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Commentary: Double-dipping retirees

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 1, 2010

Thousands of state and local government retirees have gone back to work part time for their old employers, picking up a pay check and a pension at the same time. The state, city and county employers save money because they don't have to pay them retirement and health benefits on top of salaries. Retired annuitants, as these workers are called, cost government employers a third to a half what regular workers would cost.

But as Sacramento Bee Reporter Robert Lewis discovered, some of these part-time retirees file for unemployment when they get laid off. That means they pick up unemployment checks along with their often very generous pensions. That's too much.

Unemployment is supposed to be part of a safety net for people who have no other source of income, not for government workers already collecting full pensions.

Sacramento County recently paid out $300 thousand dollars in unemployment to 53 retired sheriff deputies who were laid off from their part-time gigs - enough money to fund two full-time deputies for a year.

Unemployment for already well paid government retirees is not prohibited, but it should be. It just feels - greedy.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.

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