Brooklyn judge rules record of correction officers receiving taxpayer pensions should be made public

| New York Daily News

The names of retired correction officers and other law enforcement receiving taxpayer-funded pensions should be made public in a searchable online database, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The decision by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Peter Sweeney also applies to investigators for district attorneys, uniformed MTA employees, some school safety officers and transit and NYCHA police officers who retired before the departments merged with the NYPD.

The ruling comes weeks after the Daily News highlighted several cases of retired NYPD cops receiving generous disability pensions though they did not appear to be disabled.

The series prompted an ongoing investigation of the New York City Police Pension Fund by the Department of Investigation.

The new ruling stems from the Albany-based Empire Center’s Freedom of Information Law request in 2014 seeking the names of people receiving pensions through the New York City Employees’ Retirement System.

The city opposed the request, arguing that publicizing officers’ names put them in danger.

But Sweeney rejected those arguments, saying the city could point to no concrete example of a crook using an online database to exact revenge on an officer.

“One would think that if someone…had a grudge against a law enforcement officer, he or she would already know his or her name,” Sweeney wrote, noting that “speculative safety concerns were contrary to common sense.”

It was unclear when the information will be posted online on SeeThroughNY.net.

The city can appeal the decision.

“If taxpayers are responsible for funding pensions, then the taxpayers deserve to see what they are,” said Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center, citing The News’ recent articles.

“The Empire Center will continue to take on and win these fights as long as people are trying to hide this type of data from the public.”

The Empire Center has won similar cases involving the MTA, the NYC Fire Department Pension Fund and the New York City and New York State Teachers’ Retirement Systems.

Hoefer said the Empire Center plans to soon file a request for the full New York City Police Pension Fund.

“We are reviewing the decision and considering our options,” a Law Department spokesman said.

 

 

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