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It’s Only Money – The Top 6 Stories of Public Servants At the Trough That Will Make Your Eyes Bleed

Posted on February 4 2011 6:00 am

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5. Triple Dipping – No Longer Just a First Lady Nutrition Issue

One of the great perks of having a government job is a retirement that isn’t. Public servants can often retire at an early age on a pension representing up to 90% of their final salary:

Though the details of formulas differ, virtually all public employees receiving pensions in the state receive them on the basis of the number of years they worked, a certain retirement age, and a percentage of final or highest salary. For example, sworn police and fire officers often receive 3 percent of their final salary times the number of years they worked starting at age 50 up to a maximum of 90 percent of their salary. So, if an individual became a police officer at age 20, he or she would be eligible to retire at age 50 with an annual pension of 90 percent of final salary with annual cost of living adjustments thereafter. If the officer’s final salary were $100,000, the annual pension would start at $90,000.

(From: Reforming Public Employee Compensation And Pensions – CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY)

Some of these employees return to government work – often in the same section or department they just retired from – and collect a second salary, usually for doing the same job or at least a variation of the same job. This is called “double dipping.”

Not to be outdone there are even some enterprising retirees who manage to triple dip:

[In 2008] George Philip has won the state’s triple crown of compensation.

The triple dipper took in $641,000 in 2008 from three state coffers: his $261,000 pension as the former chief of the teachers retirement fund, his $280,000 salary as president of SUNY-Albany and $100,000 as a consultant at his former workplace.

Philip, 62, gets to live rent free in the “president’s residence” on campus and to use a 2004 Toyota Avalon “for official university business.”


His huge pension stems from working 37 years for the state’s other major pension fund, the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System.

Philip’s salary at retirement was $379,600 a year, a combined paycheck for performing two jobs simultaneously for 12 years — executive director and chief investment officer.

If anyone out there knows of gainful employment paying in the $180,000 range that only requires half my time please contact me at once.

Next: former Phoenix chief of police Jack Harris knows how to bend the rules…

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