Batavia's three convicted bookies still eligible to receive partial retirement benefits
Two former city firefighters and a state employee who entered guilty pleas earlier this week on an illegal gambling charge and agreed to resign their government jobs will still receive partial state pensions when they reach retirement age.
City Manager Jason Molino confirmed today that Brian Bordinaro and Gregory Phillips, who worked for the city 18 and 17 years respectively, are still covered by the New York State Retirement System.
He said that's state law and there's nothing the city can do about it.
"In New York you get credit for time served and they can't take that away from you," Molino said.
According to the state's retirement system site, tier 4 employees who stop working for a state or local entity before reaching the 20th year of service are eligible for 1/60th of their final annual salary for each year he or she worked.
Using the calculations from the site, 43-year-old Bordinaro, based on his 2012 salary of $62,000, if he waited until age 62 to retire, could receive in the neighborhood of $18,000 a year, or $1,500 per month.
The 39-year-old Phillips, with a 2012 salary of $57,000, could receive approximately $16,000 annually or $1,300 per month.
The salary data comes from See Through New York. The state's retirement system uses a specific formula to calculate the final annual salary, and there are other factors that go into the calculation, so readers should use the figures merely as a gauge meant to provide an idea of the retirement eligibility that is possible.
The third man who participated in the gambling activity, Lance Engel, 41, worked for the state as a cook at the veterans home in Batavia. He is also part of the retirement system, and with 17 yeas of service and a 2012 salary of $45,000 could receive approximately $12,000 annually starting at age 62.
They should lose those benefits. They didn't stop working because they retired, but because of illegal activity.
just think if they were elected officials,they would have all benefits 100% and unless a court stepped in,would keep employment..
They weren't doing anything that the state doesn't do. Why shouldn't they be able to keep the retirement that they earned. Tax payers invested a lot of money into those firefighters and now we toss them out of their job just because they were running a gambling operation? If they were good firefighters that did their job, why would we want to make them unemployed. I just don't understand the logic, or lack of it.
Has nobody ever played cards in a back room with a few thousand dollars on the table? That's got to be a fairly common thing because I sure remember "hearing" a lot about those kinds of card games. Who did they victimize? Were they strong-arm collecting bad debts?
I'm gathering that illegal gambling laws were enacted in order to go after the mob when it actually existed openly in many areas, but were any of these guys actually a danger to society? Would any of you refuse to sit down at a table and eat dinner with them? Could they be trusted with the keys to your house? It just seems a shame to lose good firefighters. Punish them for what they did wrong, but let them keep what they actually worked hard for. They were firemen first.
Once you become vested in a plan, you can't lose your benefit even if fired. You become a terminated-vested participant in the plan and are notified when you are eligible to begin receiving your benefits.
These individuals put in their time and are due a benefit.
I don't see the issue.
If pensions could be taken away for petty offenses (those three did plead to what where effectively petty offenses), then states could solve their pension funding problems with ease... All they have to do is wait for folks who have earned pensions to get caught speeding, or rolling through a stop sign, or jay-walking (the kind where you cross the street illegally, not getting asked stupid questions by some late-night joker... although, come to think of it, if you get caught doing that you should be punished harshly). Fire them for the offense, and yank their pension away.
But seriously - pensions are vested just so that things described above, however silly they may seem, aren't used against folks who have worked towards those pensions.