State Assemb. Steve Englebright, D-Setauket, is one of 13 state lawmakers who are eligible to collect retirement pay while still earning a regular salary as a sitting elected official, according to a report published Wednesday in Newsday.
Englebright, 66, was re-elected to a 12th term this past November. Newsday reported that he filed paperwork that would enable him to collect a full salary of $91,000, including stipends, as well as collect retirement benefits of between $50,000 and $60,000.
"The reality is, this is legal and appropriate," Englebright told Newsday. He said by collecting retirement benefits now, he is effectively capping the benefits he can receive in the future because it would not continue to "compound."
One government watchdog told Newsday that while this is legal, "it looks particularly awful given the times we live in."
According to state law, sitting lawmakers elected before 1995 are legally able to "retire" and then return to elected office, thereby collecting both a salary and a pension. Newsday reported that the state in 1995 limited the amount of legislative pay that a state lawmaker can earn while collecting a pension.
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