Non-Public Employees in New York’s Public Pension System
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating “alleged abuses of the state pension fund” at school district, town and village levels. External contractors may be costing Empire State taxpayers a bundle in the form of “undeserved” retirement benefits. (See “Cuomo expanding pension probe,” April 14, 2008.)
The TimesUnion blog, that second link, elaborates.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday is expected to announce that he is further broadening his probe into alleged abuses of the state pension fund to include not just school districts, but towns and villages as well.
Cuomo was already looking into the practice by some school districts of putting outside contractors, particularly lawyers, into the state retirement system. The practice has allowed some attorneys to rack up huge amounts of retirement credits — possibly illegally, Cuomo says, because they didn’t qualify as employees.
The attorney general is now turning his attention to a similar practice in local governments, especially the smaller ones, which also don’t always have staff attorneys but hire them under contract.
One of the lawyers who benefited from that system, James Roemer, accrued a taxpayer-funded pension worth more than $80,000 a year working for various cities, towns, counties and villages, in addition to being in private practice. Roemer, according to a person familiar with Cuomo’s investigation, has been subpoenaed in the probe.
By gum, Rhode Island may have the second highest unfunded public pension liability in the country. But we don’t have non-public workers in any of our public pension systems.
(… Do we?)