Elected officials rip off system

March 16th, 2011 by Ken

There are many reasons people to go work for state government.

This current crisis aside, government employment is secure, working conditions are good, the salary is more than adequate, the health benefits are great and the retirement system is excellent.

But over the years, the state retirement system has been impacted by elected officials who siphon off retirement benefits and enrich themselves to the detriment of public employees and the taxpayers.

Under the Revised Code of Washington 41.40.023, elected and appointed officials are allowed to become part of the state retirement system.  This not only applies to full time elected officials, but part time ones as well, such as school board members and city council members.

Why should we be concerned that elected officials are part of the state retirement system?  What harm does it do?

The answer is as old as human nature.  People take advantage of the system.

Take this as an example:

A state legislator will serve in the legislature for a number of years.  It’s a part time job with a part time salary.  He doesn’t really contribute much into the system but has enough years to retire.

Then, the governor appoints him to a seat on the horse racing commission, the utilities and transportation commission, the gambling commission, the liquor control board, or any number of state boards and commissions.

Now, he can make a six-figure income for three or four years and bump up his retirement.   That’s a rip off of the retirement system, and we all pay for it.

Or this example, closer to home:

A state legislator serves several years in the state legislature with a part time salary for a part time job.   The voters in her district like her so well that they elect her to the legislature many times.

But, nearing retirement, she knows she needs to boost her retirement income, so she runs for the county commission and is elected.  Now,  she is pulling down a six-figure income and after four years can retire under the state retirement system, with the enhance income from her new job.

That’s a rip off of the retirement system.

Even part time members of our city councils can be part of the retirement system.

It’s a travesty that elected and appointed officials come under the state retirement system.

The law must be revised to take elected and appointed officials out of the state retirement system.   They should have to fund their own retirements with a 401k.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

(comments are closed).