A total of $5.2 billion in pension payments were made in calendar year 2021 to 152,000 members of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), according to new data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website. 

Newly retired members (those retiring in 2020 and collecting their first full-year pension in 2021) included 6,019 individuals who had 20 or more years of service credit. Among those “full-career” retirees: 

  • The average pension received was $57,516, compared to $53,539 for last year’s retirees;
  • Those who had been employed by the Department of Corrections (DOC) had the highest average pension (among the ten largest agencies), with 400 individuals being paid an average of $82,947.* By comparison, the 545 full-career retirees who retired from DOC in 2020 received an average pension of $73,109; and
  • The Transit Authority had the most new retirees, with 1,878 individuals receiving an average benefit of $60,331. That’s compared to the $52,751 average benefit received by the Authority’s 2020 retirees.

Among all 152,117 NYCERS retirees, 1,993 received six-figure pensions, a 24 percent increase from the 1,609 in 2020. 

The largest individual payouts (some of which include payments categorized as “back pay” along with the pension benefit) totaled over $400,000. These were: 

  • Todd Riben, retired from the Department of Environmental Protection in 2019, at $501,738, including $250,559 in back pay;
  • Dominick Provino, retired from CUNY in 2004, at $466,882, including $377,902 in back pay;
  • Joseph Blackman, retired from the Department of Environmental Protection in 2018, at $437,975, including $297,681 in back pay; 
  • Eugene J. Procaro, retired from the New York District Attorney’s office in 2020, at $412,953, including $129,119 in back pay; and
  • Joanna Omi, retired from Health and Hospitals Corporation in 2018, at $410,119, including $290,272 in back pay.

Among newly retired members, the highest payout was Procaro’s. The next-highest were: 

  • Vincent Giaimo, retired from the Administration of Children’s Services, at $380,132, including $125,642 in back pay;
  • John M. Ryan, retired from the Queens District Attorney’s office, at $353,241, including $125,206 in back pay;
  • Edward G. Sawtell, retired from the Transit Authority, at $259,275; and
  • Dereck Oxford, retired from Health and Hospitals Corporation, at $256,425, including $28,277 in back pay.

* Pension benefits for certain Corrections and other retirees include a year-end Variable Supplements Fund (VSF) payment of $12,000 per retiree—aka “Christmas-bonuses.” 

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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