At least 20 states offer public pensions to non-government employees, a recent review by the Associated Press found, and North Carolina is among them.
As The News & Observer reported in 2011, the N.C. League of Municipalities, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians police officers are among those that get government pensions under special provisions approved by state lawmakers.
From the 2011 story: "The N.C. League of Municipalities takes in hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars annually from its member towns, villages and cities, which pay dues ranging from $750 for the tiny town of Spencer Mountain to $55,230 for the city of Raleigh. Its staff of more than 90 employees is eligible for public pensions, and as of this year at least a dozen retirees were collecting them.
"But if you make a request to see the salaries the league pays, Executive Director Ellis Hankins will tell you that's none of the public's business.
"'Our position, our opinion, is that this organization, which is not a governmental agency, is not subject to the public records statute," Hankins said.
"The league serves as the lobbying arm for municipalities and operates three self-insurance pools for them. It is not the only organization that shields its financial operations while staff members benefit from one of the best perks of public employment. The N.C. Association of County Commissioners receives the same treatment, as do police officers with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians."