One of the architects of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan is living well at the taxpayer’s expense, a think-tank reported.
The right-leaning Empire Center highlighted Anita Laremont, the executive director of the Department of City Planning, as one of four civil servants raking in more than $300,000 this fiscal year thanks to special permission to receive both a public paycheck and public-pension payments. Waivers granted under Section 211 of New York’s Retirement and Social Security Law are supposed to allow the state and local governments to attract and retain employees younger than 65 that have unequaled and irreplaceable knowledge and skills.
Drawing on public documents from the first half of the year, the Empire Center pegged Laremont’s salary from the Department of City Planning at $204,251 and take-home pay from her Empire State Development pension at $114,742.
But this did not take into account Laremont’s August promotion from general counsel of the planning agency to executive director, a role in which she replaced Harvard-bound Purnima Kapur.
In her new position, Laremont receives an annual salary of $207,015.
The city credited Laremont, in her role as the agency’s attorney, with helping craft the mayor’s two key zoning initiatives: Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability. This, the Department of City Planning insisted, made her one of the “uniquely qualified individuals” eligible for a Section 211 waiver.
The other three “double-dipping” public officials earning upwards of $300,000 identified by the Empire Center are Yonkers Fire Commissioner Robert Sweeney, Lloyd Harbor Police Captain Thomas C. Krumpter and Herkimer County psychiatrist Vinay J. Patil. The report noted, however, that the real number of high-earning double-dippers may be considerably greater because waivers are only necessary for those under age 65 and data is unavailable from the New York City Police Pension fund.
"...the Empire Center is the think tank that spent months trying to pry Covid data out of Mr. Cuomo's government, which offered a series of unbelievable excuses for its refusal to disclose...five months after it (the Empire Center) sued, Team Cuomo finally started coughing up some of the records." -Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021
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