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.