Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Senate panel rejects end to public pensioners' double dipping

TALLAHASSEE — Unless something extraordinary were to happen, the effort to stop public employees from double dipping is dead in this year's Legislature.

A bill to stop public employees from collecting a paycheck and a pension from the same agency was voted down Thursday evening.

The Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee voted 5-3 against. Because the committee is not scheduled to meet again before the legislative session ends, the bill is likely dead. To revive it would take unusual intervention from Senate President Jeff Atwater, who has supported the bill.

"Sadly my colleagues killed a bill that would stop abuse within the Florida Retirement System,'' said Sen. Mike Fasano, R-Port Richey, after he watched his bill go down in flames.

"Thousands of people will be losing their jobs in the next few months — schoolteachers, corrections officers, school bus drivers. It's shameful that we will be keeping the double dippers while others lose their jobs.''

Fasano's bill was an attempt to close a loophole created in 2001, when lawmakers amended the state retirement law to allow public officials to retire and return to work in 30 days, collecting both a pension and a salary. That amendment was offered because former Rep. Stan Jordan, R-Jacksonville, wanted to collect a school board pension while also collecting his legislative salary.

It has blossomed to where some 225 elected officials and 9,000 state employees now are double dippers.

Members of the Senate committee were hostile to the bill from the minute Fasano stood, questioning what it would do to rank and file employees who want to return to work.

Fasano's bill initially banned any retiree from returning to a job within the state retirement system. But he offered amendments Thursday that would have allowed a return to work after 12 months off, and allow teachers and other school personnel to immediately begin working part time.

The restrictions would apply only to public employees who retire after Jan. 1, 2010.

A 12-month waiting period would mean that an elected official would have to stand for re-election — the job could not remain vacant for a year — which would stop those, often judges, who win re-election and quietly go away for 30 days and come back. The idea of Fasano's amendments was to protect rank and file workers but stop the abuses at the top.

Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, supported the bill, saying he thought the amendments would take care of "the little people who aren't in those big salaried positions,'' but others on the committee disagreed.

Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, vehemently opposed the bill, saying it would discriminate against some employees.

The committee considered reducing the 12-month hiatus to six months, but members could not craft an amendment before it was time to vote.

Voting against were Sens. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole; Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne; Gary Siplin, D-Orlando; Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, and Lawson. Jones and Haridopolos are double dippers, drawing paychecks from colleges and the Legislature.

Voting in favor were Dean, a double dipper who draws a state pension from his days as Citrus County sheriff as well as a legislative salary, and Sens. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, and Victor Crist, R-Tampa.

Haridopolos, the chairman of the committee, moved to reconsider the bill, which leaves it pending. But with no more scheduled meetings of the committee before the session ends May 1, it is unlikely to be revived.

Lucy Morgan can be reached at lmorgan@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Senate panel rejects end to public pensioners' double dipping 04/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 16, 2009 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies: Tampa man killed after car strikes tree

    Accidents

    TOWN 'N COUNTRY — A 24-year-old man was killed early Sunday after he lost control of his car, causing it to hit a pine tree.

  2. O.J. Simpson had a 'conflict-free life'? Not really, not in Florida

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — When O.J. Simpson told a Nevada parole board last week that he's led a "conflict-free life," he seemed to overlook a few episodes that had him cycling in and out of courtrooms and jail cells for nearly 20 years before the Las Vegas hotel-room heist that sent him to prison in 2008.

    Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.  Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.  [The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP]
  3. Baby Charlie protesters to rally as hospital reports threats

    World

    LONDON — Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment are planning a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats.

    Reverend Patrick Mahoney from Washington DC, centre, speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, as he joins other Charlie Gard supporters, Sunday July 23, 2017. Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment gathered for a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats. [Associated Press]