Taxpayers are funding a large number of former workers in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties who earn six-figure salaries in their retirement.

While pensions used to be commonplace in America, most private companies have done away with the perk. Today, pensions are generally only offered to specific groups of workers represented by unions such as plumbers, construction workers and nurses.

Government employees make up the majority of pension recipients. Police officers, firemen, district attorneys, teachers and other municipal workers continue to receive a salary long after they've left their positions. Because pensions are based on the salary earned in your final years of employment, many government workers figure out ways to earn overtime and extra hours to bulk up their earnings in retirement.

Who Earns the Highest Pensions in the Hudson Valley?

The Post-Standard has obtained a database from the New York State Comptroller's office that lists every pension recipient in the state and how much they earn. Over 288,000 New Yorkers are receiving pensions of $20,000 a year or more. Some Hudson Valley residents, however, are earning much more than that. Even with huge retirement benefits from taxpayers, many of the highest pension earners continue to work in high-paying positions in the private sector.

Google Maps
Google Maps

The top Hudson Valley pension earner is Dr. Gowramma Shivashankar. After receiving her medical degree at the University of Mysore in India, Dr. Shivashankar completed a residency at the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in Middletown. In her retirement, the doctor is collecting $201,294 annually. However, she still pulls in a salary practicing psychiatry through Garnet Health.

Two other retired psychiatrists who top the list also worked at the Middletown facility. Venkataraman Radhakrishnan is the second-highest pension earner in the Hudson Valley, earning $182,364. Intezar H. Shah is fourth on the list, with an annual $147,384 pension. According to online listings, both continue to practice psychiatry.

Third on the list is George C. Sinnot. Named Executive Director of the New York State Bridge Authority by Governor Pataki in 2004, Sinnot retired in 2010. The former state employee has been collecting an annual pension of $150,711 ever since.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Other local pension recipients include Kenneth Glatt, who served as the Dutchess County Commissioner of Mental Hygiene for 35 years before retiring in 2015. While still practicing psychiatry, Glatt pulls in an annual pension of $142,604.

Mental health professionals dominate much of the top 15 pension earners in the Hudson Valley, but many former employees from other local government agencies also earn well over $100,000 in their retirement.

Former Warwick police chief Thomas McGovern has a pension of $138,865; District Attorneys Bridget Rahilly Steller and William Grady earn $136,810 and $131,726, respectively and former Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources at the Newburgh Enlarged School District, Mary Ellen Leimer, earns $123,897.

Google Maps
Google Maps

The top 15 pension earners in Orange, Ulster and Dutchess Counties are ranked below.

  • Gowramma Shivashankar Mid-Hudson Psych Center $201,294.00
  • Venkataraman Radhakrishnan Mid-Hudson Psych Center $182,364.36
  • George C. Sinnott NYS Bridge Authority $150,711.96
  • Intezar H. Shah Mid-Hudson Psych Center $147,384.36
  • Kenneth Glatt Dutchess County $142,604.04
  • Julita R. Andrew Ulster County $141,583.56
  • Thomas F. McGovern Town of Warwick $138,865.44
  • Robert B. Henry Mid-Hudson Psych Center $137,154.36
  • Bridget R. Rahilly Steller Dutchess County $136,810.44
  • William V. Grady Dutchess County $131,726.16
  • Howard P. Gottlieb Ulster County $130,194.60
  • Vishnu Vitthal Limaye Green Haven Correctional Facility $124,173.72
  • Mary Ellen Leimer Newburgh City School District $123,897.00
  • Andrew Scrobe Green Haven Correctional Facility $122,430.12
  • Barry L. Marlow Mid-Hudson Psych Center $122,254.08

Study Names the 12 Best Towns to Retire to in New York State

If you want to spend your post-working days in the Empire State, a study has tabbed these 12 New York towns as the best to retire to.

Gallery Credit: Dan Bahl

HGTV's 20 Best Small Towns To Retire

Looking for the best small town to retire? HGTV compiled a list of the best small towns to retire across the country and a small Idaho town made the list.

Gallery Credit: Kyle Matthews