Thursday, November 12, 2009

Audit Calls For End to Rehiring Retirees

Double dippers may cost state retirement system $900 million in coming decade
"It was evident in the cases we reviewed that retiring was, with few exceptions, simply a maneuver to begin drawing both a pension and a salary," the audit said. "Returning to work soon after retiring suggests the retirees had not genuinely intended on ending their public service careers."

Utah State Auditor
Getting retirement and salary
November 12, 2009

"The retired in place system is valuable because it allows municipalities to rehire police chiefs or sheriff for the same job at a lower rate within the pay scale." [...]
"Then you have the same person that you pay less and the same amount of service and job experience," he said."It's a good incentive for citizens and cities because it allows cities to renegotiate salary and benefits packages."

Chief Jon Greiner
Getting retirement and salary
November 12, 2009

Ogden City's Chief of Police and State Senator Jon Greiner again gets his mugshot plastered onto the front page of this morning's Standard-Examiner with this AP/SE Staff story, which reports that the the State Auditor's office has recommended a ban on the practice of "double-dipping," a unique Utah quirk, whereby some well-connected government employees are legally-entitled to "retire in place," and then go on collecting a salary in addition to state retirement benefits.

Several eye-popping facts emerge from this morning's Std-Ex story:
• The state retirement system covers state and local governments, as well as public and higher education employers.
• The audit said allowing rehired employees to collect pension benefits has cost the state more than $400 million in the past eight years and will cost nearly $900 million over the next 10.
• Utah is the only western state that allows retirees to return to work with a salary, pension and 401(k) plan. The audit recommends requiring employers to make contributions to the state retirement fund instead of personal 401(k) plans.
Both the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News are also all over this topic this morning too, with stories which do not, (unlike the one in this morning's Std-Ex,) directly focus on Ogden's police chief as the poster boy for the egregious Utah practice of allowing certain good ole boys (and gals) to spend a virtual lifetime wallowing in the public trough.

Now that the state legislature has its back pressed to the wall with the severe state tax revenue shortfalls resulting from the ongoing 2008-09 Great Recession, will our legislators act swiftly and decisively to enact the State Auditor's recommendation into Utah law?

We'll volunteer to say won't be holding our breath.

11 comments:

Monotreme said...

Do you think Chief Senator Chief Colonel Greiner will recuse himself?

Curmudgeon said...

Comment bumped to front page

freaking pigs at the trough said...

Dont forget all the Police Lieutenants at Ogde, the Fire Chief Mike Mathieu, the fire Marshal Matt Schwenk.

Only a select few loyalists can retire and suck the retirement system dry while the pee-ons continue to do and honest days work while being abused by Godfrey .

Not very fair, and they should be contributing to the retirement system if they are still working and drawing a retirement check from said system.

Curmudgeon said...

FP:

The triple dip policy --- retirement pay, full pay plus additional public contributions to further retirement pay --- is wrong no matter who fattens off it. And regardless of what party or who made the appointment. It needs to stop. Now. Especially now that the state is in a deep financial hole.

freaking pigs at the trough said...

Curm, I am just pointing out the facts that there are more than Just the Police Chief that is practicing the pillage of the retirement system.

The opportunity to rape the system is and was available to only a select few loyalists, and I agree with you that it needs to stop but it should stop six years ago.


Joe Blow regular guy was never able to do that, just those who are connected could get the special treatment.

Now those grunts (who are still working and paying into the system) will face higher contribution rates to help stabilize their retirement system, because of a number of greedy pigs who manipulated the retirement system.

Ray said...

To expect the Utah legislature to properly fix the law that allows employees to “retire in-place”, draw a pension, and a salary is na├»ve based on their recent history. Last year a bill to retroactively fix the law that allowed town incorporation to occur without town residents voting failed because of the fear of lawsuits. Ask Powderville residents if you think otherwise. I don’t see this as any different especially as Chief Senator “I’m so Special” Greiner is on the retirement committee.
To think that an employee is so talented and irreplaceable so as to allow them to remain in place after retirement is ludicrous. This scheme plugs up the potential for advancement/promotion of younger employees into management and artificially creates a pipeline shortage of future managers.
If an employee is so special and the agency wants/needs to keep them, give a raise or incentive to stay (within limits and include a specified tenure, say 2 years).
In Greiner’s case he not only double dipped, he had time to run for office and subsequently take several months a year with pay as a State Senator. Something smells in River City and it’s not the dog food factory.
The legislature takes care of its own, makes a lot of noise and ultimately doesn’t change much. The current ethics controversy will be a good example. They will huff and puff, pontificate against citizens initiative, pass their own “change” in an attempt to confuse the issue and Happy Valley will remain content. If I sound cynical, after 8 years of watching the process I am.

Curmudgeon said...

FP:

Couldn't agree more. The fat cats at the top of the pile take care of each other. As for those below them... well, you know as well as I do what flows down.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Greed drives the economy; like the poor, those who rationalize their avarice at the expense of all others will always be with us.

Bob said...

I'm not presently aware of any private corporation that allows an employee to be "rehired" and draw both a regular salary plus draw on their pension (for the very few companies that still offer a pension). Why are Utah state government retirees allowed to do this?

Oh, yeah, it's the government - they can screw the taxpayers for the extra funds. I mean, we really need their expertice, right?

Not only is Greiner able to rob from the taxpayers to the tune of $107,000 as the chief of police, he gets a draw as a state senator, plus the per diem that legislators get on days they are working, plus his pension. AND he sits on the retirement committee in the legislature. No conflict there! I wish this guy would just go away.

Privatley Employd said...

The only people who think this is a good idea are the people double dipping. This is a ripoff of the taxpayers money and has always been. Those people who are double dipping should be replaced immediatley and allow others the opportunity to advance their careers. This is unheard of in private enterprise. In private enterprise they are called consultants and are not screwing the taxpayers. Please call your senators and put an end to this practice.

Privately employed

another humble public servant said...

One thing that most people dont know, is that the only pension in the Utah State retirement system that is 100% funded by the employee, is the Firefighter system. It's called a contributory system, the firefighter pays the whole amount.

All others are funded by the employer, no contributions are made by the employee into their state pension.

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