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 [email protected] 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. Equifax CEO Richard Smith steps down amid hacking scandal

    Personal Finance

    The chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will retire, effective Tuesday, according to a statement by the company.

    Richard Smith, chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will reportedly retire effective Tuesday.
[File photo: Joey Ivansco/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP]
  2. NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud and corruption

    College

    NEW YORK — Four college basketball coaches were among those facing federal charges Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said.

    These file photos show, assistant basketball coaches Tony Bland, left, Chuck Person, center, and Lamont Richardson.  The three, along with assistant coach Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, were identified in court papers and are among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP photo]
  3. Pinellas: It could cost $15 million to remove storm debris

    Blogs

    CLEARWATER--The removal and processing of debris from Hurricane Irma in unincorporated Pinellas County could cost an estimated $15 million.

    Pinellas County estimates it will take at least four weeks to remove debris from unincorporated areas.
  4. Bass Pro acquires Cabela's for $4 billion

    Retail

    Bass Pro Shops has acquired competitor Cabela's for a reported $4 billion. Bass Pro indicated it is seeking to appeal to all "outdoor enthusiasts" with the move, roping in hunting customers from Cabela's.

    Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's for $4 billion, Bass Pro announced Tuesday. | [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  5. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem

    Bucs

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]