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

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.



© 2016 New York Daily News

You may also like


Six-figure pensions are becoming the norm among retirees from New York’s largest downstate suburban police departments, according to data posted at, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Comptroller warns of financial distress at the MTA, and the MTA goes on a hiring spree

According to Ken Girardin, a labor analyst at the right-leaning Empire Center for Public Policy, every new police officer will cost the MTA roughly $56,000, which means the new personnel would initially cost the MTA roughly $28 million a year. Those costs should rapidly increase over time, as police salaries rapidly increase. Read More


One of the great government watchdogs in New York State is the Empire Center for Public Policy, led by EJ McMahon. The Empire Center recently came out with its annual report on overtime costs and the highest earning public servants in NYS. Read More

Genesee Community College president tops pay list in Finger Lakes

ALBANY — Genesee Community College President Dr. James Sunser was the highest-paid municipal government worker in the Finger Lakes region, according to the latest edition of “What They Make,” the Empire Center’s annual report summarizing total local government pay. Read More

Pensions New York taxpayers can’t afford

Another day, another shocking Empire Center revelation. Announcing the latest update to its SeeThroughNY database of New York public employee pensions, the watchdog flagged the city government retirees now scoring the highest pensions. Read More

These Dutchess City, Town Workers Are Among Highest Paid In Upstate NY

Citing data from the New York State and Local Retirement System based on regular, overtime pay and unused vacation time, Empire Center’s 2018 “ What They Make ” report determined which town, city, and village employees are getting paid the most. Read More

LIRR union chief blames OT on inadequate staffing levels, increased workload

“That’s one heck of an incentive,” said E.J. McMahon, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy, the organization that publicized the MTA’s alarmingly high overtime rate in an April MTA payroll report. Read More

Fiscal Watchdog Wins Open Records Case

The Empire Center for Public Policy on Monday notched a victory in state court Monday after a judge found the names of retired New York City police officers who receive pensions are public records that must be released. Read More