Pension double-dipping expose much ado about nothing

Arthur Kane’s July 9 article, “Pension and Pay,” is an investigation without a mystery, an exposé without a scandal. Combining scatter-shot charges against the Clark County School District and the Public Employee Retirement System,with the combined incomes of public officials who receive pensions is misleading, hurtful and inaccurate. To be elected to office after a career in the public sector is not “double dipping.”

Mr. Kane gleefully notes that private employers have phased out defined-benefit pensions. But he fails to note that PERS has similarly reduced benefits over time. When the featured individuals entered the workforce years ago, a valet parker earned more tips in one day than Clark County could pay an attorney for a week. The county offered non-cash incentives in order to compete, including the offer to allow full retirement after 30 years of service. Mr. Kane fails to note these rules were the same for all employees, from the highest executive to the clerk and custodian.

What would the Venetian pay Sheriff Joe Lombardo to run hotel security? Or Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Gibbons or District Court Judge Robert Teuton to become in-house counsel? Would Sheldon Adelson begrudge them the pensions they earned for years of service to the community? Taxpayers are fortunate these individuals continue to serve for less than they could gain in the private sector; election results and judicial ratings confirm the voters’ wisdom.

Shame on Mr. Kane for irresponsibly implying anything unethical is going on. Shame on the Review Journal for publishing the story.

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