Anthony Anderson, who calls the Canarsie section of Brooklyn home, comes from a military family, but didn’t feel the urge to serve until recently. Working in sanitation for the City of New York, Anderson heeded the call and spent last week preparing to be deployed to Iraq after joining the United States Army Reserve.
“Recently, my unit has been activated under Operation New Dawn to be deployed to Iraq,” said Anderson. But the soldier’s encountering some issues that are making his service a bittersweet and difficult one.
“Under chapters 238 and 240 in the Extended Military Benefits Program-Differential Pay Program [EMBP-DP], I am entitled to receive my city salary plus my military pay,” Anderson tells the AmNews. “Please be aware that EMBP pays only the difference between your city pay and your military pay. In my current case, I am not at top pay and only make $40,000 a year. My current military salary is approximately $26,000. The difference of $13,000 allows me to see only $146 a week after taxes. This permits me to only accumulate less than 3 percent of my annual salary.”
According to Anderson, the Differential Pay Program was implemented back in 2008, canceling its previous program. That program entitled city workers to receive their entire pay with the city while on deployment. “The predecessor plan elected the public servant to participate in a ‘full pay-repayment plan,’ having returned to city employment from ordered military duty,” said Anderson.
Under EMBP, his only other option would entail exhausting any statutory entitlement he has available. He chose to use his leave balances, which are vacation and accumulated hours combined.
“I understand that when I cease using leave balances, my approved leave of absence will continue, but that I shall be placed on military leave without pay,” he said.
Anderson says he privately met with State Sen. John Sampson last Friday to address how the current program is putting men like him, and women and families in general in financial hardship. “Although this plan may serve the needs of some, it places those of us not at top pay at a disadvantage,” said Anderson.
“It is with great pride that I undertake this deployment, but it is at the expense of my family’s welfare,” said Anderson, who is also a father and pays child support. “In meeting with Senator Sampson, I hope to discuss certain solutions to assist those of us going off to war.”
Details about the meeting weren’t made available by press time.
It’s been a difficult road for Anderson, but he’s still traveling it nonetheless. Anderson was deployed to Iraq the day after meeting Sampson, but hopes his story can bring out the voices of other reservists and soldiers experiencing the same problems.
“In light of recent events, I still remain positive that hopefully the administration of Sanitation and the state legislative elected body will assist me in my hardship,” said Anderson. “I understand that our city is experiencing a financial shortfall, but some understanding should be evoked in my case considering my situation.”
Due to the fact that Anderson has just being deployed to Iraq, and in accordance with Army regulations, the AmNews has decided not to run his photograph.