Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lawmakers target double- and triple-dipping

TALLAHASSEE — A bill that would eliminate triple-dipping and place new restrictions on public employees who try to double-dip won approval Wednesday from the House Council on Governmental Efficiency and Accountability.

Acting just a week after a Senate committee killed another effort to limit double- and triple-dipping, the House bill would close several loopholes that have allowed thousands of public employees to "retire" and return to work at the same job, collecting both a salary and a pension.

Rep. Robert C. Schenck, R-Spring Hill, introduced the bill (H1405) after reading about double- and triple-dippers in stories published by the St. Petersburg Times.

Council Chairman Frank Attkisson, R-St. Cloud, supports the bill and said he hopes to get it out of the House and into the Senate before the session ends May 2.

During debate Wednesday, Schenck defended the bill against complaints from several lawmakers who wanted to exempt all elected officials from a provision that would force public employees to forfeit their pensions if they were being paid more than $100,000.

Another provision would make members of the Florida Retirement System, most state employees and more than 900 local governmental agencies ineligible for a second pension once they have begun collecting retirement benefits and return to work. Under current law, there is no limit on the number of pensions a public employee can receive.

Public employees can retire, take 30 days off and return to work at their old jobs if supervisors approve. The House bill would extend the 30-day hiatus to 12 months, making it substantially more difficult to "game the system," Schenck said.

Those voting against the bill were Reps. Carl Domino, R-Jupiter; Joe Gibbons, D-Pembroke Park; Matt Meadows, D-Fort Lauderdale; Franklin Sands, D-Weston; and Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando.

Meadows and Thompson are among the 15 legislators who collect a $31,000 salary plus pensions they earned in other jobs covered by the state retirement system. Lawmakers working to fix loopholes say the number of their fellow legislators who are personally collecting two checks has made change difficult.

Schenck's proposal would not affect any of the lawmakers because they don't collect more than $100,000 a year for their part-time lawmaking duties.

Domino, one of the wealthiest members of the Legislature, said he collects a U.S. government check for his military service. His pension would not be affected by the bill, but Domino said he is concerned that the restriction would keep some good people from seeking elective office.

Last week, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, wanted the Senate Governmental Operations Committee to approve a bill that would have limited re-employment pay to $30,000 a year once a public employee has retired and started collecting a pension.

The committee voted 4-1 against the measure. Senate President Ken Pruitt said Wednesday he was disappointed and hopes some members will have a change of heart and eliminate double- and triple-dipping.

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

Lawmakers target double- and triple-dipping 04/16/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2008 11:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  2. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  3. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  4. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico

    World

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  5. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'

    World

    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."