The cozy revolving-door of "double-dipping" continues in California government. State workers can retire as early as age 50, get their CalPERS pension check and take another government job.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to end double-dipping, and it's about time.
Brown wants to do this by directing all state departments to "eliminate nonessential hiring of retired annuitants." He wants to go beyond state employees to ban all public employers from hiring public retirees for more than 960 hours per year. That would include cities, counties, public boards and commissions.
One example, and he is far from alone, is Sacramento County chief executive Brad Hudson. After 25 years working for Southern California cities and counties, he collects a CalPERS pension of $197,000 and now earns a $258,000 salary plus benefits from Sacramento County.
Closer to home, Greg Wellman retired at 55 as administrator of Merced County, then spent eight years as full-time city manager of Atwater before retiring again. Most recently he has been the interim city administrator for Oakdale.
Double-dipping isn't limited to top executive positions. There are a number of employees in cities, counties, school districts and other entities who retire and then take another public sector job, either part-time within the same agency or full-time with another organization.
One argument for double-dipping is that rehiring retirees retains expertise. But what it really shows is a failure to recruit and groom replacement workers.
Double-dipping is a symptom of some of the problems in the structure of the state's work force: The retirement age is too young. The average nonpublic safety state worker retires at age 61 and, because people live so much longer these days, collects pension checks for many years. Brown wants to change the retirement age to match the Social Security age of 67, to reflect longer, more productive lives.
California should severely curb double-dipping. It is unfair to the taxpayers and it doesn't help open government jobs to new workers.