Reforming double dipping
To the editor: Over the next couple of months, the Ohio House of Representatives is scheduled to make a number of changes to the state’s public pension laws. Many of these reforms are long overdue in order to maintain the integrity of our five public pension systems and sustain the viability of these pensions for workers in the future.
In December of 2011, I introduced House Bill 388, legislation that will eliminate the practice often referred to as “double dipping.” As media accounts throughout the state have shown in recent years, many of these cases involve individuals retiring from their public sector job and then immediately being re-hired in the same position. This allows the employee to collect their state retirement benefits while still being employed in the same position or, in some cases, a very similar position. This is often referred to as “retire/rehire”.
Since the introduction of HB 388, I have heard from folks throughout Ohio who agree that this common practice needs to be changed. Let me be clear – it is not the fault of any state employee that currently collects these benefits while continuing to be employed. They are simply following the law as it stands. It is the legislature’s responsibility to enact common-sense reforms and HB 388 is a key step in that direction.
Our responsibility as a legislature is to protect the financial future of these five public pension systems for the young workers just entering into it. We cannot continue the practice of paying out large retirement benefits to individuals who have yet to retire. Since HB 388’s introduction, the issue of individuals who may go into part-time work with the state has been brought up. For example, a teacher with 30 years or more experience may retire and then choose to go back part-time as a substitute. In cases such as this, their retirement benefits may greatly outweigh the compensation they receive through substitute teaching. In cases like this and those similar to it, I believe reasonable exceptions can be made in order to allow these workers to collect their benefits and continue to make a contribution to our education system. It is my hope that, working together with my colleagues in the House, we will explore the best options to allow this to occur.
In cases where “retire/rehire” is happening, however, it is past time for the legislature to reform the system. This is why I will strongly encourage my colleagues in the House to include double dipping reforms to the pension bills being voted on in the near future. By doing so, we can ensure that all workers in the pension systems have a solid retirement system now and especially into the future. The current system is not fair or sustainable and it is time the legislature recognizes this and makes appropriate changes.
Damschroder represents the 81st House District, covering Sandusky County and portions of Seneca and Ottawa Counties
Gossip not news
To the editor: Really? Melissa Burden couldn’t find anything better to print than a domestic violence article about a Jerusalem Township trustee? (July 30th issue)
I certainly don’t condone violence but that is a personal and private matter for the family and should remain that way. Obviously some spiteful and hateful person doesn’t care for the accused. So they think it’s their business to notify The Press.
Shame on you for printing such a non-news worthy article. This is not news. It’s a gossip column. I hope in the future The Press will report news worthy articles and I pray the Kiss family will heal and move on.
To the editor: I think The Press is doing a disservice to the community by publishing “news” articles about what takes place in someone’s personal life.
I seriously take issue with recent articles appearing in The Press about things that are clearly not the public’s business.
Just because someone is a public servant does not entitle us to every last detail of their life. The only thing that should concern the public is what kind of a job the person is doing for the community and how they are protecting our tax dollars.
I haven’t met anyone yet who is perfect and find most people do the best they can. How does it help anyone to reveal offenses or personal difficulties unless it is criminal to the public good?
Please stick to the informative articles that are positive in our communities. I especially enjoy reading about the achievements of young people in sports and academia and how people find ways to enjoy their lives.
Gala a success
To the editor: The American Red Cross and the Ottawa County Club Red wish to thank all of the generous benefactors of our recent gala, ‘Black and White with a Splash of Red.’ We are humbled by your support of this event that helps ensure that the American Red Cross is here in Ottawa County when you need us.
Special thanks to Brian Beck and Friendship Food Stores for providing the grand raffle prize. Our sincere appreciation goes to our top sponsors and auction donors for their continued valuable support: the Stouffer Family and the Catawba Island Club; Crown Battery; OE Meyer Co.; Sutton Property Leasing, LTD; Red, White & Brew of Elmore; Magruder Hospital; Duttera/Skrinak Group - Merrill Lynch; the Dziak Gallery; Freedom Boat Club; Jerald Cohen; Erie Islands Sailing School; Catawba Dental/Gallery on Catawba; Skipper Bud’s; John and Mary Jane Gibson; Anthony and Myrna Pastore.
Kudos to Mike Schenk, and the entire CIC staff, whose professional attention to detail allows the evening to be magic.
We’d also like to acknowledge our auctioneers, Greg Peiffer of WPCR/WPIB, and Norman Peiffer of The Anderson’s of Toledo, as well as our musical entertainment for the evening, local piano man - Greg Fox and Toledo vocalist -Carmen Miller.
This year’s gala co-chairs were Lynn Majce and Danis Putzbach. 2012 Club Red chair is Karen Blizzard.
The Ottawa County Club Red was founded by Cindy Amerine in 2007 to provide women an avenue to become well-versed about an excellent cause, while at the same time underscoring that a group of women with a vision can make a difference in their community.