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Top of heap: 94 NYC Sanitation workers net $100K-plus in overtime

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Top of heap: 94 NYC Sanitation workers net $100K-plus in overtime

There’s gold in them thar trash bins.

Nearly 100 city Sanitation Department garbage collectors and supervisors hauled in more than $100,000 in overtime last year — pushing some of their yearly salaries to almost $300,000, payroll records show.

By comparison, just two Sanit workers reaped six figures in OT during the 2019-20 fiscal year and zero in 2018-19 — while the head of their department, Commissioner Edward Grayson, is netting well below that, earning an annual salary of around $230,000, records show.

A department rep said the lucrative wage boost for the workers was the result of staffing shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, delays in hiring replacements and a heavy snowfall last year.

But Peter Warren, research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, said the pandemic also exposed labor inefficiencies in the agency.

Christopher Tamas netted over $170,000 in overtime.
Facebook/Chris Tamas
John Sarno
John Sarno made more than $164,000 in overtime last year.
Facebook/John Sarno
Joseph Pidoro’s overtime haul was in excess of $161,000.
Facebook/Tara Walker Polidoro

“Chronically high absenteeism and inefficient union work rules have long contributed to excessive overtime pay levels at the Sanitation Department,’’ Warren told The Post.

“The pandemic surely aggravated the situation.’’

The agency’s top OT earners were notably all supervisors with 20 years or more of service — meaning they are retirement-eligible and can use the overtime to fatten their pension.

All of the top-10 earners were supervisors with base pay at $108,846.

“It is a nice windfall, though at the time, it didn’t feel that way,’’ former supervisor Donovan Graham told The Post of his hefty recent OT egg, which landed him sixth on the agency’s list of highest overtime payouts.

Graham, who worked out of Queens, retired two weeks ago after netting $153,393 in OT for the past full fiscal year, helping to nearly double his salary for a grand total of $282,153.

A New York City Department of Sanitation worker wearing a mask and gloves collects the trash amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 30, 2020.
A New York City Department of Sanitation worker wearing a mask and gloves collects the trash amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 30, 2020.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
The agency’s top OT earners were notably all supervisors with 20 years or more of service — meaning they are retirement-eligible and can use the overtime to fatten their pension.
The agency’s top OT earners were notably all supervisors with 20 years or more of service — meaning they are retirement-eligible and can use the overtime to fatten their pension.
Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

“For two years, I had dark marks underneath my eyes that just started to go away,’’ the former supervisor said. “The last two years were unusual. I was constantly working because of COVID.’’

Christopher Tamas, a Bronx Supervisor hired in 2000, was the agency’s OT king.
He pulled in a mammoth $170,883 in OT and $17,967 in “other pay,” bringing his total compensation to $299,160.

His overtime increased by $70,000 from the previous year, payroll records show. Tamas declined comment.

The guy who landed No. 3 on the list of top Sanit OT earners, Queens supervisor Joseph Pidoro, said he was shocked to learn of his status.

Pidoro racked up $161,609 in OT and $9,623 in other pay to bring his annual haul up to $281,540.

“How’s that possible? … I’m going to be honest with you, that’s completely wrong. I can’t imagine how I’d be No. 3,” Pidoro told The Post.

“That doesn’t make sense. I’m nowhere near what other people do, I believe. I know it’s all hearsay, but if that’s accurate, I’m truly surprised.”

Bronx supervisor Mark Logan, who came in at No. 10, made $138,992 in OT, bringing his total pay to $268,013.

“I’m asked to work, that’s all. They ask me to work, I work,” Logan said.

“I don’t keep track.”

The department had the highest jump in overtime pay for the past fiscal year — or an 86 percent hike — when compared to the city’s other uniformed services, according to an analysis by the Empire Center for Public Policy.

New York City Sanitation Department workers clean the streets after the U.S. Women's National Team Ticker Tape Parade in Manhattan.
New York City Sanitation Department workers clean the streets after the U.S. Women’s National Team Ticker Tape Parade in Manhattan.
James Devaney/GC Images

That amounted to $151 million in FY 2020 to $283 million last year. Total OT for the Sanitation Department was just $138 million in 2019.

By comparison, OT for the city Fire Department increased just 6 percent — and overtime actually dropped by 39 percent in the Police Department.

Sanit rep Joshua Goodman told The Post, “At one point, up to 25 percent of the department was out due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or suspected contact.

“This required significant overtime, particularly from supervisors and superintendents, who worked 12-hour shifts throughout much of the year to cover pandemic-related staff shortages without a service disruption,” Goodman said.

The department did not conduct its annual hiring and promotion classes in the summer of 2020 amid the pandemic, which reduced staffing levels.

The city was also hit with 25 inches of snow during back-to-back storms in the winter of 2020, requiring massive OT.

Department of Sanitation employee Dennis Stacks helps to rotate the plow of a salt truck before it clears the snow on York Ave.
Department of Sanitation employee Dennis Stacks helps to rotate the plow of a salt truck before it clears the snow on York Ave.
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

“When there are fewer staff, the amount of work does not change – and so the people working must work overtime,’’ Goodman said. “We will always do whatever it takes to give New Yorkers the clean, safely passable streets they deserve.”

Harry Nespoli, head of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, said the spike in OT is not a surprise given the department’s staffing shortage.

“They didn’t hire new people for over a year. They didn’t hire nobody during the pandemic because there was a hiring freeze,’’ he said.

“The garbage needs to be picked up.”

Some of the supervisors who were among the 94 Sanitation employees to earn more than $100,000 in OT last year told The Post they didn’t feel comfortable talking about the boost.

Brooklyn supervisor John Sarno, who joined the department in 1997, came in at No. 2 on the list, receiving $164,673 in OT and $18,437 in other pay to boost his total income to $293,838 last year.

“I really don’t want to discuss my personal financial earnings,” he said.

Queens supervisor Philip Salvati’s $151,311 in OT raised his pay to $278,682, earning him seventh place.

“I can’t speak to anybody without representation,’’ Salvati told The Post. “Go deal with the department.”

Additional reporting by Reuven Fenton, Julia Marsh, Oumou Fofana and Khristina Narizhnaya

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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