The Daily Gazette
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A salary and a pension for Farley

Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, will begin collecting his state pension next year, a move he said will allow him to protect his wife.

Farley was first elected to office in 1970 in the town of Niskayuna and the state Senate in 1976. That service, in addition to military time and an accounting quirk, gives him 46 years of public service going into 2013. As a result, he can no longer add to his pension benefits and will begin collecting a salary and pension starting next year.

"I've decided to take my pension because I have to do it to protect my wife because should something happen to me in office, my wife would be precluded from collecting my pension," said the 79-year-old Farley, who will soon turn 80.

Starting in 2013 he will collect a pension of about $52,000 and a salary of about $104,500, which includes a leadership stipend. In the next legislative session, he will be the longest current serving member of the state Senate.

If Farley were to die in office, he noted that his wife wouldn't be able to collect his pension and would only be eligible for a death benefit. "A lot of people have talked about reforming this," he said.

Farley said he will not be donating his salary or pension, while he collects both, much like retiring Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Colonie, chose to do. "I feel I have earned it," he said of his pension and salary.

The senator also weighed in on the latest addition to his caucus, downstate Democratic Senator-elect Simcha Felder.

"That was no surprise," said Farley of Felder's decision to conference with the Republicans. "He's a very conservative fellow."

Farley, who was one of the veterans of the Senate coup in 2009, said this situation is different. In that instance, he and the Republicans aligned themselves with now-disgraced Senators Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate. "Felder is cut from a different cloth," Farley said.

The addition of Felder to the Republican Conference gives them at least 31 members, with a possible majority coming from an alignment with the Independent Democratic Conference or by winning the tightly contested 46th Senate District.

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