Nearly three-quarters (304 of 416) of those retiring last year from the City of New York’s Fire Department (FDNY) were eligible for six-figure pensions, with 41 individuals eligible for pensions over $200,000 according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.
Among the 313 new retirees with at least 20 years of service, pensions averaged $139,293; four-fifths (253) were eligible for pensions over $100,000.
The highest new pension went to retired Assistant Chief Joseph M. Woznica, who was eligible to collect at an annual rate of $304,257 per year.
Including the 41 new retirees, 308 retired FDNY employees were eligible to collect over $200,000 in pension payments last year. Including 2020 retirees, 4,679 (30 percent) of all FDNY retirees were eligible for pensions over $100,000 last year.
In the past, the high average level of FDNY pensions has in part reflected the number of firefighters receiving line-of-duty disability pensions, which are 75 percent of salary as opposed to the 50 percent available under normal service retirements. The data do not differentiate between disability and service pensions.
Higher benefits also include payments from an optional, guaranteed-return supplemental account supported by additional savings contributions by firefighters and fire officers who choose to participate in that plan.
The data are only available thanks to the Empire Center’s continued litigation efforts, which led to a 2015 court decision affirming the public’s right to view recipient names and amounts of FDNY pensions. A similar case seeking New York City police pension data is ongoing in state court.
The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.