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— At a council meeting, she asked city financial officials what that was all about. Well, it seems that the Internal Revenue Service frowns on pensioners who receive 100 percent or more of their annual pay. The same applies to those retirees making more than $225,000 a year from their previous municipal employment. So the pension board has to get those sums off its books. Frye notes that before she was in office in March 2001, the city council passed an act that created a Qualified Excess Benefit Arrangement that could accommodate the money shift.

Both Libertarian activist Richard Rider and DeMaio have been studying remuneration and retirement benefits of city employees. The number of retirees raking in 100 percent or more of their pay or amassing $225,000 a year "is a growing figure," warns Rider.

DeMaio points out that many escalators over the years have pushed up retirement benefits. In May 2000, the City settled a lawsuit, known as Corbett, that calls for a flat increase of 7 percent in benefits payable from pension assets. Corbett also mandates that on-the-job emoluments such as bonuses have to be reflected in retirement pay. He predicts that "the lion's share of people retiring after 1996 will join the exclusive club of those getting more than 100 percent of their pay." That will whack the general fund.

The council had a right to get this information before Frye pried it out of the Sanders donkeys. "They [burro-crats] are not providing information that we need to know," says Frye. "You have to turn into Nancy Drew, Girl Detective, to even get a document."

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