in Houston, Texas
Fort Worth schools taxpayers getting hit up twice by double-dippers
Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012, 08:44AM CST
By Steve Miller
fist of cash

Nearly 200 employees of the Fort Worth school district who retired and receive a taxpayer-funded pension have come back to work at the district, collecting their salary and retirement pay.

Down the road in Arlington, only seven school district employees are doing the same, known as double dipping.

A weekend report by Dave Lieber of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram offers a stunning view of the pervasive practice, a continuation of his work that uncovered the tale of Vicki Burris, an administrator in the Keller Independent School District who formed a company just weeks before her retirement. The company was then retained by the district and staked to a one-year contract. The district’s school board signed off on the deal.

In his latest investigation, Lieber found that one Fort Worth district retiree is paid a pension plus an $80,000 a year salary, while 24 more retirees are paid more than $70,000.

At least the health care is already taken care of – by taxpayers, as well, of course.

The report also outlines Senate Bill 1669, legislation that state lawmakers passed last year that, as explained to Lieber, requires school district employees who retire after Jan. 1, 2011, to wait a year before double dipping. For part-time employees, the wait is 90 days.

The bill was authored by state Sen. Robert Duncan and sponsored on the House side by Rep. Vicki Truitt.

Truitt, a veteran Republican lawmaker from Keller, has been active in pension legislation in the last few years.

As sometimes follows, in 2010, she received generous donations from political action committees representing the Texas Classroom Teachers Association and the Texas State Teachers Association.

But Truitt, who chairs the House committee on Pensions, Investments and Financial Services, has carried legislation that benefits other public employees.

Last month, it was reported that another piece of Truitt legislation ensured that the public would never know how municipal retirement systems spend taxpayer money.

Truitt is also a member of the Texas Pension Review Board.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of money by flickr user 401K, used via a Creative Commons license.

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