Following Years in Court, Empire Center Wins Access to Full NYC Pension Records

| Press Releases

After a two-year legal battle followed by two years of additional delays, the New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) has released the full pension records for its retired members. The records are now posted at, the Empire Center’s government transparency website.

As of 2016, NYCERS had 137,694 total retirees, including those from the Transit Authority, Health and Hospitals Corporation, Department of Health and the Housing Authority. Of departments with at least 1,000 retirees since the last full data set was released in 2009, Department of Correction retirees received the highest average pensions ($52,683), followed by the Department of Sanitation ($49,405).

In 2014, NYCERS began redacting from responses to FOIL requests the names of members retired from certain law enforcement job titles, likely including corrections officers, public safety officers and others. Following a successful Article 78 challenge, the court ordered these names to be released in 2016. After waiting the maximum allotted time to file and withdraw an appeal, NYCERS provided the Empire Center with the requested records for calendar year 2016.

The Empire Center files hundreds of FOIL requests every year and posts the results publicly on its database. Over the years, numerous agencies have obstructed access to public records, unnecessarily redacting information or simply ignoring FOIL requests. A new timeline released by the Empire Center today traces five legal battles it has fought since 2009 against public agencies that refuse to allow taxpayers to see where their money is going.

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.