Another North Country lawmakers double dips

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey. Photo: Mark Kurtz

During this year’s election campaign, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey drew heavy fire from opponents for “double dipping.”  This is the long-established practice in New York’s legislature of drawing a retirement pension, while also taking home a sizable paycheck for work as a member of the Assembly or state Senate.

Conservative Doug Hoffman — who endorsed one of Duprey’s opponents — blasted the double payments.  This from a story by Stephen Bartlett in Denpubs:  “She is an elected representative and is supposed to be a role model,” said Hoffmann, who admitted she is doing nothing against the law, referring to it as a “loop hole.”

As I say, this isn’t uncommon for lawmakers and now the Albany Times-Union is reporting that Hugh Farley, the state Senator who represents the southern Adirondacks, will also begin receiving two checks in the mail every month.  According to the newspaper, Farley — who is 80 years old — receives more than $90,000 for his work as a legislator each year, and will now also receive roughly $52,000 a year in pension payments

This activity has been criticized as unfair to taxpayers, but Farley said it’s the only way he can guarantee retirement income for his wife.

“I took the option that my wife will get the same amount, should I pass away,” he said. “I think it’s unfair in the law that if you die in service, your spouse doesn’t get your pension.”

It’s important to note that this is a bipartisan issue.  Duprey and Farley are Republicans, but Democrats also double-dip.  So what do you think?  Is this a fair pay-out for public workers who have  spent decades in public service?  Is it appropriate that a state employee can also qualify as “retired” and thereby receive a pension?  And does the texture of this change now that New York state is in a tight economic crisis?  As always, your comments welcome.

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17 Comments on “Another North Country lawmakers double dips”

  1. I think it is silly for lawmakers to complain about the way the law is written. If the law says that the spouse of someone who dies in service can’t receive their pension, well, why don’t they introduce a bill to fix that?

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  2. Kathy says:

    The loop hole thing is what caught my eye in this article.

    This is what I meant in previous comments about society’s conscience.

    I know this kind of thing has always gone on. But it’s the “loop hole” part that I’m talking about. It’s the mentality of it’s there so I’m going to take it. That’s how people justify it.

    The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice. – Ghandi

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  3. Pete Klein says:

    Forget about double dipping. Actually what needs to be done is to eliminate pensions and health care for elected officials.
    Let them buy their own health insurance and retire on SS or whatever they save on their own.

    Popular. Like/Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  4. I have to ask: why are people still quoting this Doug Hoffman guy? Aren’t his 15 minutes up? Why is his opinion as an ordinary citizen any more valid than anyone else’s? He’s not a party or organization leader. He’s never been an elected official. Why are the media quoting and not, say, me?

    Popular. Like/Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  5. If you’re retired as a public official, you’re retired. If you’re active, you’re not retired.

    I think this is related to the fraud argued by Speaker Silver that legislators are only “part-time” and that’s why they can work outside jobs and why they can be immune from transparency and ethics rules. I bet this “part-time” argument is also used to justify how they can be “retired” and working at the same time.

    They have to be among the most highly compensated “part-time” workers in the world.

    Popular. Like/Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  6. Paul says:

    They should get whatever than are entitled to legally. That isn’t “double dipping”. It’s their money. This is a silly question.

    Hot debate. Like/Dislike Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  7. Rick says:

    Brian MOFYC nailed it… I would prefer the opinion of a water chestnut over that of Doug Hoffman, whom by the way has made a fortune exploiting “loop holes” for his 1% friends.

    Hot debate. Like/Dislike Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  8. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    It wouldn’t bother me if it wasn’t for the fact a retired state employee can’t go back to work for the state in any other capacity without losing his pension. How can they avoid this rule? A retired state worker could not run for state office without giving up his pension as I understand it.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Paul: Yes it’s legal. That’s exactly what’s so disgusting about it. Arlo nailed what’s so hypocritical about it.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. Mervel says:

    I think the pension rules should be changed. I think for me is the bigger issue of public payoffs for former elected officials. If you are elected you should not be allowed to then get a later appointment to one of these fako overpaid state commissions or hack plum jobs that get made up as a political payoff.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Mark says:

    I think that the law should be changed. However, as long as it is legal and the lawmakers have not voted down a change (in a self serving move), then it’s unfair to criticize those who simply follow the law.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Peter Hahn says:

    I agree with Paul and Mark. Unless an official is really really wealthy, they are not going to turn down the (legal) opportunity to make more money. I would and so would most people. However, as lawmakers, they can change the law any time they want. (although the dont seem to be able to raise their salaries – so maybe it all evens out).

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  13. Peter Hahn says:

    I would take the money.

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  14. Mervel says:

    I agree. But just from a political standpoint we are having severe teacher layoffs and are being told how tough things are for our budget. But this type of system tells me no there is plenty of money and the state govt is rich when it wants to be.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  15. Two Cents says:

    It’s double dipping. If you’re working, then you’re not retired.
    close the loopholes

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  16. Mervel says:

    It’s always hard because it’s not the fault of the people collecting the pension, I would take it. The issue is the system itself that needs to be changed.U

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  17. Some of you are right. It’s legal. But at the same time, many people think it’s unethical and for some of these folks claiming fiscal conservatism, hypocritical. We as voters can choose to re-hire or fire them in two years based on whichever of these two standards we want.

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