City Comptroller Brad Lander asked a city pension board to fire its executive director and demote a deputy accused of lying to get a big raise, but the administrators overcame the push.
Lander, who sits on the Board of Education Retirement System, introduced a resolution last week to fire Sanford Rich and demote Daniel Miller, who falsely claimed he had received a job offer in Ohio and asked BERS to match the alleged salary of $255,000. Miller also lied to investigators about getting the offer, according to a report.
Rich gave Miller a $28,549 raise without verifying the non-existent job offer — and without consulting the board. Rich then used Miller’s raise to argue for a bigger salary for himself.
“If a member of the BERS leadership is lying to the Investigation Department, how can we trust anything he says to directors, members or the public?” Lander said in a statement to the Post.
“If the executive director refuses to hold his deputy responsible for obtaining personal enrichment through false statements, how can we trust either of their leaders?”
In a closed-door vote on Tuesday, the resolution failed. Only three directors voted for: Alison Hirsh, the comptroller’s representative; Seritta Scott, representing Schools Chancellor David Banks; and Kyle Kimball, a Con-Ed executive and recently named by the mayor to the Panel for Educational Policy, whose 15 members all serve on BERS.
“I lost my faith” in Rich and Miller, Kimball said earlier in open court.
Six members voted against the resolution: two union representatives: Donald Nesbit of DC 37 and John Maderich of Local 891; and PEP members Tazin Azad, Marjorie Dienstag, Sheree Gibson and Thomas Sheppard. Seven other PEP members abstained.
However, the problem is not dead. The BERS held a special meeting on Oct. 25 solely “to continue deliberations on discipline” of Rich and Miller, a spokesperson said.
Miller, 41, now earns $262,650 a year. Rich, 64, pockets $235,599.
BERS is the smallest of the city’s five retirement systems, with more than 60,000 active and retired DOE employees, excluding teachers and other backgrounds.