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Saturday, September 3, 2011


Recently a Patriot mentioned to me that New Berlin WI teachers are retiring and then getting rehired by the New Berlin School District. They are allegedly retiring because of Gov. Walker’s “gutting” of their collective bargaining rights. Supposedly, they are afraid they will lose pension and health benefits under the Walker administration, and their benefits will cost them more. The Patriot suggested that this could not possibly be true and asked me to look into it. And so I did. Here’s the truth.

The practice is common, is not limited to New Berlin, is not limited to WI, and is not limited to teachers. It is happening in almost every state and involves all types of government workers and has been going on for years.

Baltimore, Maryland - 13 principals retired one day with full retirement benefits and were rehired the next day earning full wages and benefits.

Deer Park, Ohio – 4 teachers and administrators retired with full retirement benefits and were rehired to next day earning full wages and benefits.

Fort Kent, Maine – superintendant retires and gets rehired the next day citing changes to the state’s retirement system as his reason for “retiring.”

Salon, Ohio – 12 teachers retire one day, are rehired the next day, but thanks to Ohio State Teacher Retirement rules, these new “rehires” cannot start their “rehired” job until Sept. 1 or they would take a hit on their retirement benefits. When Ohio schools started the last week in August, guess how the school district had to fill those 12 classrooms? They had to hire substitute teachers for the first week of the school year. First graders, kindergarteners, special education students, science, social studies, German, Spanish, in all of these classes and more, the students did not meet their “real” teacher until after 9/1. Pardon Me?? A substitute teacher for the entire first week of school? This sounds like “it’s for the kids,” doesn’t it? Of course, this “rule” was negotiated by the Ohio Teachers’ Union in their contract.

Hartford, CN – A college chancellor retires on day 1 and is retired on day 2, boosting his income by 40%.

Seattle, WA – 2,000 public employees are collecting government wages and government pensions at the same time after retiring and rehiring.

The practice is known as double-dipping and is common practice throughout the country and in all areas of government employment despite some states prohibiting it. While the rules vary from state to state, the states that do say “no” most often do not enforce their own laws against it. The "rehirees" increase their income by anywhere from 25% - 75%, overnight, just by saying "I retire."

In Wisconsin there was a 92% increase in public employees retiring over the same period last year. The most cited reason for “early retirement” was “to avoid paying more for health and retirement benefits.” Last year 841 WI public employees, including teachers and administrators, retired and were immediately rehired – double-dipping to the max.

The intention of the laws that allow this was to help with employee and teacher shortages. But the “intention” doesn’t matter to those who work the system for personal gain. There are reports of principals and government administrators making sweetheart deals with their favorite employees. If you’re not on the A List you may not get rehired. But if you are on the A List, you get a verbal pre-arrangement before you announce your retirement.

Teacher/employee retire-rehire has become the drug of choice for public employees, and shameless cronyism is rampant. This double-dip policy is a temptation the crazy-like-a-fox crowd simply can't refuse.

And in the meantime, new graduates with teaching degrees cannot find teaching jobs and our unemployment rate remains over 9%.

Cost to school districts and government? Unknown. The argument is “no cost” because the vacant “retired” position would have to be filled by hiring another employee anyway. True, but all of these retirees are at the top of their pay and benefit scale. They would be replaced with employees newly entering public employment whom would be at the bottom of the pay/benefit scale. Since Americans nationwide cough up extraordinary amounts of money for these double-dippers, the savings to taxpayers is potentially huge.

There is the argument that this practice is common in the private sector also. But who cares? The taxpayers are not paying the costs of Retire/Rehire in the private sector. Private businesses can do whatever they want with their Retiring/Rehiring employees. There’s no public money involved.

So there you have it, the real truth about the Retire - Rehire scam.

Want my advice? Don’t chip in too much for the office “Retirement” gift. It appears the only real “gift” is “Rehire.”

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