It pays to be a legislative leader --- even when you're gone. Or out of prison.
Former leaders head the list of those receiving pensions under North Carolina's Legislative Retirement System.
At the top of the list: former Democratic House Speaker Jim Black of Matthews, who served time in prison for corruption. He gets $3,607 a month, according to the state Treasurer's office.
His predecessor, Republican Harold Brubaker of Asheboro, gets $3,444 a month to supplement his income as a lobbyist representing more than a dozen clients including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and GlaxoSmithKline.
Among 260 former lawmakers getting pensions, former Democratic speakers Joe Hackney and Joe Mavretic are also in the Top 10. So is former Senate Democratic leader Marc Basnight.
At least three North Carolina congressmen, all Republicans, are getting legislative pensions. U.S. Reps. Virginia Foxx ($686/month); Robert Pittenger ($324) and Walter Jones Jr. ($276.)
Not all pensions are as generous. Former Gov. Jim Holshouser and Irwin Belk of Charlotte, an heir to the department store fortune, served in the General Assembly. Each gets $100 a month.
Here are the top 20 recipients of legislative pensions:
JAMES B BLACK $3,607.30
HAROLD J BRUBAKER $3,444.19
JOE HACKNEY $2,828.02
HENSON P BARNES $2,476.36
MARC BASNIGHT $2,364.42
MARIE W COLTON $2,281.60
JOSEPHUS L MAVRETIC $2,221.75
STEPHEN W WOOD $2,047.10
ROBERT C SOLES JR $2,005.55
CHARLIE S DANNELLY SR $1,951.27
JOHN J HUNT $1,924.89
BETSY L COCHRANE $1,847.82
DONALD R KINCAID $1,829.70
JOHN R GAMBLE JR $1,615.75
FRANK W BALLANCE $1,557.71
AARON E FUSSELL $1,484.02
DAN R SIMPSON $1,483.64
CHARLES F BUCHANAN $1,474.00
AARON W PLYLER $1,474.00
--Jim Morrill, Observer staff writer