Double dipping 01-21-2011

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Letter to the editor by Jerry Segovis

I have read in several newspaper opinion letters where the writers are surprised and disgusted that a retired state employee receiving his full retirement pay can be brought back to work for the state and will continue to receive his retirement benefits along with his new salary. Some people call this double dipping. Those of us who have lived in Florida for many years realize that many of those that are employed (I use the word employed rather than work) by the State of Florida may retire and collect full benefits and then return to work and receive their new full salary. In some cases these employees can receive large bonuses of hundreds of thousands of dollars for doing us this large favor.

Did our new cost cutting governor know of this program when he appointed Kurt Browning, a retired Florida State employee, to work for him and that he would be receiving both his full retirement and his new salary. For those that are unaware, this State Employee Benefit became law  in 2001 on the last day that our state representatives were in session. Some of you may not be surprised that our representatives would give benefits to themselves while the rest of us were doing without.

If Governor Scott is truly concerned about our state budget he should investigate and eliminate this outrageous gift to these budget busting state employees. My suggestion would be to allow these state employees to return to work and receive their new salaries but to forgo their retirement benefits until they actually retire. This may not be all bad for these double dippers because of a possible increase in retirement benefits with an increase in years of service with the state.

As of 2008 there were 8,000 state employees taking part in this program of receiving their full pay along with their retirement benefits that cost the State of Florida an additional three hundred million dollars per year.

Jerry Segovis