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September 25, 2008

 

DiNapoli Creates Retirement Compliance Unit

New Regulations Increase Accountability and Transparency

$950,000 Owed to the Common Retirement Fund

DiNapoli Audio icon on Reform Efforts

A newly created Retirement Compliance Unit will review and enforce eligibility requirements for the New York State and Local Retirement System, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today. DiNapoli also introduced regulations to increase accountability and transparency in local government reporting of time worked by local and elected officials. These are DiNapoli’s latest actions in his ongoing reforms to the Retirement System.

“Last year, I implemented changes to restore ethics and integrity to the state pension fund,” DiNapoli said. “This year, I’m reforming the Retirement System. We’re going to make sure that only those individuals who are entitled to a state pension get a state pension. I’m also taking a top to bottom look at how the Retirement System can do things to better protect the state pension fund from abuse.

“The Compliance Unit will strengthen the ability of the Retirement System to effectively police the one million member system. The unit will detect and stop attempts by individuals trying to gain retirement benefits they aren’t entitled to.

“In addition, the new regulations will make it clear how local governments should report retirement credit for elected and appointed officials.”

DiNapoli created the Retirement Compliance Unit to actively monitor participating employers, members and retirees’ compliance with regulations and reporting requirements. The unit will work to proactively identify and ensure that past abuses of the Retirement System are corrected and to prevent future abuses.

Specifically, the unit will work with other divisions within DiNapoli’s office to:

  • identify and stop attempts to improperly gain retirement benefits;
  • implement new regulations for reporting time of elected and appointed officials;
  • strengthen auditing of employer reporting to the Retirement System;
  • continue to review lawyers and other professionals in the Retirement System; and
  • enforce regulations on membership eligibility to the Retirement System.

Creating the Retirement Compliance Unit is DiNapoli’s latest action to reform the Retirement System. Since February, auditors collected information from 319 participating employers regarding their employment relationships with New York state-registered attorneys. As a result, DiNapoli has revoked the Retirement System membership or rescinded service credit of 35 individuals. DiNapoli is in the process of collecting nearly $950,000 from retirees whose pensions DiNapoli has revoked or reduced. DiNapoli’s office is still actively reviewing information gathered by his auditors.

DiNapoli also introduced new regulations that will serve as a tool for participating employers to accurately report time worked by elected and appointed officials to the Retirement System while increasing accountability and transparency to the reporting process. The regulations also provide the Retirement System with a way to monitor employer reporting of elected and appointed officials.

The regulations require participating employers to pass and file two resolutions with the Retirement System. It also requires elected and appointed officials who do not maintain timesheets to file a record of activities with their employer and the employer files a certification with the Retirement System. In addition, the resolutions must be posted on the employers’ web site for 30 days. If the employer does not file the resolutions or certification with the Retirement System within the specified time frames, the Retirement System will suspend granting service credit for those positions.

DiNapoli’s office will help local governments understand the new regulations by expanding training opportunities for participating employers. DiNapoli’s staff is also conducting training sessions for a number of organizations, including the New York Conference of Mayors, the New York State Government Finance Officers Association and the New York State School Boards Association.

In March, DiNapoli announced strengthened regulations to provide clarification and guidance for local governments to determine who is an employee.

Click here for an audio feed from DiNapoli.
Click here for the regulations.
Click here for other reform efforts.


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