Monday, June 02, 2008

Where, Oh Where to Fund Public Campaign Financing?

Our colleague Beth Foster makes a convincing argument in today's Newsday that if Governor Paterson is looking for sources of funding for public campaign financing--he's questioned where the money would come from--then he might try unfairly bloated state employee pensions.

Here's part of her op-ed:

Similarly disturbing is news that hundreds of state employees may have gamed the system to receive much bigger pension checks than they should have been entitled to - and that state officials have not yet moved to examine pension formulas.

Topping this list of retirees is George M. Philip, who receives a pension of more than $260,000 each year. And that's on top of his $280,000 salary as the interim president of the University of Albany and his $100,000 consulting gig with the New York State Teachers Retirement System.

Also bringing home six-figure pension checks are a whopping 898 other retirees, more than half of whom were employed by Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the Port Authority, according to data obtained from the State and Local Retirement System by the Times Union.

It's suspected that many of these workers feathered their retirement nests during their last years of employment by working unusually long overtime hours and saving up vacation days, all of which would considerably increase the "average" income figure used to calculate pension benefits.

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