GARDEN CITY - Nassau County records show that nearly half of its entire police force earned more than $150,000 last year.

In addition, according to Newsday, two of the department's retiring chiefs took in more than $865,000 and the third raked in just under $800,000.

Police union chief James Carver says it's cheaper for the county to pay the overtime that's driving up salaries than to fill about 3,000 positions left empty by retiring officers.

"During this economic time, when the county is strapped for money, now is not a good time to start hiring police officers," Carver says.

Democratic Minority Leader Diane Yatauro said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has brought about "no real reforms" and "lost an opportunity ... to negotiate effectively with union heads while crafting his 2011 budget."

Mangano's office issued a one-line statement saying: "Former County Executive Tom Suozzi entered into labor contracts that are simply unaffordable."