As colleges cut, some double-dip | April 6, story
Double-dipping may be deserved
While I agree that simultaneously collecting retirement benefits and a salary from the same institution seems unfair or unethical, it is important to consider the dedication and sacrifice these individuals have made over their careers to be in such a position in the first place.
Lucy Morgan's story points out that some of the highest paid "double-dippers" come from the state's medical schools, including a former and current dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine. As a graduating medical student, I would like to offer a different perspective on this seemingly greedy trend.
In medicine — as in nearly any other field — experience is highly valued, and therefore, highly compensated. Physicians like Robert Nuss, Kenneth Berns and many others have given entire careers of service, expertise and credibility to state universities. In return, they have been compensated at levels far below that of their colleagues in private practice. Academic physicians trade high incomes for additional commitments in research, education and leadership. Perhaps, in the twilight of their careers, an additional bonus is not unwarranted as repayment for their years of dedication to the greater good.
Brendan Prendergast, Gainesville
I am neither retired nor "double-dipping," however in my opinion you are sensationalizing with these headlines.
If I work someplace long enough to qualify for a pension according to that employer's rules, and then I survive long enough to retire and make use of that benefit, how am I double-dipping when my former employer hires me back? Isn't my pension a benefit for the years I put in prior, and the paycheck is for current work?
Maybe the real story is in how and why these employers manage (mismanage?) themselves into a position where they need to rehire retirees to stay afloat.
Joan Kilpatrick, St. Petersburg
a simple solution
A simple and long-tested method of keeping and properly rewarding long-term employees has been used by the military for decades.
During Vietnam, for example, many "retirees" volunteered to return to active duty. Their retirement pay was suspended while they received active-duty paychecks, and after retiring "again" they received higher pension checks based on total number of years served and highest rank attained.
This is probably too simple for the geniuses in Tallahassee.
Robert G. McEwen, Indian Shores
Double-dippers prevail | April 4, story
Give us names
The giant, boldface, page-one headline identified the importance of the information for Florida citizens, but the content of the article was superficial to the point of exasperation.
As reported, the Florida Senate had a lengthy, heated debate on a measure to recoup $300-million a year, much-needed money for worthwhile programs facing extinction.
The most important aspect not explained was who of our elected officials was responsible for insisting on an oral vote and rejecting any recording of how the senators voted on this important measure.
These individuals were totally aware of their participation in an immoral, if not illegal act, and felt guilty enough to repress any identification of their involvement.
What should have been published were the names of the senators responsible, so as concerned citizens we might have the opportunity to penetrate their sanctuary and question their motives.
Ronald C. Bennett, Belleair
Horror in the military: rape | April 3
Women deserve better
I read with "horror" this article by Rep. Jane Harman. I think it is disgusting that this is occurring, not only at the service academies but on the front lines.
What is the matter with the Defense Department and the military services where this is occurring? Why isn't stiffer punishment meted out to those committing this crime, and why do our women who want to serve our country have to put up with this?
It's a shame that Congress is not taking action on this sexual harassment. They can hold hearings on all sorts of other things, but not on something that happens to our service women! It just goes to show how prejudiced they are.
Doris Houdesheldt, St. Petersburg
Locking up addicts too expensive, ineffective | April 4, and Walgreens limits painkiller | April 5
Prohibition doesn't work. When you start controlling the access to drugs, some will be so desperate that they will even become criminals to satisfy their need.
Taking drugs is a choice, until someone becomes addicted. Then, without treatment, drugs become a need. We need to redirect our resources from courts and prisons to the humane and practical treatment of those who have become unfortunate victims of their own mistakes.
Did we learn nothing from alcohol Prohibition?
Grace Payton, Sun City Center
Raise the tax on cigarettes | April 5, letter
I'm glad the letter writer is so astute about the medical costs related to smoking and secondhand smoke. But why single out just one item?
Increasing liquor taxes would also be a win-win situation. It would surely help defray the costs associated with cirrhosis, accidents, maiming and death from drunken drivers.
Higher cell phone taxes might give cell phone users second thoughts about texting and calling while driving, thus reducing accidents and many uncalled for medical costs. Then consider the pollution from vehicles, planes, factories, nuclear waste, etc., and tax accordingly.
Everything in our lives contributes to medical health costs, not just one single thing. Or maybe we should just learn to live and let live!
Sharon Musbek, Seminole
Raise the tax on cigarettes | April 5, letter
Let polluters pay
You think cigarette smokers are the big polluters? Have you looked around? Everywhere I go, I am surrounded by huge SUVs, Hummers, diesel pickup trucks, all the gas-guzzling vehicles. They are putting huge emissions into the environment. It is these vehicles that are contributing to our poor health environment. Tax them. If these people want to own a "prestigious vehicle" or a "macho truck," let them pay the additional tax.
Anyone who buys a gas burner should be paying a high tax in every state of this Union.
Susan Smith, Crystal Beach