Public officials earning both Pension and Salaries is double-dipping

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016 9:37 PM / Opinion 

Double dipping is the practice of drawing two incomes from the government, usually by holding a government job and receiving a pension. 

The practice is legal under current rules  and even advocates for public official remuneration reforms agree that elected officials are entitled to the benefits they earned in their previous careers.  

Yet, it goes without saying that this costly approach to pensions and interpretation (rather than a carry-over approach to employment status) is precisely the example needed to show what is wrong with how public retirement and benefits work. 

Under a situation where Government workers can retire or be retired under circumstances that entitles them to pensions; or complete a term of office or tour of duty that entitles them to pensions ONLY to be later appointed by the same government or “elected” to hold office; thus making them eligible for salaries whilst collecting their earned entitlements/pensions. 

This cannot be the natural intendment of the authors of the civil service rules. This is nothing else but double-dipping; and deserves a policy review. 

There are however instances where such public officials go on to serve either as appointed or elected officials for pay far less than previous levels. Again, this does not invalidate the principle of double-dipping which must be the core principle under consideration. 

The key is to ensure that we must take all reasonable steps to ensure we do not lose experience and discourage people from retiring too soon; and do this without creating a double dip culture. 

The solution would be to adopt the private sector approach which “reduces retirement pay if the person goes back to work and earns more than a small amount”. 

That is assuming we are able to eliminate the rule that allows State Governors to fix pensions for themselves without regard to state fiscal responsibility and civil service terms. 

 

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