Thursday, June 17, 2010

New York State Public Worker Pensions Revealed on New Website; Topping the List is a Teacher at $261K Annually

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I was going to say this post is intended for those who live in New York state so you can see where your tax money is going, but I suppose we all need to be informed as the eventual bailout for the nations under funded pensions will come from people in every state.  [Jan 5, 2010: FT.com - US Public Pensions Face $2 Trillion Deficit]

While the numbers are eye opening - and the fact ex convicts are eligible for state pensions no less - I fully support transparency.  Too bad a private organization had to go and do this, rather than a state government making it available in easily viewed format.   The website is SeeThroughNY (click here for a link)  A fun place to look through when the special interests tell us the schools are out of money, or public library hours must be reduced or state offices must close early ... hence taxes need to be hiked.  We're out of money and we can't figure where it all went! (wink wink)

For eye candy purposes here are the top 10 (out of some 350,000) - please keep in mind the average pay in America is now roughly $34K gross and of course most in the private sector laugh when thinking about a pension.   [Oct 20, 2009: WSJ - Slump Prods Firms to to Seek New Compact with Workers   Again, I urge all young readers of this website to forget the private sector as an employment choice (unless you have a chance to be an investment banker) and head to public 'service'. :)

I am sure the guy at slot #1 knew the rules and somehow figured out a way to load up on hours the last year or two in a way that maximized the pension - I've read many stories outlining rules at varies city, state, organization levels and there are so many levers one can pull if you really try.  This guy really needs to go work for Goldman - anyone who can figure out how to make a million every 4 years off the public dole deserves vampire squid status.  Most of the others on the top 10 list require 5 years to pull in a million - slackers.


  1. NYS Teacher: $261K Annual
  2. Westchester Healthcare worker - $206K
  3. Roswell Park Cancer Institute worker - $203K
  4. Port Authority of NY/NJ worker - $195K
  5. NYS Power Authority worker - $191K
  6. NY Public Library worker - $189K
  7. Long Island Power Authority worker - $187K
  8. NY Public Library worker - $184K
  9. Nassau Health Care worker - $182K
  10. Port Authority of NY/NJ worker - $180K

The one thing that would make this study complete was age at retirement... of course due to privacy we would never have that data but retiring at age 54 making $48K a year in pension is different than age 65 for example.   As we saw in New Jersey, Governor Christie claims some workers can retire at age 49, putting in $124,000 for pension and healthcare during his career and take out $3.3 million in pension and $500,000 for healthcare.  Which is why the age would be interesting. 

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Via AP:
  • A new website reveals the public pensions paid to New York state retirees, including the $261,037 paid annually to a former teacher. He is among the 1,378 retirees pulling down at least $100,000 a year.
  • The Empire Center, part of the fiscally conservative Manhattan Institute, is highlighting the data on 342,543 retirees.  Rising pension costs are forecast because of the growing number of retirees and the pension sweeteners annually approved by lawmakers lobbied by powerful unions representing teachers and other public workers.
  • The website reported that among employees who retired last year, the average pension for those in the police and firefighter system was $62,208. For other retirees, it was $25,947.

The Empire Center for New York State Policy website that went live Wednesday also shows:
  • Former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi qualifies for a $105,221 annual pension. The Democrat resigned in 2006 after pleading guilty to using state workers as chauffeurs and companions for his wife.
  • Former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, a Republican, is in line for a $96,085 pension. He retired before being convicted in a public corruption case earlier this year. Federal prosecutors said he used his position to reap $3.2 million in consulting fees.
  • Former Sen. Guy Velella, a Bronx Republican who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a bribery case in 2004, has a $75,012 pension.
  • By comparison, former Gov. George Pataki has a $101,200 pension and former Gov. Mario Cuomo gets $54,942.


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