Some 665 retired public workers in New York had authorization this year to “double dip” and keep collecting taxpayer-funded pensions while getting paid for jobs after returning to work in the public sector, a report released Monday found.
The fiscally conservative Empire Center’s report lists retirees under age 65 collecting full public pension benefits who have waivers from the restriction against earnings of $30,000 or more from a state or local agency.
At least 7,361 post-retirement waivers have been issued since 1998. One allows a contractor to be paid up to $210,000 from Herkimer County for mental health services while collecting a pension of $99,204.
“The kind of double-dipping enabled by the Section 211 waiver system is just a symptom of a broader problem with New York’s traditional public-sector pension system,” said Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center.
The report shows 276 waivers in New York City, including Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, who gets paid $412,193 a year. That includes a salary of $212,614 and a $199,579 pension for her 40-year career as a teacher and principal.
“She’s earned her pension, and she’s worth every dime of her salary,” said a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio.