► Cincinnati Enquirer - 12/20/01 - New law doesn't stop double dip Print E-mail

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Saturday, December 20, 2001
New law doesn’t stop double-dip
By Terry Kinney
The Associated Press
        Some public officials in Ohio continue to collect a salary and pension at the same time, despite legislation that attempted to address such double-dipping.
        A new law that took effect five months ago was widely perceived as prohibiting double-dipping. But the legislation's sponsor, Rep. Jean Schmidt, said the intent was only to make the practice more apparent to voters.
        Ms. Schmidt, a suburban Cincinnati Republican, said her legislation required elected officials who planned to retire and then “unretire” to declare their intent before the election.
        “It was so voters would know up front and could decide whether they wanted that to continue.” Ms. Schmidt said. “If the voter was content with that, so was I.”
        The legislation also does not bar public employees from retiring and returning to appointed positions.
        Confusion about the legislation may have resulted from the bill's title. It says it's an act to prohibit an elected official from receiving a Public Employees Retirement System pension while earning a salary for the same public office.
        Then it lists exceptions in a way that gives step-by-step instructions on how to collect a salary and pension in the same job.
        David Palmer, 57, a self-appointed judicial watchdog in Columbus, said he was invited to testify during hearings on the bill.
        “It was my understanding it would eliminate a judge from double-dipping. That's exactly what I was told,” Mr. Palmer said. “I thought it was a complete prohibition.”

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