The pension plan covering most New York city government agencies, including the City’s subway system, had 47 members with pension payments of at least $200,00 last year, 11 more than in 2021, according to new data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

Total payments by the system climbed from $5.2 billion in 2021 to $5.5 billion in 2022, for the 156,000 members of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS).

The increase in pension payments included nearly $70 million in “back pay;” fifteen retirees collected over $100,000 in back pay. The reason for that back pay is not immediately clear from the data.

Newly retired members (those retiring in calendar year 2021 and collecting their first full-year pension in 2022) included 6,177 “full career” individuals—those employees who had 20 or more years of service credit. The average pension received by “full-career” retirees was $57,290, compared to $57,516 for last year’s retirees.

Among all 156,061 NYCERS retirees, 2,296 received six-figure pensions, a 15 percent increase from the 1,993 in 2021. The largest individual payouts (some of which include back pay along with the pension benefit) totaled over $350,000. These were:

  • Warren Murray, Jr., retired from New York District Attorney’s office in 2021 at $482,643, including $157,628 in back pay;
  • Phillip Garret, retired from the Health and Hospitals Corporation in 2014, at $448,458, including $392,243 in back pay;
  • Nicolas Audi, retired from the Department of Environmental Protection in 2018, at $371,698; and
  • Kenneth Mooney, retired from the Transit Authority in 2021, at $355,892, including $116,395 in back pay.

Warren Murray and Kenneth Mooney are both newly retired. Joining them as the highest-paid recent NYCERS members are: 

  • Joan Kaden, retired from the Office of Management & Budget, at $338,104; including $94,280 in back pay;
  • Gary Weglarz, retired from the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, at $322,283; including $78,654 in back pay; and
  • Abraham Reich, retired from the Department of Environment Protection, at $259,269; including $4,693 in back pay.

It is worth noting that pension payments in New York are not subject to state and local income tax. A retiree with a $60,000 pension payment would save approximately $2,870 (4.78 percent) in state and local taxes.

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.

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