MOUNT VERNON — State Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, introduced a bill in December which, if passed, would eliminate double dipping by public employees who officially retired but continue working in the public sector.
The bill would suspend retirement benefit payments to those individuals until they finish working in government jobs.
Damschroder told the News he was not condemning any public employee who has retired and been rehired to a public position.
“Those people did great service to the state, schools and I understand that completely and they were just following the law,” he said. “This is not retroactive. This will be only in the future.”
Damschroder said he was motivated to introduce the bill because he had noticed many times a well-paid public employee would retire and then just weeks or months later would be rehired in a similar position.
“This was the practice of double dipping — this retire and rehire,” he said. “They can collect their pension plus collect a paycheck, which is really padding their retirement in the last few years. They really had no intention of retiring. They’re retiring so they can double dip. They were just following the law and there is absolutely nothing wrong with being astute and following the law; however, I think the intention of a retirement system was such that when a public worker would retire, there would be a pension there for them. Webster says to retire means to discontinue working. You want to have money there for you for security for the rest of your life. That’s what the pension system was meant for. It’s been forecast that that pension system is going to run out of money; it is unsustainable the way we are going. There are problems coming down the road, if we don’t start making corrections now, we’re not going to have a sustainable retirement system for those people in the public employee system. One of the corrections — and it is a major correction that always contains public outcry when it happens — is eliminating the retire/rehire, or the practice of double dipping.