shine-300x300-4770213John Murphy, director of the New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) from 1990 to 2005, says disclosure of pension recipients has been routine in the past and is essential to guard against misuse of taxpayer money in the future.  Reacting to yesterday’s post here on NYCERS’ stalling tactics in response to a Freedom of Information request from the Empire Center, Murphy sent us this email message — a sort of blank-verse backgrounder on the subject:

Every pension benefit must be adopted at an open meeting of the NYCERS board of trustees.

The resolution technically must identify the person receiving the pension and the amount of the pension.

In short, there is a public record of the pensioner and his/her benefit.

Circa 1994, NYCERS stopped printing the full list of names and amounts due to budget cuts, which were strangling us at that time.

But the detail must be made public on demand to insure against misappropriation of public funds.

Employees and retirees don’t like the public knowing their salaries and pensions, but it is absolutely necessary to prevent fraud.

In the past, “public record” meant a paper document that could be accessed at a public building.

Now, in the age of the Internet, “public” means really public, and all governments hate really public records.

Murphy, who blogs here, has sharply criticized his former agency over its failure to fully disclose documents that would explain a sharp increase in fees paid to private equity funds.

By the way, it’s now been more than 48 hours since the Empire Center’s director, Tim Hoefer, asked for minutes of the July 14 NYCERS board meeting at which, according to a spokesperson, “it was decided [by whom is still unclear] that a committee would be formed to establish a criteria based on safety concerns and unwarranted invasion of privacy for the release of names.”  Still no answer from NYCERS.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

Judge, Jury and … CFO?

A state court judge at a hearing this morning will consider whether to interfere with New York City authority over its own budget by ordering a preliminary injunction that ices a portion of Gotham’s recently enacted FY 23 city budget. Read More

State Budget Back in the Red

Historically large budgetary surpluses inherited by Governor Hochul are now just a memory with New York facing projected gaps of $13.7 Billion Read More

The Numbers Don’t Add Up on Cider Solar Project

Governor Hochul has just announced approval for the state’s largest to-date solar facility, the 3,000 acre Cider Solar Farm in Genesee County Read More

New York’s health insurance affordability problem gets worse

New York's health insurance affordability gap surged to a new high last year, with state residents paying an average of 16 percent more. Read More

New York Doesn’t Need the Build Public Renewables Act

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie called for a special hearing this Thursday to get more input on the Build Public Renewables Act. Read More

US economy clears a key post-pandemic hurdle, while NY still trails

Amid raging inflation and mounting recession worries, the nation's private-sector payroll jobs total finally cleared the pre-pandemic level last month. Read More

NY’s jobs recovery now strongest downstate

The Empire State's private-sector employment gains over the past year have been increasingly concentrated in New York City. Read More

The dangers of Governor Hochul’s endless ’emergencies’

Last week, Governor Hochul extended one of her two pandemic-related emergency orders into its ninth month – an action so routine and non-urgent that her office issued no press release. Five days later, an expose in the Times Union showed why casually overusing emergency powers can be a bad idea. Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries:

Press Inquiries:


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 Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!