MOUNT VERNON — State Rep. Rex Damshroder, R-Fremont, in December introduced a bill which would suspend retirement payments to public employees who are still working in the public sector. His bill, HB 388, as introduced, also applies to elected officials, including legislators, who are in a public retirement system.
Damschroder told the News HB 388 applies to public officials equally. “We are not asking special exclusions for elected officials,” he said. “Public officials do not necessarily have to join in the public retirement system. If they don’t choose to join in the public retirement system, it doesn’t apply to them. Should I want to retire and go back to work, it is going to apply to me.”
State Senator Kris Jordan, Senate District 19, said he supports the idea of elected officials being subject to the same rule as other public employees.
“I don’t think elected officials should be held to a ‘separate standard’ than other government workers or other people who receive a paycheck from the taxpayers,” Jordan said.
“When elected officials retire and turn around and keep the same job, there’s no savings to the taxpayers,” said State Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl, 90th House District. “Why retire? If you are elected, retire and keep the same job, I think that’s wrong.”
Adam Gilson, Knox County Democratic Party chairman, was pleased to hear that elected officials would be included in the provisions of HB 388.
“I know that a number of Ohio representatives, including Rep. Ruhl, draw on their public pensions while also taking a salary for their legislative positions,” he said. “As these representatives seek to write laws to change public employee compensation, like last year’s ill-fated SB 5, they should first examine their own practices to make sure they are not engaging in the very behavior that they are seeking to stop.”
Ruhl retired from the position of Knox County Auditor before she was elected to the state legislature. “I’m drawing my retirement and my state rep salary,” she said. “Those are two different jobs. I’m OK with that because it is a different position, and the voters knew I was retired.”