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New Port Richey City Manager Tom O'Neill's plan for double-dipping is taxpayer abuse

Double-dipping is taxpayer abuse

Thousands of companies all over the country, including the St. Petersburg Times, are offering longtime employees early retirement options with generous severance cash incentives and other various enhanced pension opportunities. The intent is to downsize the staff or rehire at less pay to put the company in a better financial and competitive position. The very survival of the company will often depend on it.

Imagine thousands of those workers saying, "Yes, I'll take the up-front severance cash and the better pension deal but I also want to keep my job and continue to make the same money." Any company would laugh at the absurdity of the idea, understanding that allowing workers to do so would totally defeat the whole reason for offering the extra money in the first place.

And yet that is exactly what New Port Richey City Manager Tom O'Neill and the other 10,000 state retirees who signed Deferred Retirement Option Program contracts are doing. The DROP program was intended to encourage the retirement of state workers to allow younger workers the opportunity to move up into more responsible and higher-paying positions and save the taxpayers money. It has failed miserably to achieve that goal.

Mayor Scott McPherson suggests that this scenario is different. It is not. The silly exercise of retiring for 30 days is somehow justification for reneging on a moral and contractual commitment to retire.

The state government is already making overtures that it may need a bailout of taxpayer money to cover the losses in the retirement system funding. It is any wonder? This double-dipping abuse need to stop. Now.

Dave Loeffert, Dunedin

What about other phantom official?

This may be after the fact since Democrat Cathi Martin resigned her School Board seat last week, but I was just wondering where the Pasco trio of Sen. Mike Fasano, Rep. John Legg and Rep. Will Weatherford were when Republican Jed Pittman was absent from his job for so many years and making substantially more money?

I don't remember a peep from them. Smells of opportunistic partisan politics to me.

Max Tucker, Holiday

Strong-arm robbery is grid standout's latest charge March 13, article

If he looks like a thug, assume he is

This story is not an extraordinary revelation to those who may care to open their eyes in order to see what is transpiring in this community. There was a time when it was unthinkable that gang activity would gain a foothold hereabouts. Unfortunately, that time has now passed.

One might hear the argument that it is constitutionally incorrect for law enforcement to draw conclusions that something is amiss based on the appearances and demeanor of people. Nevertheless, when a scowling, strutting and hostile group is exuding the characteristics of a band of thugs and bullies, it's best for the ordinary citizen in this politically correct environment to avoid, steer clear of, and isolate those people to the extent possible irrespective of the howls and accusations of bigotry that are likely to emanate from organizations like the ACLU.

Somehow, over the course of time, the people who play by the rules have been compelled to withdraw into secure enclaves in order to protect their families and themselves from those who do not do so. It is a strange paradox that the streets are open to the thugs and gangs, but nevertheless constitute a dangerous place for the people whose intellectual and physical labors provide the wealth and taxes which fund the public infrastructure.

Although it is not considered politically correct to discuss these matters openly and candidly, the fact of the matter is that people who live by the rules are discussing this threat, sotto voce, among themselves and they are not happy with what they see and observe. There is a very strong groundswell of public opinion that the politicians, especially the federalists in Washington, are only interested in following a path that will assure their political fortunes rather than protecting the integrity and security of the people who are the backbone of this country; who don't engage in crude and crass public demonstrations; who don't get in the face of others by hurling ad hominem attacks of racism and bigotry; who don't deal in drugs; who don't go around intimidating and threatening others; who don't languish in the ways of vagrancy; who don't game the system by figuring out how to exploit the welfare programs; and who don't rob and mug people in the manner outlined in your article which has resulted in the arrest of this grid standout, as you epitomize him so eloquently in your article.

Jack B. McPherson, New Port Richey

New Port Richey City Manager Tom O'Neill's plan for double-dipping is taxpayer abuse 03/16/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 16, 2009 6:23pm]
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