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October 20, 2019Cart

Business

by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

Comptroller Lembo launches OpenPension with real-time data

A new online portal, OpenPension, has been launched by state Comptroller Kevin Lembo to provide the public with real-time access to state financial information.

OpenPension will provide up-to-date compensation data for state retirees, including data about average pensions and how many retirees live in each state. Previously, online state pension data in Connecticut was updated only once annually. Lembo said that OpenPension will be updated each pay cycle and provide the most current data available.

It will also allow more comprehensive search options to dig deeper into the data, as well as the ability to export all of the raw data to aid in external analysis.

The site is part of the “OpenConnecticut” website Lembo initiated several years ago to simplify and centralize access to information about state finances. The site has been expanded and improved several times over the years to deliver state spending and revenue data, checkbook-level state payment information, spending data on quasi-public agencies, state payroll data and now pension information.

“OpenPension is an important addition to the OpenConnecticut portal that builds on my commitment to make Connecticut’s government the most open and transparent in the nation,” Lembo said. “As Connecticut faces persistent immediate and long-term financial challenges, OpenConnecticut will continue to expand and serve as a source for policy makers and the public so that we can have informed debates in finding solutions.”

According to the site, there are 39,747 retirees who reside in Connecticut and received about $1.53 billion last year. Some $184 million of the $2.02 billion total that Connecticut paid to state employees went to roughly 4,800 retirees currently residing in Florida. The average pension was $38,212 per year.

The site also provides a “top five” ranking of individuals’ pension payouts. Dr. Jack Blechner, a former professor at UConn Health Center and former chairman, department of obstetrics and gynecology, topped that list at $322,674, followed by John Veiga, chairman of management department at UConn school of business, who received $320,497.

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano, R-North Haven, expressed his approval of the new tool.

“I applaud the efforts of Comptroller Lembo to bring more transparency to state government,” Fasano said. “The public should have tools to explore and understand government spending. The new OpenPension database is a valuable resource to shine the light on state government so we can have an honest discussion about the issues and costs we face as a state.”

“OpenConnecticut will never be complete,” Lembo said. “It will always remain a work in progress as we continue to find new ways to expand access to government data.”