The New York Times reported yesterday that New York City is withholding payments this fiscal year into a pension system for many cultural centers with city contracts, such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Basically, the city is asking if the amount they have to pay into the retirement system has been overstated in the bookkeeping of these places.
The withholding, which was announced by the city’s budget director Mark Page at a City Council Finance Committee meeting last week, is a response to a review indicating a possible inflation of the amount of workers covered under the system, which also includes day care centers with city contracts. According to the Times, Page said, “There is a bunch of money that we have paid for over the years that has been, I guess, nice for those enterprises but not very nice for our taxpayers and what we have actually gotten for our money.” Now the city is going to clear up the “anomalies” before it pays its around $17 million share, as spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua at the mayor’s office told the Times.
Since 1962, the city has contributed into this system for the small portion of cultural institution staff whose salaries are paid for by the city, such as security. However, a trustee of the system and executive director of the day care workers’ union, Raglan George Jr., blames the city in overlooking the letting go of some 1,200 day care workers last year.
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