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Politics and Government

Senator DeFrancisco is retiring, but then he's going straight back to work

Durrie Bouscaren
WRVO News File Photo
State Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse. (File photo)

Influential central New York State Sen. John DeFrancisco is retiring today, but he’ll go right back to work tomorrow.

DeFrancisco, a Republican from Syracuse, is 68 years old. That means he’s been eligible to retire as a state employee and collect a pension for the past three years. He’s finally doing so, even though he was re-elected to office in November and plans to continue to serve in the Senate.

The practice is commonly known as double-dipping. DeFrancisco will file retirement papers with the state effect Jan. 1, 2015. Then he’ll go back to work. State legislators earn a base salary of $79,500, but earn more through stipends and work on committees. DeFrancisco’s pension is based on 37 years of work.

In a statement, DeFrancisco says he’s collecting the pension for the best interests of his wife. If he died while in office, his wife would only receive a single benefit payout. But now, the pension checks would continue.

The older I have gotten, the more I have come to understand that I cannot risk depriving my spouse of what she is entitled to, and what I have earned. Granted, I could simply retire and not serve any longer. However, now that Republicans have regained control of the State Senate, Central New York would be better served by my returning to my Senate seat [...].

DeFrancisco chairs the Senate finance committee and is rarely challenged for his seat.

He’s not the only senior lawmaker over 65 to collect a pension and continue to earn a salary. Central New York Assemblyman Bill Magee, a Democrat in his 70's, is also eligible to collect a pension while serving.