Hudson Police Chief Ed Moore made only $30,000 last year as Hudson’s top cop, and is set to make the same amount in 2018.
Moore served in the New York State Police for 32 years and retired in 2013 with a hefty pension. State law forbids New Yorkers under 65 receiving public pensions to make more than $30,000 annually in public-sector jobs.
However, Moore was able to simultaneously receive his pension and a full salary for most of his first three-and-a-half years as chief after he was granted a series of “211 waivers” from the state Civil Service Commission.
The waivers allow public pensioners to re-enter state or local government jobs in a process government watchdog groups derisively call “double dipping.”
Moore was hired by the city of Hudson on a salary of $75,000 in March 2013, and initially received a 211 waiver extending until July 2014, according to information received by the Empire Center for Public Policy, a government watchdog group, through Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests.
Moore collects a monthly pension of $7,858.80 from the New York State Police and Fire Retirement System, according to Office of the New York State Comptroller Deputy Press Secretary Tania Lopez, or more than $94,000 a year.
Empire Center Executive Director Tim Hoefer explained the issues he saw with double dipping.
“The fiscal issue that we take with double dipping is that once you put in your paperwork to retire, you basically said you’re not going to work again,” he said. “To turn around and get another full-time job under the waiver, you’re basically hitting taxpayers twice, once through the job that you’re actively seeking, and then the second time through the pension system, which is ultimately backed by taxpayer dollars.”
There are a “few hundred to a couple thousand” active 211 waivers in the state at any given point, Hoefer said.
Albany Law School Professor David Pratt, who has also worked as a pension attorney, said receiving both a public pension and a public salary is “too much of a good thing.”
“The New York State Police and Fire Retirement System provides very generous benefits at a very early age, and if people can take those benefits at an early age and effectively continue working, it just makes a mockery of the whole system,” he said.
Moore’s final 211 waiver expired on Oct. 31, 2016, according to the state Civil Service Commission.
Hudson tried to get another 211 waiver from the Civil Service Commission for Moore extending from July 31, 2017 until the next summer, according to the commission’s 211 analysis of the request.
The commission denied the request, because “the appointing authority (Hudson) failed to demonstrate that there were no available, qualified non-retirees,” according to the Civil Service Commission’s Public Information Office.
The analysis notes there is still a Hudson Police Officer interested in Moore’s position who meets the qualification of ten years in law enforcement, with two years in a “higher supervisory capacity.”
However, Moore stayed on as chief after October 2016 for a weekly paycheck of about $600. Before taxes.
Hudson requested the waivers because Moore was such an asset to the department. The request noted that “Chief Moore is still needed in the position to complete ongoing and necessary projects with the goals of, in part, instilling professional standards and reorganizing a department with an established history of discord and problems,” according to the case analysis.
Historically, the Hudson Police Department has been accused of significant corruption and abuse stretching back until at least to the 1890s.
In the early 1950s, then-Governor Thomas Dewey appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the HPD and Hudson officials after allegations surfaced they were colluding with prostitution and gambling rackets. Twenty-one residents and officials were eventually indicted, according to the New York Times.
In the late 1980s, Hudson police officers faced such charges as soliciting crack, interfering with narcotics investigations, and lying to a grand jury about drug use, according to the New York Times.
In 1990, then-Chief James J. Dolan Jr. was indicted on 20 charges, including taking bribes, intimidating a victim or witness, bribe-receiving, and rewarding official misconduct, according to the New York Times, and in a separate case, was charged for allegedly delaying the arrest of a friend accused of setting fire to a reporter’s car who wrote articles criticizing Dolan.
In 2014, former Hudson Police Chief Ellis Richardson and 13 HPD officers were hit with a lawsuit by Jermaine McRae, who accused officers of a pattern of targeted harassment in 2011 and 2012, including officers allegedly twice beating him while handcuffed in the basement of the old Hudson Police Department, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was settled after court-mediated discussions, the terms of which are confidential, said Leo Glickman, McRae’s attorney in the case.
Today, police agencies the HPD was accused of interfering with regularly praise the department. Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka, who prosecuted Chief Dolan in the 1990s, had nothing but accolades for Moore, though he admits he is biased, since Moore and he have been friends since childhood.
“I can tell you without any hesitation or reservation that Chief Moore has done more in his short time as chief of police for the city of Hudson Police Department, and for the city of Hudson in general, than any other person in my lifetime,” he said.
Moore has instilled professionalism and morale in the department and has “instigated…a cooperation among law enforcement agencies, including my office, that has never occurred before,” Czajka said.
Czajka noted the history of arrests of HPD officers, listing five different investigations spanning a century, ending with his own prosecution of Dolan, and the impact these had on the HPD’s image.
“However legitimate those investigations and ultimate arrests were, [Moore] has been in a very short time successful in almost eliminating that image,” Czajka said.
Tiffany Martin Hamilton, whose 2016-2018 mayoral term coincided with Moore’s tenure, was superlative in her praise for the chief.
“He’s done a tremendous job,” she said. “He’s a really great leader, he’s focused, he’s fair, he’s really experienced, he’s well-educated and he…interacts well with everyone on the (police) force, everyone within the community, (and) he stays above the political fray, which can be sometimes challenging.”
When the issue of a full salary under a 211 waiver came up during her time in office, Hamilton said Moore had bigger priorities.
“I think he has certain goals and certain initiatives he wants to see through, and to him it’s more important to see those things done…then it is to make a full salary,” she said.
Hamilton said Moore has helped the department become more transparent, which she lists as his biggest accomplishment.
“I know that there are concerns that pre-dated (Moore’s) tenure specifically around transparency,” she said. “There was a complete lack of trust in the department.”
However, Moore has changed this, Hamilton said.
During Moore’s 32-year tenure in the state police, he worked as an undercover officer on a drug-smuggling case culminating in the seizure of a boat carrying 12 tons of marijuana off the coast of New Jersey; was the coordinator for the state police at Ground Zero after 9/11; and volunteered as a field supervisor policing New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, according to his HPD resume, which was obtained by Sam Pratt via FOIL request.
Moore received his Master of Science in criminal justice from SUNY Albany while working for the state police, and rose to the position of First Sergeant before retiring, only one of five troopers to hold the rank at the time, according to the resume.
Moore — who makes less than 30 percent of some of the officers he commands — said he did not leave the position of chief after losing his waiver status because he hadn’t accomplished what he set out to do.
“I said when I took the oath of office (that) we had certain goals, and I think that leaving now before these goals are accomplished wouldn’t be quite fair,” he said. “I’m compensated from my retirement from 32 years with the state police, and of course, I’d like to get paid more, but it doesn’t really enter my thought process.”
His goals include improving the new HPD facility, establishing more foot and bike patrols, streamlining and modernizing the department’s policies and procedures, and improving Hudson’s quality of life by addressing drug-peddling. Moore said.
When asked about past HPD corruption, Moore said the city needed to not linger in the past.
“There’s a lot of talk these days about police-community relations,” he said. “I think that the best community relations, in my mind, is if residents get good quality service, that they’re treated fairly, that our prosecutions in court are well-prepared and factual, and I think people will eventually build trust, because they’ll understand that we’re a professional outfit.”
Moore, 57, said he does not think much of retiring, and that he won’t be leaving the HPD anytime soon. However, whoever replaces him should come from within the ranks of the HPD, he added.