The number of retirees eligible for $200,000+ pensions from the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) reached 54 last year, according to new data posted on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s government transparency website.

The $200,000+ pensioners include public hospital doctors, police officers, psychiatrists, government administrators and others. Fifteen pensioners retired from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and another 10 retired from Nassau Health Care Corporation. Only nine NYSLRS pensioners were eligible for annual payments of more than $200,000 a decade ago.

The largest pension went to Dr. Shashikant Lele, who was eligible to collect $437,328 for his time working at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr. Lele was also one of several hundred New York public employees who collected a pension while continuing to work, receiving $377,355 from Roswell Park during its 2023 fiscal year. The next-highest pensions went to:

  • Richard J. Batista, Nassau Health Care Corp., $339,874
  • Paul E. Scott, Nassau Health Care Corp., $328,919
  • Brian M. Murray, Erie County Medical Center Corp., $317,219
  • Leonard O. Barrett, Nassau Health Care Corp., $316,256
  • Jorge L. Benach, SUNY Stony Brook, $297,284
  • Harlan Kosson, Wayne County, $274,421
  • George M. Philip, NYS Techers Retirement System, $263,593
  • Narasimhan L. Narasimhan, SUNY Downstate, $259,642
  • Elsie M. Santanafox, Nassau Health Care Corp., $259,317

“New York’s pension system was designed over a century ago—and it wasn’t designed for this,” said Ken Girardin, research director. “The prescription here is for Albany to put future hires in a more modern, more flexible retirement plan such as the ones offered to SUNY faculty or political appointees.”

The new data include names and pension amounts for 467,419 retirees from state agencies, public authorities and local governments as well as non-teaching school district positions. The amounts, which are exempt from state income tax, show what retirees were eligible to collect during the plan’s 2023 fiscal year, which ended March 31.


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