I quit! Give me money. OK, see you at work tomorrow! I'd still like direct deposit, please.
The University of California plans to review hundreds of double-dipping pensioners, many of whom were rehired for their old jobs – occasionally at a higher salary than before they retired.
The university's use of retirees drew attention in April after UC Berkeley Police Chief Victoria Harrison left with a lump sum $2.1 million retirement package and then was immediately rehired for her old job – with a pay raise.
At UC San Diego, for example, Ruth Covell retired in September 2004 from her $165,000 a year job as associate dean for capital planning to collect her $151,000 annual pension. She was rehired as an associate dean a month later to help the health sciences division with the transition to new leadership. She's still there, collecting her pension while being paid about $71,000 a year for working less than half time under a contract. Her contract won't expire until September and could be extended if she is needed longer, officials said. She did not respond to a request for comment.
At UCSF, Stephen Barclay, the campus' senior vice chancellor for finance and administration, retired on July 1 to begin collecting his $189,000 annual pension, with a promise he could return a month later at 60 percent time – equaling an annual salary of $216,000. In addition, Barclay, 61, will be eligible for a bonus of $32,472.
. . .
At UC Berkeley, Robert Hamilton retired on July 1, 2006 as the principal development engineer in the electronics research laboratory to begin collecting his $93,918 annual pension. He was rehired about a month later, full time and indefinitely for $116,437 a year – more than the $101,585 compensation he received in the same position before retirement.
Now, there may be occasional times when it is economically beneficial to the government, or even necessary, to bring a retiree back. But this smacks of bureaucratic cronyism. The administrators of the UC enjoy the benefit of more than 3% of California's vast tax revenue. They're supposed to be conservators of that money and keepers of the public trust. When they hand out sweetheart deals on my dime to their pals in the UC system, we ought to be outraged. (The UC claims that many of the re-hired retirees are "staff." Somehow, I doubt they are talking about janitors — I suspect these are the favored underlings of the elite and powerful.)
I hope that the media continues to shine light on this practice — during California's horrific financial crisis, it may actually generate enough interest to force changes.
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