Four New York Pols Collect Pension, Pay

By Victoria Cavaliere
|  Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009  |  Updated 8:00 PM EDT
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Four veteran New York lawmakers who have reached retirement age are collecting state pension payments and at the same time they continue to get their regular paychecks.

Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, of Long Island, "retired" last year, but returned to work as a lawmaker at the start of his next term.

As a result, the Nassau County Democrat earns $101,500 in salary and collects a pension of about $72,000, according to the comptroller’s office.

The so-called "double dipping" -- when public servants collect both salary and retirement benefits -- was first reported by the New York Times.

Some companies do allow employees to collect pensions and paychecks, though the practice has most likely declined during the recession and federal rules impose more restrictions on corporate pension funds.

The benefit has been grandfathered in for lawmakers who entered the pension system before 1995.

In Albany, veteran lawmakers can “retire” at 65 from their jobs and start collecting pensions, but without actually leaving their jobs, giving up their salaries or even telling their constituents. Four legislators took advantage of the rule last year, the Times reported.

Another lawmaker, Rhoda Jacobs from Brooklyn, retired last year after 31 years.  She earns $104,500 and draws an annual pension of more than $71,000.  The Times said the other two non-retired pensioners are Assemblyman John J. McEneny of Albany and Assemblyman William L. Parment of Chautauqua County.

Though its not illegal, there is something off color about how earning the pension and the salary comes about.  The "retiring" lawmaker resigns and takes a full day off the payroll.  Then, you come back the next day as the newly elected assemblyman, the Times said.

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