151 Band

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Government Work, Building Pensions

Term-limits are one thing, but there is a run on ex-legislators who are getting new jobs in Oklahoma government and the Oklahoman has a great commentary about it.  While the Oklahoman is still treading water for intellectual and journalistic credibility in my not-so-humble opinion, there are a handful of reporters and journalists over at the dark down who seem to "get it."  This story may be one of the exceptions to the rule.

In the opinion piece today, the article states:
Forced to leave the Legislature this year, state Rep. John Wright, R-Broken Arrow, has taken a job in the Tulsa County assessor's office, trading up his $38,400 legislative salary for $72,000 in the county job. Earlier this fall, outgoing House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, took a job in the Tulsa mayor's office at a salary of $100,000 a year.
But the most telling comment in the article is as follows:
This political re-careering will get even more intense eight years from now, when a new term-limit law for statewide officials will force incumbents out of office after just two terms.
With some of Oklahoma's wacky pension laws, state employees (read: elected officials) can work quite the deal for their pensions by working in the legislature, then moving over to a county or city job.  For example, some of the individuals listed in the article will have "time served" in the legislature applied to their retirement calculations, making for some hefty retirement income.

This is a must-read for those of you desirous of government accountability.

And congrats to Benge for his $100k/year job in Tulsa.