in his re-election bid against a city councilman who has actively sought to put active cops and firefighters out of work while raiding retiree’s pensions and health benefits.
The organization, representing retired police officers and firefighters primarily in Westchester County and Long Island, serves as a watchdog for legislation both beneficial and detrimental to their hard-earned retirement benefits.
“Having served with the New York State Police for 21 years, I know firsthand how hard our brave police officers and firefighters work to earn the retirement benefits that were promised to them when they signed up to risk their lives in defense of our community,” Castelli said. “These guardians of public safety entered into a contract with the people of Westchester County when they began their careers in public service. In order to recruit the best and brightest to stand on the front lines against crime and fire, we must honor that pact.”
Dean Travalino, a spokesperson for the Castelli 2012 effort and registered Democrat, noted that Castelli’s opponent, David Buchwald, was an architect of the measure which diminished retirement benefits for retirees from the police and fire, Teamster, and Civil Service Employees Association members in White Plains. Buchwald voted to reduce their pensions by $1,102 if they have a single plan, and $2,396 if they have a Family Plan, affecting those who reside in the City, and many who might have moved away from the area as far back as 1995, he said.
Travalino pointed out that:
David Buchwald voted to diminish the benefits of 659 retirees, many of whom are senior citizens living on fixed incomes;
The city was embroiled in costly litigation because of David Buchwald’s votes, with the City losing the first round for a preliminary injunction in Federal Court;
640 lawsuits are currently underway against the City because of David Buchwald’s potentially unconstitutional actions, which could cost taxpayers millions; and
David Buchwald not only voted to raid police retiree benefits, he also voted to lay-off current cops and firefighters, while handing out raises to highly-paid commissioners.
Buchwald’s actions are currently being challenged in federal court, charging that they violated retiree’s civil rights by reneging on the contract agreement to pay for the full cost of benefits. The so called “savings” from the retired officers only amounted to about $270,000 per year of the City’s $155 million budget.
Castelli’s support for police and firefighters has also netted him the endorsement of all 53 Police Benevolent Associations of Westchester County, shoring up support from both past and present public servants. In contrast, his opponent’s record on the White Plains City Council shows a disturbing level of insensitivity and indifference towards police officers and firefighters, Travalino said.
“While Assemblyman Bob Castelli has stood by our police officers and firefighters, David Buchwald has used his vote in the White Plains City Council to take them off the street and send them to the unemployment line while raiding the pension and health benefits of retirees,” Travalino said. “David Buchwald is out of touch with the priorities of Westchester families and local merchants whose protection our police officers and firefighters work so hard to provide. In a time of rampant unemployment and skyrocketing cost of living, Buchwald would rather put cops and firefighters out of work and slash their retirement benefits than protect the health and safety of the citizens of White Plains.”
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