- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - More than 130 Port Authority of New York and New Jersey employees have more than doubled their base salaries this year by working so much overtime in the first nine months of 2014, according to a newspaper analysis that found that 13 police officers will make more than the agency’s executive director.

Excessive overtime has been a perennial issue for Port Authority, which controls the bridges connecting the two states and the region’s major airports.

“The whole system needs a top-to-bottom overhaul,” said Commissioner Kenneth Lipper, who recently proposed tying performance raises for department heads to their ability to hold down overtime.

The analysis by The Record (http://bit.ly/1HJc8Z8 ) found that 131 employees have more than doubled their salaries and one officer has averaged 100 hours of work a week, including 60 hours of overtime. The top overtime earner is Officer Morris Cofield, who had earned $172,579 in overtime through September on top of his $90,000 salary.

The 13 officers identified in the report will make more than Executive Director Pat Foye’s $289,000 annual salary.

Port Authority officials say 444 new police recruits have put a dent in overtime costs since October. The Record found that overtime hours dropped in October and November after the addition of the officers.

The agency said one reason for the overtime is that it had to transfer more than 200 officers to firefighting units at the region’s airports because of a federal requirement. It also cited unexpected costs, including for construction work at the Bayonne and Goethals bridges.

Legislation that would overhaul agency operations has been passed by both state Legislatures. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are still reviewing the measure and have not signed off on it.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com

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