Six-figure pensions are becoming the norm among retirees from New York’s largest downstate suburban police departments, according to data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

Fully three-quarters of the 242 Nassau County and Suffolk County police department officers retiring last year, as well as two-thirds of the 39 newly retired Yonkers city police officers, were eligible for annual pensions of more than $100,000, the data show. The pension amounts do not include added severance payments for accumulated sick or vacation time.

The average pension was $81,260 for all 1,322 Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) members retiring in fiscal 2019 after at least 20 years of service. Among new police retirees in fiscal 2019, the highest maximum benefit amounts were reported for Jeff Fabre of Nassau County ($221,086), Anthony Ovchinnikoff of Clarkstown ($198,701), Thomas Cokeley of Ramapo ($180,656), Thomas Papaccio of Nassau County ($179,440), and Edmund Leahy of Yonkers ($177,778).

Newly posted pension data at SeeThroughNY.net also include retirement benefits for 402,419 individuals who retired as members of the New York State and Local Employee Retirement System (ERS), which covers nearly all other non-teaching public employees outside New York City. Among 7,368 NYSLERS members retiring in 2019 after at least 30 years of service, the average annual pension benefit was $50,497.

The list of top pension earners in NYSLERS was topped by Shashikant Lele, a former surgeon and professor at Roswell Park Cancer Center ($436,356), followed by Paul Scott, a surgeon at Nassau County Health Care Corp ($328,127) and Leonard Barrett, also a surgeon at Nassau County Health Care Corp ($315,104). Statewide, another 22 newly retired NYSLERS members were eligible for pensions exceeding $200,000.

The complete SeeThroughNY.net database include maximum pension allowances for 436,872 retirees from state government, public authorities, counties, towns, villages, cities not including New York City, special districts and school districts.

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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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo "Readers will recall that 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 sued the government, and one week after a state court ruled that the Cuomo administration had violated the law and ordered it to come clean—Team Cuomo finally started coughing up some of the records."   -Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021

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