When the Town of Ramapo made the unusual move of publicly announcing that they’d recouped from organizers $7K+ in overtime fees for a May 9 event at Provident Bank Park, the Rockland County Times asked for the record of other overtime expenses to see if police were paid back regularly by private event organizers. Unfortunately, the Supervisor St. Lawrence administration said no such records exist.
While police sources told the newspaper the town was fibbing, not all authorities keep the truth from the public. Sheriff Lou Falco said his office makes sure to bill any overtime for private events to the private entity holding the event and welcomes any newspaper to FOIL the information.
Early in 2013 the wedding of a grand rebbe’s daughter at RCC cost $12,621 in Sheriff’s overtime, which Falco said he made sure to have paid in full by the wedding’s organizers and for which he has paperwork to account “for each and every penny.”
Falco said Rocklanders have been worried that taxpayers paid for the Grand Rebbe’s event. “People are accusing me of catering to the Hasidic community, which I don’t,” Falco said. “If they break the law, the law is enforced just the same as anyone else.”
He noted other events in Rockland that police charged overtime costs to private entities for include movie shoots and last year’s Maccabi Games.
While the Sheriff Department has the correct policy, the Rockland County Times believes Ramapo’s inability to account for its overtime practices will set a damaging precedent that paints all police departments with suspicion. The public has no means of learning whether private organizers or taxpayers pay the costs if the government in question will not reply to FOIL requests on the matter.