Sayward, Duprey defend collecting pension

"We were dairy farmers," Sayward said. "All he has is social security and the little bit we were able to put aside."

Sayward says taxpayers may not realize how much personal money she puts into her job as a legislator.

Noting that she covers a large geographical district, Sayward says most of her gas money comes from her own pocket. She also maintains a residence in Glens Falls so she doesn't have to drive home to the North Country in between legislative sessions.

"It simply was a decision I made to protect my husband," she said. "And I think families make decisions like that as you start looking at how you're going to maintain for the rest of your lives when in fact I do decide that I want to get out of the business and have a few years left."

Assemblywoman Duprey notes that she could have retired from her post as a county treasurer 10 years ago.

Duprey says there's a four percent penalty on pension for every year a lawmaker serves over the age of 60. She too says she filed for the retirement loophole in the best interest of her family.

"Already, my pension is reduced 20 percent, and I looked at that and thought that's just not much money," she said. "By retiring - and I took a reduced retirement rate - he will receive a monthly income if I die first. I've been married 40 years and elected 35 years of them, my husband deserves something. He's worked very hard, he worked for the state for 22 years, his state retirement is less than $20,000 a year."

Sayward notes that accepting a pension and still working isn't uncommon.

"How many New York State Troopers retire and go back and work as a sheriff?" she asked. "When a trooper retires and goes back to work, their pension can still increase. Our pensions stop, the state ends its liability. We had a supervisor here in my hometown who was supervisor here before and he worked at the county, he retired and went back to work. It happens all the time."

She says whether it is right or wrong, the voters will let her know in two years.

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