Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Senator's Absence Let Retirement Overhaul Go Through

Ogden's part time police chief and part time state senator and full time retiree insists he was not dodging the vote

By Curmudgeon

Well, well, well... now it seems Ogden's part-time police chief [when the legislature is in session] is also a part time legislator. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Sen. Greiner [R-Ogden] missed key votes in a Senate Committee recently that permitted bills to drastically alter the state's public employee retirement system to pass by a 3-2 vote:
Utah senator's absence let retirement overhaul go through
Had Greiner been present and voted "nay" on two of the bills he is known to oppose, they'd have died in committee.

Why did Chief Greiner miss the votes? He missed one because he was instead attending a luncheon thrown by Utah Realtors. Here's the story's lede:
State Sen. Jon Greiner, the Ogden police chief who draws a public-employee pension, was notably absent from a pair of long and contentious hearings last week on historic changes to the state's retirement system.
Greiner said Monday he was unable to attend the meetings due to "previous commitments," including a Friday luncheon sponsored by Utah Realtors.
He missed the other vote because, he said, he was attending a meeting with constituents to discuss "excavation and blue stakes that mark underground lines." Ogden's part time police chief and part time state senator and full time retiree insists he was not dodging the vote. Uh huh. Right.

The committee's other five members were scheduled to attend the Realtor's lunch too... but they skipped it to show up at the committee meeting. Or to put that a little differently, they decided to do the jobs the taxpayers are paying them, as legislators, to do. Chief Greiner opted instead for a free meal.

And the beat goes on....

21 comments:

good ol boys said...

Greiner takes his marching orders from Mayor Godfrey. Godfrey along with the League of Cities and Towns is in favor of the sweeping changes to the retirement system.

Think how much more money Godfrey will be able to throw into his pet projects if he doesnt have to pay for employee benefits.

get er' done said...

I think it is time for greiner to retire to st george house where he will do us less damage. If we ever would need to get a hold of him from now on they just need to call 911-golf.

P.s. Why didn't any of the committee call for a call of the committee.

ozboy said...

As much as I detest Griener and practically everything he does, says or represents - It occurs to me that he at least did the right thing by skipping out on these votes. He is hopelessly conflicted on this issue and by not voting the bill passed out of committee and will at least be heard by the the whole herd of GOP yes men and women in the great Utah comedy act AKA State Legislature.

RudiZink said...

"It occurs to me that he [Greiner] at least did the right thing by skipping out on these votes. He is hopelessly conflicted on this issue..."

Exactly right, Ozboy. What a shame it is that heavily conflicted legislators can't simply recuse themselves from matters in which they admittedly have conflicts of interest under current legislative rules.

Of course one my personal legislator favorites (Curt Bramble) has a legislative cure for that even now pending, with a bill which will come before the legislature this year:

Measure would let legislators with conflict get out of a vote

In the meantime, and before this Bramble bill is hopefully passed, I'll offer my personal kudos to Sen. Greiner, who did "what was right," given his inherent and obvious conflict of interest.

Curmudgeon said...

OB and Rudi:

Guys, give me a break. Greiner is now claiming he was committed not to vote against the bills in committee. What he didn't want to do, then, was go on record as voting "yea" to pass them on to the full Senate [which he'd already committed to do], and so he went to lunch instead. That has nothing to do with bravely doing the right thing. It has everything to do with (a) avoiding one of the two jobs he's drawing pay from us to do and (b) playing frantic CYA, legislative style.

If it was Greiner's position that the bills should go forward for a full debate/vote on the floor, then the honorable, and honest thing for him to have done was attend the committee meeting, say so and vote accordingly. He didn't. He skipped the meeting and then tried to peddle to the Peanut Gallery the drivel that golly-gee-whiz-gosharooty Buffalo Bob, he'd made the lunch date long ago and just couldn't break it.

Bull.

For two generally savvy observers of Utah politicos, yours is a pretty Pollyanna approach to Jon "Out To Lunch" Greiner's taking the day off. On our nickel.

history tells all said...

By Greiner not voting on these bills, He silenced the voices that he represents in the legislature. What a dis service he did. Conflicts or not he should have been there to vote of those that elected him. In stead the lunch was much more important then that of the taxpayer.
Shame on Greiner.

bribes are legal!!!! said...

Well, Well, Where have all the self righteous republicans Gone to. Now we know, Out to LUNCH. I believe that all the republicans have gone out to lunch in this years legislative session.

just a cop said...

Rudi and all,

Senator Greiner acted cowardly and hypocritically... Good State Senators fought for the protection of Cops like Chief Greiner to have the pathetic little benefits that he now receives. (Compare Utah’s Police Retirement to the rest of the Nation)? And now Greiner wants to help reduce those of the up and coming generation of Cops is flat out disturbing. Should Governor Herbert (being a developer by trade) excuse himself on all the development bills?

Any Police Chief that has any true leadership qualities knows you have to fight for your men and women!

That conflict of interest argument is a bunch of bull krap!

AWM said...

Correct me if I'm wrong..But Greiner is grandfathered in this legislation (as its currently written)..is he not? As such, regardless of how he voted (or didn't) it's no sweat off his back. My way of thinking is it was a politically astute move. Nobody can give him heat for voting for it (for which he would have taken plenty)and the few gripes he'll get for not voting won't outweigh the negative baggage for doing so. AND he's grandfathered..no matter what he get's his money.

just a cop said...

Greiner is still a coward! His absent vote proves it!!!

just a cop said...

by the way what is worse than a coward cop?

viktor said...

JAC

A crooked coward cop!

The man has all the base's covered and he has a gun with authority to use it! Pretty dangerous character for sure. He is enough to make the hearts of all Republicans every where swell with pride as he struts his stuff before the great unwashed.

just a cop said...

Viktor,

I doubt he would have the guts to use the gun? He didn't have the guts to use the pen!!

Curmudgeon said...

AWM:
You're partly right. He's grandfathered in with respect to getting full pension payments as a retired fire chief plus his pay as the current fire chief. But the new legislation would end the state's current contribution to his personal 401K which he gets as the current Fire Chief of Ogden. So his vote on ending the double dipping pension would not affect him regardless of how he cast the vote, but his vote on the matter of state contributions to 401K accounts for the retired-but-rehired like him would affect him personally and directly. I think.

Biker Babe said...

Viktor & just a cop:

Think Gotham City in Batman Begins ...

js,
BB

Fireman Joe said...

Curm-Can't say for sure for retired police but for retired fire there is no state contribution. I belive it is only for an actual state of Utah employee, not for every local government. Fire retirees are also not eligible for social security.

Curmudgeon said...

FJ:

My understanding was that since a rehire like Greiner did not have the state make a contribution to his pension for his present job [since he's also receiving a full pension for the same job], the state contributes to his 401K. Just who is entitled to that perk as a re-hire I don't know. But that's the explanation I've read in the papers about Greiner's situation. SL Trib I think, some weeks ago.

just a cop said...

Rudi and all,
Did General George Washington not fight for a better life of his men?

You bet he did and Congress wouldn’t go for a Pension System until years later.

At least General George Washington fought the fight... Unlike Senator and Police Chief Greiner!

get back to Basics, my a$$ said...

By the way Greiner!!!!

Fireman Joe said...

Curm-The state runs the retirement system but doesn't contribute to everyone. The money that the employee or city pays into the state system instead goes into his 401.

Firefighters hired in under these changes will take a 12% pay cut when they are forced into social security.

Curmudgeon said...

FJ:

OK, FJ. You're more informed about the details of the firemen's retirement system than I am. If it's as you say, though, that means the state contributed to Greiner's retirement plan [i.e. to his 401K] before he retired and was rehired in place, and now that he's receiving his full 401K based retirement pension, the state is contributing to, essentially, a second pension for him by continuing to contribute to his 401k. At least that how it looks to me, based you what you explained.

Sort of a double double tip, que no?

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