If voters are unhappy with the state legislature now, wait’ll they hear that four members are collecting both salaries and pensions for their service to the state. The New York Times finds that assembly members Harvey Weisenberg, Rhoda Jacobs, John J. McEneny and William L. Parment, all Democrats, have passed retirement age and started drawing pensions of between $66,000 and $73,000, but continue to draw salaries of between $94,500 and $104,500.
For balance, a Republican state senator is found, George H. Winner, who left the assembly after winning his senate seat and draws an assembly pension of $80,000 along with a senate salary of $89,000. Such double-dips were curtailed by a 1995 law, but it only applies to officials elected thereafter — the Times‘ subjects, like many members of our calcified legislature, have been serving a long, long time.
The hero of the story is Democratic assembly member Bob Reilly (pictured), who draws a pension but donates his salary to charity. He’s also the sponsor of a bill to prohibit officials convicted of crimes from drawing pensions. Kevin Parker and Hiram Monserrate (and — we can dream, can’t we? — Pedro Espada Jr.), take note.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 18, 2009