NY lawmakers say 70 private lobbyists collect public pensionsNews added by Benefits Pro on May 1, 2014

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By Lisa Barron

Two New York State legislators are fighting to keep members of private sector lobbying groups from collecting money from public pensions.

Rep. Sean Ryan, a Democrat from Buffalo, and Sen. George Maziarz, a Republican from Newfane, who are co-sponsoring bills to stop the practice, released state records earlier this week that showed more than 70 retirees from private lobbying groups are in the public system created for local and state government employees, reports Newsday.

"Our public pension system has been infiltrated by private lobbyists," said Ryan.

Maziarz said he believes some of the private groups, which include the state Association of Counties, the state School Boards Association and the state Conference of Mayors, are boosting salaries in the final years of employment to boost pensions.

The bills would put an end to further pension payments to these employees and prevent new employees from joining the state pension system.

Public officials apparently created the groups decades ago to provide legal and other advice, and the employees then became eligible for the public pension.

They also lobby for issues including trying to reduce the cost of public pensions for government workers, most of whom earn less than $50,000 a year, while the executive directors of the school boards, counties and mayors groups make more than $200,000 a year, according to Newsday.

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