BEYOND BERGEN: The Port Authority must restore free E-Z Pass privileges to retired police officers, a New York state appeals court ruled last week.
The authority is violating union contracts in which it clearly agreed to vest members who retired in good standing with lifetime free passage over its bridges and tunnels, which they “enjoyed while employed,” the Appellate Division said in upholding three lower-court rulings.
The PA terminated the 38-year-old practice in 2011, the day after a previous contract containing the benefit expired.
However, the pact held a “flow-through agreement” that froze all salaries and benefits “as is” until a new contract could be negotiated.
The provision was upheld by an arbitrator, local judges –and, now, the appeals panel, in support of three cases involving the Port Authority Police Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) and Lieutenants Benevolent Association (LBA). It follows a similar ruling last year in favor of Port Authority civilian retirees.
Michael Detzky, who represented the SBA, told the New York Law Journal: “They will have to give them the E-Z Pass going forward and compensation for the period they took it away.”
The authority rescinded the benefit for police and civilian retirees after the New York Daily News published a report on former Beatle Paul McCartney’s wife, Nancy Shevell, getting free lifetime E-Z Pass after serving as an MTA board member.
The list included the late U.S. Sen Frank Lautenberg, as well.
“Only a small number of retirees used that privilege often,” a Port Authority Police Department source with direct knowledge of the situation told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Most use it sparingly.”
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