ALBANY — The number of state employees collecting an annual pension of at least $100,000 jumped by 259 last year, according to a government watchdog says.

The Web site SeeThroughNY, which monitors government pensions and payrolls, said the new retirees swelled the exclusive six-figure club to more than 2,700. The figure has doubled over the past five years, the group said.

The retirees are part of the Employees Retirement System, which includes former state and local government workers, police and firefighters outside of New York City, but not teachers who have their own system.

Former employees of the Port Authority workers were the big earnersled the charts for 2013, captured seven of the top 10 spots in the $100,000-and-up club in 2013.

Topping the PA list was ex-aviation chief Susan Baer, who is getting $196,405 a year for the rest of her life. Baer earned $256,121 in her last year as the region’s top airport official. She retired from the bi-state agency after 37 years to take a job in the private sector.

Calls to Baer were not returned Wednesday.

In total, ERS the retirement benefits for the ERS system cost state taxpayers $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2014, a 4.5 percent increase from the previous year.

Fiscal watchdog groups say the numbers demonstrate that the reforms to the pension system didn’t go far enough.

“We need to find a contribution system that is not fully guaranteed by the taxpayers because you’re creating a system that is unsustainable,” said Brain Sampson of the watchdog group Unshackle Upstate.

© 2014 New York Post

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