Double-dipping ?

I have never done this before.  I received the following as an email.  It is self explanatory.

This is an editorial soon to appear in Piqua Daily Call by Gary Ogg, explaining why public employees are not villains, please forward. Holly Denlinger

It’s time to dispel a commonly held misconception in Ohio concerning “double dipping” by public employees and it has nothing to do with ice cream. It’s the mistaken sense that public employees who retire and then rehire are somehow ripping off taxpayers.

This must be important since the Dayton Daily News recently ran 22 column inches reporting how three area public school superintendents were raking in the “big cash” by retiring and then getting rehired immediately.

In the same edition, only 8 column inches were devoted to a report showing that many CEO’s are now earning more than their companies are paying in taxes to Uncle Sam and that many are paying their lobbyists more as well (most likely to fight for additional tax breaks).

Then in the Sports section, it was reported that the Bengals might be bringing back Carson Palmer as quarterback. Buried in the article was just one sentence about his salary…$676,000 per week.

Based on article length, this dastardly “double dipping” must be of the highest concern.

Now “double dipping” is defined as receiving two salaries from the same source usually in an illicit way. So are retired/rehired educators or any other public employee doing this? Many think so stemming from a misunderstanding of how public employee retirement systems operate.

Using myself as an example, I chose to become an educator as my contribution to our society, or put another way, to provide for the public good. This is what government exists for—to provide for the public good—and that’s what public schools do. My salary was paid for 100% by a combination of local (mostly) and state taxes.

I was required by law to contribute about 10% of my annual gross salary to the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS). My employers were also required to pay an amount equaling about 14% of my gross into my account with STRS. Note that this 14% was deferred compensation, meaning it went into my retirement account instead of my pocket.

After 30+ years, I retired and began drawing a monthly benefit from STRS based on a straightforward formula. At retirement, my 10% contributions ended, as did my employers 14%. Thus, no more tax dollars went into my account. Finis.

However, all these contributions over 3 decades will only pay for maybe 5-6 years of my retirement benefit. So where will the funds come from for the remaining years if I live longer than that? People tell me it must come from additional tax deposits by the State of Ohio. They are wrong. The State is legally barred from ever giving tax dollars to STRS or any other public employee pension fund. The systems are required by law to independently stand on their own. My pension comes from 30+ years of deferred compensation that is invested by STRS in stocks, bonds, and real estate. Kind of sounds like a 401K plan doesn’t it.

Public employees retire/rehire do not meet the definition of “double-dipping” since retirement income comes from a pot of money derived from their personal deposits and deferred compensation over decades plus investments it earns. Salary for the rehired position comes from an entirely different source.

And since the three superintendents served up by the DDN have been rehired at a LOWER salary than what they were making, taxpayers in their school districts are actually saving money.

Strangely, I hear no anger being directed toward military personnel who, after 20 years of being paid with tax dollars, can retire at 50% of their salary (more if they work longer) then take another job with the government. If one is double dipping, then so is this.

Retire/rehire is common in the private sector. Many CEO’s retire then are hired back as “consultants”. Is the process somehow wrong in the public sector since tax dollars are involved but OK in the private sector even though you pay for their goods and services?

There’s one other caveat regarding public employees not commonly reported. While we don’t pay into Social Security for our public jobs, many of us have worked second jobs in the private sector to augment family incomes and have paid into Social Security along the way. Yet our SS benefits, if eligible, are reduced 66% due to the laws put into effect in the 1930’s. Having worked for Delco Products during college, and then Kroger’s for many years while teaching, I have enough quarters to qualify for $365 in monthly SS benefits. However, I will only be allowed to collect $121 of that since I am part of a public retirement system. I wonder how “discrimination” is defined?

Retired/rehired public employees are not the enemy they are made out to be.

Gary Ogg of is a retired elementary school principal. He lives south of Casstown with his wife of 40 years, Kathy, along with two Dachshunds, Cinder and Ella. Ogg received a bachelor’s degree in family/child development from The Ohio State University, a master’s in school administration from the University of Cincinnati and a masters’ in counseling from the University of Dayton.

For the record I am a Senior Chief Petty Officer, United States Navy (Retired) who served 21 years on Active duty.  While I was serving I was told, many times, that the reason that military pay was so low was because the monthly money I would receive after I retired was “deferred compensation.”

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