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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate removes triple-dipper provision from retirement bill



Sen. Bill Montford proudly proclaimed that as a former school superintendent, and 40-year veteran of the Leon County school system, he is "proud to be a double dipper." As a state legislator, Montford draws a state pension check and earns a salary as a legislator. But a measure to allow him to also earn additional retirement money -- making him what some call a triple dipper -- was stripped from the Senate pension bill on Wednesday.

"I'm not ashamed to be a double dipper,'' he said. "For those in positions like myself that retired from the FRS and went back to work…They're receiving a retirement check and they’re also receiving a check from government if they’re a double dipper then I’m proud of it."

The provision would have allowed Montford and at least one other state legislator, Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, to boost their retirement benefits by allowing them to continue to draw a retirement check, earn a legislative salary and earn more in retirement benefits.

Also benefitting from the language would have been former Florida State University president T.K. Wetherell, who is also a former state representative.  Reps. Dennis Baxley, Irv Slosberg and Jeanette Nunez also could have benefitted from the measure by allowing them to re-enroll in the retirement fund after having left temporarily. None of them qualify yet for a pension.

But sponsors said they'll be back with new language to get at its true intent -- which was to eliminate a glitch in the state law that prohibited people from re-enrolling in the retirement system if they have left state government before retirement age.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 7:09pm]


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