Some retired employees of the state of Pennsylvania are making a killing with their pensions. While the average payout for all retired employees last year was around $27,000, more than 500 are pulling in over $100K, with the top pension going to the former president of Penn State at over $477,000. While the employees did pay into their retirement plans, taxpayers are still picking a significant chunk of the cost, subsidizing the kind of retirement that most of them can only dream of in a state where the average salary is just under $56K. One expects the taxpayer share will grow over coming years as the state is facing a $70 billion deficit in its pension obligations.
The old trade-off was that one would take a job in the public sector that paid less than the private sector in exchange for job security and a reasonable pension. One is not supposed to become fabulously wealthy from government service.
From the Pocono Record:
Three years after retiring as president of Pennsylvania State University, Rodney Erickson is netting $477,590 a year — from a state pension.
Gary Schultz, the former Penn State vice president who pleaded guilty in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, takes home $330,699 in pension benefits. Former state lawmaker Frank Oliver, a Democrat who represented North Philadelphia, gets $286,117.
More than 127,000 former Pennsylvania state employees or their beneficiaries collect public pension checks each month, and most are comparatively paltry. The average paid out last year was $27,722.
But despite reforms in the system — which mostly affect future retirees — and a move by some states to cap retirement payments, a separate class of Keystone State pensioners will continue to receive checks that alone put them among the top tier of all income earners in the United States.
As the costs of public pensions continue to be a point of debate for struggling state and municipal governments, the Inquirer and Daily News reviewed data for hundreds of Pennsylvania’s highest-paid beneficiaries, all current through August.
They showed that 20 state retirees collect more than $215,000 a year — a payout so big it exceeds an IRS mandated pension cap and must be paid from two plans. More than 500 retirees collect $100,000 or more.
…Retired Shippensburg University human communication studies professor William Kingsley, who at third on the list gets $385,819, retired in 2015 after nearly 50 years with the university. Kingsley said pension considerations played no role in his decision to work for the university.
“I wanted to do theater, I had opportunity there, and that’s what I did,” said Kingsley, 85, who lives in Aspers, Adams County. “I also loved teaching.”
Asked whether his pension allowed him to live comfortably, he said: “Reasonably.”
“Reasonable,” he says.
Much more at the link.