Newly released data on retired New York City employees reveals eye-popping six figure pensions being collected by hundreds on a now-defunct plan.
The government watchdog, the Empire Center for Public Policy, published records that disclosed stunning figures for retirees who were enrolled in an extravagant pension plan known as Tier 1, like a former Sanitation Department worker who now collects more than twice what he was making on the job, the New York Post reported.
“Pensions like these are unheard of in the private sector — and deserve the close scrutiny of taxpayers,” executive director of the Empire Center, Tim Hoefer, said. “The long list of six-figure pensioners in the New York City Employees’ Retirement System shows just how great a burden the city has placed on its finances.”
One of those pensioners is Eugene Egan, who was making $128,189 a year when he retired in 2015 as the Sanitation Department’s director of labor relations, according to public records. The 86-year-old is now collecting a cool $285,047 a year thanks to the lavish Tier 1 pension plan which he was enrolled in because he started working for the department before July 1973.
The extremely generous plan, which has only 853 active members left in the City, according to the Comptroller’s Office, was added to by Egan over the years, a source told the Post. And while Egan was “known as a good and knowledgeable guy,” while at the Department, the source revealed that Egan didn’t like others to know how long his tenure was at the agency.
— em (@EmilahP) February 21, 2018
Egan called the pension figures “fake news” when asked about the data by reporters in front of his Bronx home on Tuesday, according to the Post.
“You’ll go ahead and say I’m ripping off the city ’cause I got a pension,” Egan said, adding that he didn’t want to look “like a bum.”
“The fact is that I worked almost 60 years for it,” he said. “You retire. That’s it,” he added as he shut the door on a Post reporter, telling him to “get an honest job.”
The Empire Center reportedly fought in court for years to be able to access the records from the New York City Employees’ Retirement System which oversees the pensions of over 135,000 retirees, according to the Post. An astonishing $3.8 billion in payments were made just in 2016, according to figures released on the center’s online database.
“This is sweet for the retirees. A little bitter for the taxpayers,” Citizens Budget Commission vice president Maria Doulis said. “Pension costs are now a $10 billion expense in the city budget.”
Today’s average Sanitation Department pension is $49,405, according to the Empire Center. Many Health and Hospitals Corporation retirees also enjoy pensions over $190,000 as the data showed, with the lowest amounts – at around $125,000 – collected by former Social Service, Board of Education and City Council employees.
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