May 11, 2008

Non-Public Employees in New York's Public Pension System

Monique Chartier

From an interesting blog called Pension Risk Matters:

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?)

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Well, recall how here in RI the Democrat General Assembly, including Jack Reed, tried to add non-employee teacher union officials to the state pension system in one of their notorious midnight bills.

They might have gotten away with it too, except that the Providence Journal blew the whistle that they'd passed the bill, and the public outcry was such that they had to repeal it (claiming it was a mistake ... and if you believe that!).

The teachers unions went to court to try to make the enactment stick.

Presumably Bob Walsh was of the position that the teachers union bosses were vested as soon as the bill passed! ;-)

Posted by: Tom W at May 11, 2008 7:19 PM

Yea, sure we don't...

Posted by: Greg at May 11, 2008 8:00 PM

Tom W. - come on now. We're not supposed to talk about these things. Stick with Bob Walsh's program - the Pension System is self-sustaining, but for the fact that the State did not put in it's fair share of contributions. It has nothing to do with the ludicrous benefits doled out.

Can you say LEECH!

Posted by: George Elbow at May 11, 2008 9:31 PM

Remember the attempt which Gov.Carcieri successfully vetoed that would've made homecare providers state employees?Grace Diaz introduced the bill and Matt Jerzyk organized the workers for the SEIU.He was also Diaz' campaign manager according to his blog.For two people from Kentucky and the Dominican Republic they sure have learned the political incest game in RI.There are many more examples of the intertwining of relationships in this state.
Off Topic:If you want to throw up,read about Dinesh D'Souza's debate with Peter Singer,a Princeton professor who advocates a 28 day post-partum period for killing newborns,but is an animal rights activist and opposes the death penalty.And this puke's parents are Holocaust survivors-he apparently didn't learn much.Sounds like a Steve Brown kind of guy.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 11, 2008 9:50 PM

homecare providers my ass. They are ste-paid babysitters-not a thing more.
Yeah that Singer sounds like another POS.
The "humanist left"-who brought you Stalin, Mao, Castro, Mengistu, the "poor innocent Rosenbergs" and that gaggle of Paris-trained public schoolteachers-the Khmer Rouge.
Vote Progressive for a better world.

Posted by: Mike at May 11, 2008 10:11 PM

The whole unionize the daycare workers thing was this state's version of a scam perpetrated nationally by SEIU.

The idea is to expand the ranks of unionized government employees (and thus union dues paying government employees) via those who themselves and/or their employers receive government reimbursements.

So welfare baby sitters, err, I mean daycare workers, who receive government reimbursements are a natural target.

Ditto nursing home workers.

Ditto home health care workers.

Ditto foster parents.

SEIU pioneered this scam, and seeing its success in other states other unions have started the same thing, particularly AFSCME.

Democrat politicians support this because the more of the workforce that is reliant upon government reimbursements, the more likely they are to vote for the party of more government, i.e., Democrats.

Moreover, who do you think benefits from union dues derived political contributions? And the more union dues, the more $ into Democrat election campaigns.

The only losers: private sector taxpayers.

Posted by: Tom W at May 11, 2008 10:39 PM

BTW, related to the foregoing, you didn't really believe that the unions and Democrats are pushing "single payer" health care out of concern for the uninsured, did you?

Healthcare is a targeted industry by SEIU and AFL-CIO. If they can make it solely funded by government reimbursements then they can lean on politicians to "influence" hospital management not to oppose union organizing drives ... and thus more dues for unions and Democrat politicians.

Follow the money.

Posted by: Tom W at May 11, 2008 10:43 PM
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