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Long IslandColumnistsRick Brand

Records: Former union head breaks earnings limit

Vito Dagnello, the retired head of Suffolk's correction

Vito Dagnello, the retired head of Suffolk's correction officers union, in Riverhead in 2006.   Photo Credit: Newsday

Vito Dagnello, the retired head of Suffolk’s correction officers union, is working two local government jobs that together put him over the $30,000 he is allowed to collect under state law while taking a state pension, records show.

Dagnello, 57, of Nesconset, made more than $39,500 last year working as a $24,660-a-year aide to Legis. Leslie Kennedy and about $15,000 working as a security guard for the Smithtown School District, according to county Civil Service records.

Under state law, those under age 65 who are receiving a state pension are limited to earning $30,000 annually from a state or local government agency unless they get a waiver from the state Civil Service commission.

Tania Lopez, a state comptroller’s spokeswoman, said their office is “currently reviewing” Dagnello’s post-retirement earnings to determine if they exceed limits. If a retiree receives more than the limit, his or her pension will be suspended for the rest of the calendar year, Lopez said.

Dagnello said he was unaware of any problem since he does not pay into the retirement system in the school job.

He said that if the state says he is making too much, he will leave the school job.

Dagnello, who retired Jan. 31, 2015, receives a state pension of $84,834 a year, according to Empire Center for Public Policy, a nonprofit think tank.

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