One of numerous ways taxpayers are being ripped off by public employees is through phony "retirement" schemes that enable the employee to collect a fat pension in addition to continuing to work and receive salary and benefits. The "retirement" pay becomes, in effect, a huge pay increase, one usually linked to inflation. This "double-dipping" is not uncommon when taxpayers are on the hook, but exceedingly rare in the private sector. Quite clearly, the politicians who sign such contracts are, in collusion with the employees (and their unions), playing the taxpayers for suckers.
The newest poster boy for the outrageous (but contractually legal) practice is Phoenix School Superintendant Carlos Bejarano. Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic reports:
Phoenix's Isaac School District, which plans to shutter schools and lay off employees because of money problems, will let Superintendent Carlos Bejarano retire June 30 and return to his same job - with the same compensation and perks - the next day.
Bejarano, 58, will retain his $130,000 annual salary, an $8,400 car allowance, an $8,000 annual tax-deferred annuity, and a $3,000 community-affairs allowance to use at his discretion. The district also will give him $11,238 so he can buy health-insurance coverage, according to district officials.
Bejarano will receive an annual pension estimated at $104,650 after retiring with 35 years of service, records reviewed by The Arizona Republic show, bringing his total annual compensation to roughly $265,000.
Bejano is far from alone in Phoenix:
The practice of double-dipping is common in Maricopa County. It involves hundreds of administrators and teachers who use a legal loophole to collect a full pension from the Arizona State Retirement System plus a paycheck.
The real scandal of government employees is not the Bell, California situation, where top management illegally padded their salaries and are being prosecuted. The scandal is the legal and commonplace double dipping by which government workers quietly pad their incomes.