A report disclosing financial information found that City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) gets both a retirement pension and a salary from the city, a controversial practice called “double dipping.”
She makes $122,500 as a Council member, but also receives a $60,000 pension, the document from the city Conflicts of Interest Board said.
Koslowitz began receiving her pension in 2001, after newly instated term limits forced her out of office. Previously, she had served on the Council for 10 years.
But Koslowitz never stopped receiving the pension when she came out of retirement in 2009 and began pulling down a six-figure salary.
Koslowitz declined to comment for this article.
The practice has been labeled unethical by other Queens lawmakers.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) is a vehement critic of double-dipping politicians.
“To double dip at the taxpayer’s expense is just wrong,” he said. “We are asking the average New Yorker to cut back, pay more taxes and get less services ... we should be held to the same rules.”
In February, Avella introduced legislation into the Senate that would seek to end the practice in Albany.
The bill states: “It is unfair to the general public and ethically inappropriate that an elected official who is eligible to receive a pension can retire, collect a government pension and still be re-elected to another position and collect an additional salary for the newly elected position.”
Another Queens councilwoman was still paying off student loans, according to the Conflict of Interest Board reports,
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) made roughly the same salary as Koslowitz in the Council last year and took out money from her personal IRA.
Crowley owed between $5,000 and $43,999.99 for a car loan from Ford, and between the same amount for a student loan.
She also made between the same amount in interest on two retirement accounts.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community News Group
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