The number of government retirees allowed to collect both a paycheck and public pension grew by 9 percent from July 2017 to July 2018, according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Of the 933 active “double-dippers,” at least eight were eligible to take home more than $300,000 annually, and at least 30 could take home more than $200,000.
The waivers, issued under Section 211 of the state Retirement and Social Security Law, allow public employees under the age of 65 to collect a public pension and a government paycheck simultaneously. Public employers are required by law to conduct “extensive recruitment efforts” before resorting to hiring under a 211 waiver.
The eight individuals allowed to take home more than $300,000 are:
- Robert Sweeney, Yonkers fire commissioner, at $394,873;
- Thomas Krumpter, Lloyd Harbor police captain, at $376,030;
- Harlan Kosson, Ontario County consulting psychiatrist at $341,450;
- Helena Williams, Nassau chief deputy county executive, at $316,875;
- Anita Laremont, New York City attorney, at $311,960;
- Vinay J. Patil, Herkimer County psychiatrist, at $309,600;
- James Skopek, Suffolk County deputy commissioner of Police, at $309,461; and
- Edward Welz, Canal corporation deputy director, at $309,006.
The Empire Center’s database of Section 211 waivers lets taxpayers search through more than 8,400 applications, which include details such as employee names, authorized pay, and employers seeking waivers.
Among the waivers in effect on July 1:
- Over 20 percent of active waivers (196) have been granted continually since July 1, 2008, suggesting individuals are using what’s meant to be a temporary arrangement on a permanent basis;
- 362 were approved for New York City, 153 going to district attorney offices;
- 221 were approved for local governments outside New York City, with the most going to Nassau County (32), Suffolk County (27) and a tie between Orange, Monroe and Schenectady County (15);
- 197 were approved for New York State agencies, including 106 at the Attorney General’s office and 32 at the State University of New York; and
- 84 were for school districts outside New York City.
The actual number of double-dippers taking home six figures may be considerably higher. Waivers are only required if the retiree hasn’t yet reached age 65 and authorizing entities do not report data uniformly.
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.