Paterson Says No to Court Officers, Court Officers Contemplate Reaction

ALBANY—To the list of interest groups falling out with David Paterson over the budget, add the uniformed court officers.

The governor’s office this afternoon announced a veto of a measure that would have given court officers the same powers as policemen.

“The broad powers that court officers already have as peace officers should be sufficient for the duties that they are routinely asked to perform,” Paterson wrote in a veto message. “While the sponsors of this bill claim that it would have no fiscal impact, I have been advised in all likelihood it would result in substantially increased costs.”

The governor said some of these costs include benefit extensions and the right to binding arbitration for labor contract negotiations.

One supporter of the bill is John McKillop, president of the New York State Supreme Court Officers Association covering New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. He said those provisions were not included in this bill and would have had to be passed separately.

“The governor acted on wildly inaccurate projections by his own budget staff, and we’re very disappointed that he did not even give us a forum to discuss the issue before he vetoed it,” McKillop said. “We were early and strong supporters of the governor. With regard to tangible support, that’s going to be discussed with our membership. I don’t think the governor has positioned himself to endear himself to our members.”

Paterson Says No to Court Officers, Court Officers Contemplate Reaction