Government & Politics

Landrieu, Bagneris would earn state pensions while serving as mayor

Due to their prior public service, either of the two candidates most likely to win the New Orleans mayoral election will draw a lucrative state pension in addition to the mayor’s $150,000 annual salary.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu already receives a lifetime state pension; Michael Bagneris, his best-funded challenger in the Feb. 1 primary, has applied to receive his, state records show.

Landrieu has received a state pension of about $80,705 a year since he stepped down as lieutenant governor in May 2010 to become mayor, said R. Stephen Stark, deputy counsel of the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System, in an email.

Bagneris has applied to get his as well, Stark said. Bagneris’ maximum annual pension would be about $94,000, according to the state’s formula. He earned about $140,000 as a Civil District Court judge when he retired in December after 20 years on the job.

Landrieu started collecting his pension immediately after leaving his state job because he had served at least 20 years. The same rule applies to Bagneris.

The third mayoral candidate, Danatus King Sr., has not held a government job that would qualify him for a state pension.

Landrieu served in the state House, a part-time job, from 1988 until 2004 when he began the first of two terms as lieutenant governor. He left that position halfway through his second term to become mayor. In all, he served 22.3 years in state jobs, according to state records.

Landrieu campaign spokesman Ryan Berni confirmed the mayor’s pension and said he has noted it on his personal financial disclosures each year.

That disclosure does not specify the exact amount. The form asks officials to check a box describing a broad range of income. Landrieu checked the box for $25,000 to $100,000.

As The Lens reported in July, Landrieu also owns a one-ninth interest in two downtown parking lots with his eight other siblings. City property records show the two parking lots are worth more than $1 million.

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About Tyler Bridges

Tyler Bridges covers Louisiana politics and public policy for The Lens. He returned to New Orleans in 2012 after spending the previous year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where he studied digital journalism. Prior to that, he spent 13 years as a reporter for the Miami Herald, where he was twice a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning teams while covering state government, the city of Miami and national politics. He also was a foreign correspondent based in South America. Before the Herald, he covered politics for seven years at The Times-Picayune. He is the author of The Rise of David Duke (1994) and Bad Bet on the Bayou: The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana and the Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards (2001). He can be reached at (504) 810-6222.

  • jeffsadow

    Tyler, you might want to point out, before people’s blood pressure goes too high as a result of reading this, that the provision that allowed Landrieu to use his state representative time as years to qualify for the pension was rescinded years ago. There is still a handful of legislators (Alario at 40+ years the most notorious example) active who are grandfathered in, but now (since 1996) if you are elected to the Legislature that does not count any more towards receiving a state pension.