CONTACT: Tim Hoefer
Thirteen percent of newly retired members of the state Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) in 2010 qualified for a pension of more than $100,000, according to data posted at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s government transparency website. Most of the 125 new PFRS retirees with six-figure pensions worked for agencies on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley, including the Port Authority of NY & NJ, continuing a trend that has developed in the past decade.
The average pension for all newly retired PFRS members came to $63,791, while pensions averaged $29,988 for members of the New York State Employee Retirement System (ERS), which covers all county and municipal workers outside New York City.
The searchable database of pension allowances for 352,771 retired New York state and local government employees includes the names, retirement dates and, in most cases, the most recent employer for all individuals collecting pension benefits from the PFRS and ERS.
The benefit levels shown in the database are maximum allowable benefits, which can exceed the amount actually collected by those retirees who, for example, opt to receive less in order to preserve a continuing benefit for their survivors. The maximum annual benefits for retired NYSLRS members totaled nearly $7.7 billion. NYSLRS covers most employees of the state government, public authorities, counties, cities, towns and villages outside New York City, whose employees belong to separate municipal pension plans. NYSLRS also covers those school district employees (excluded from this data set) not covered by the New York State Teachers Retirement System.
Philip W. Wood, former vice chancellor for capital facilities at the State University of New York, topped the pension list for ERS or PFRS members who retired in 2010. His maximum allowance comes to $186,295, the 10th highest pension for all retired members of the two systems.
Click here for tables listing the top 100 pensioners and average pensions by retirement year and a graph illustrating growth of PFRS pensions.
SeeThroughNY allows the public to examine government expenditures on the Internet. In addition to pension data for former state and local governments and school districts, it includes payrolls for New York State and New York City government, counties, municipalities, public authorities and school districts throughout the state. Also posted are state legislator office expenditures, pork barrel “member item” spending, and a benchmarking feature for comparing local government and school district spending. The site was launched July 31, 2008.
The Albany-based Empire Center is a project of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, one of the nation’s leading non-profit 501(c)3 think tanks.