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The freshman! Vito Lopez retires — and returns! • Brooklyn Paper

The freshman! Vito Lopez retires — and returns!

In order to begin collecting his pension while still in office, Assemblyman Vito Lopez must officially "retire" on Dec. 31 and then get sworn in to a new term on Jan. 1. Our production team tried to imagine what Lopez would look like during his brief retirement.

Assemblyman Vito Lopez retires on Dec. 31 after 13 newsmaking years as “the” power broker of North Brooklyn.

Don’t worry, Brooklyn — Lopez will be back on the job on Jan. 1.

Don’t understand his eye-blink retirement? You would if you were an accountant — or a fellow senior citizen lawmaker.

Thanks to Albany rules — written by Albany hacks, remember — old legislators can “retire” for one day at the end of a given term and then be sworn in the next day to their new two-year stint. The one-day retirement allows said lawmakers to collect their retirement pensions — in Lopez’s case, that’s $88,000 on top of his $92,000 salary.

Many people call that “double-dipping.” We won’t go there, but there is one term that we will start using in 2011 — “freshman,” as in “Freshman Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Bushwick) is pushing a bill that would …”

So for now, we created this handy photo spread of how Lopez might have looked — for one day, at least. Enjoy.

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