Sunday, December 27, 2009

Salt Lake Tribune Editorial: End Double Dipping

Another Northern Utah newspaper jumps aboard the anti-double dipping bandwagon

We'd like to highlight a good strong editorial in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, in which the Trib editorial board jumps aboard the bandwagon, in condemning the peculiar Utah practice of public employee double dipping:
End double dipping
As our regular readers will of course recall, the Standard-Examiner carried its own editorial on the subject about six weeks ago.

We're delighted to find our northern Utah print media lining up to advocate the legislative abolition of this egregious and costly practice; and we'll thus be keeping our eyes peeled for a similar Deseret News editorial piece in the near future.

Meanwhile we'll reiterate a closing comment from our 11/20/09 WCF article on the subject:

Note to our "fiscally conservative" state legislature: Are you listening?

13 comments:

history tells all said...

In 2008 legislative session I know that Rep. Hansen introduced a bill that would have ended the doubling dipping then. It would have put all public employees in the same retirement system and they would have received 75% of their wages and retired a 25 years, once they were retired, they could not come back into the public system and this would have ended all the problems that the URS has today. Rep. Hansen always seems to have a lot of the answers but it falls on the deaf ears of the right wing. I would be nice to see that some of the things that Hansen put forward at least would have been considered but no they have to show who is boss and kill the bill. I haven't always been in Hansen corner but when he has a great idea it is worth looking at, don't you think.

Curmudgeon said...

Are they listening?

Surely you jest.

Isn't the notorious double dipping State Senator and Ogden Police Chief [when he can find the time] Greiner on the legislative committee that oversees state pensions?

Besides, they have much more important things to do just now, like trying to convince people the Ethics Reform Referendum is really a commie plot to let criminals know which legislators own guns and which do not. And then there's their important drive to cut education funding even more [though education "pays" more back to the state in increased revenues over time than any other single investment of public money].

And you want them to end the double dipping legislators themselves engage in?

Don't hold your breath.

Ogden Dem said...

Well I am glad Hansen's bill didn't go anywhere - 25 years is too little and 75% is too high.

Curmudgeon said...

Og Dem:

I agree. People should remember that pensions are intended to provide income during retirement at the end of a working life, not a second income during one.

A more workable formula might go something like this:

1. You get as retirement pay 2% of the average of your three highest paid years in state employ for each year you worked for the state. So if you worked 25 years, you'd get a pension of 50% of your pay. 30 years, 60% and so on.

2. After twenty years, you're vested in the system, which means entitled to your pension, but you can't collect it until you reach the age of 60 or 65. So if you worked for the state for twenty years, then quit to work at something else, when you reach the age of 60 or 65 you'd be entitled to draw a pension of 40% of the average of your three highest paid years.

3. After thirty or thirty five years in state employment, you could retire on full pension at any time [not having to wait to reach sixty or sixty five].

4. You'd also, at 60 something, be drawing Social Security as well as income from any 401K you invested in as well.

Those would still be reasonably generous pensions, but would not involve bleeding the state's pension funds.

Something along those lines would seem to me to be reasonable: fair to long time state workers, and fair to the taxpayers as well.

what will it cost us said...

Bleeding the pension system is the same as large families bleeding the school system while not paying taxes. Utah needs to decide the priorities to sustain the system for future generations.

When the pension fund is in the red as it seems to be now and the school classes are so overwhelmed with students and no teachers it will be too late to correct.

Fred said...

When the LDS fundamentalists take advantage of the government, like these double dippers are doing, they call it "bleeding the beast".

Jim Hutchins said...

Senate Budget Chair Lyle Hillyard (R-LetThemEatCake) doesn't care what you think.

A distorted view from the sidelines said...

It would appear that there is a majority of you that think it the public safety’s retirement should be extended by five years (25 year) or even more. Curm even has a very impressive retirement solution…. all thought out and everything. It is immediately apparent to me that all of the emotion that is drawn up because you want to stop that double dipping evil police chief that you probably have not thought this all the way through. Do you realize that the majority of officers, no not the chiefs but the officers who deal with the actual police work everyday, retire at 20 years and don’t ever come back to police work?

If you are wondering why that is, let me tell you:

There are police officers that work for Ogden City that through the course of their short ten year career have been involved in every kind of situation one can think of. They have fought with gang bangers, been spit on, call every sort of name, been in foot chases, vehicle pursuits, have been punched, kicked, hurt, and have had to use the firearm in the line of duty. This is just when they are on duty. Lets talk about off duty; Officers generally don’t take their family to Ogden to shop eat, for fear of seeing one of those choice individuals they had to deal with on duty while they are with their family. I know three Ogden Officers who have the threat of death on them from different gangs because they were involved in shooting with gang members on duty. How would you like to do you Christmas shopping with your family with that hanging over you? Officers have to make sure that they are physically fit enough to take a PT test once a year or lose their job, even though they sprained their ankle in the foot chase last week or threw out their back yesterday fighting with drunk transient on 25th street.

I will tell you first hand, 20 years of that seems like a life time, both to me and my family. If the retirement system keeps to its word when I hired on, over ten years ago, I will retire from every form of law enforcement at 20 years. Because Public Safety in general, and especially in Ogden, is way behind in merit increases and cost of living increases, I will not be able to retire fully. I will seek employment in another area. I long for that opportunity. I want to become that naive person once again who dose not know what evil is done on a nightly basis in the streets of Ogden. I long for the opportunity to not have the pressure of losing my job because I was chasing a fleeing robber and broke my leg and I cannot pass the PT test. I so look forward to the time when tickets do not matter and I could put anything on the side of a van that I wanted to. I want to become that person who can sit securely in his east bench home and figure out other people’s retirement systems without knowing what their job is like.

There is a shortage of police officers in this state, for a reason, and there is a greater shortage of reserve officers, those who do police work for free. I would suggest that you attempt to see the whole picture before you come to so many conclusions, or step off of the sidelines and be a cop, a reserve officer or a fireman. At least then you will then speak from experience and not emotional assumption.

It seems to me that most of Ogden’s Public Safety Officers have stood with most of you, side by side, in fights with the Godfrey administration. Your pressure to change the retirement system will undoubtedly affect those two or three individuals in the city administration that you obviously dislike, but not just them alone. It will also affect every public safety officer in this city.

Jim Hutchins said...

Distorted:

First of all, thank you for your service.

You make some excellent points, but I disagree with you when you say a

majority of you that think it the public safety’s retirement should be extended by five years (25 year) or even more

because that's not what I think, and I don't think it fairly represents the sentiments I see here.

All we are asking for is an end to "double-dipping". I think there is general agreement on that point everywhere but in the State Legislature.

Curm's proposal is quite similar to the system I retired under. I have 16 years of service, and will not start collecting until I am 60. The rules are explicit: If I want to collect money from the State of M*, I cannot work for them any longer. If I want to work for the State of M*, then I can't collect retirement from them. Plain and simple.

I, for one, would support giving credit for service simply by signing up as a public safety officer (say, 1.5x the number of years, or even 2x), recognizing the hazards of the position as you say.

However, my Senator has already demonstrated that he doesn't think much of me or my ideas, so I don't think my proposal would get very far.

AWM said...

I'm with Jim on this. There's a difference in what members of certain professions are subjected to on the streets vs. what an office slacker like myself goes through in the course of our workday and their retirement system should reflect this. I would also vote for hazardous duty pay for officers on patrol vs. those in a full time office environment.

Fireman said...

My work week is 48 hours, if I need to put in more years is my schedule going to be adjusted to a 40 hour week?

I paid into social security before I started this job and will have to pay into it when I retire and move into something else but because I have my fire retirement I am ineligible for social security, think the feds are going to care about utah's problems?

I like our Public Safety Employees! said...

Try living on a Cops wages for 20 years? You got to be kidding me if you think their overpaid!!!!

getitdone said...

First of all, I think that there needs to be a major reform in the public employee's system. We all know how poorly the teachers are paid, and yet when they retire and continue teaching(in another district)trying to make some extra money, people throw big fits about it. Here is an idea, pay them what they deserve in the first place and we wont have this problem. The same goes for all other public employees.

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