Here is an Orlando Sentinel editorial on Florida's DROP program which lets Florida government workers "retire", then take their old job again while collecting full retirement PLUS the State puts an amount for more pension contributions into a fund that earns a HIGH rate of interest.
Most people call this double dipping.
The result is that one person is receiving both full pay, and a full pension, when if they REALLY retired, another person could be employed. This program is automatic, and not based on a rationale justification system where only truly needed employees are granted the DROP beneifts. So, the DROP program shovels more taxpayer funds at senior and high paid Florida government workers and prevents another person to fill the briefly vacated position, which keeps unemployment higher than necessary.
You wouldn't find anything like this in the private sector. About the only comparable method would be hiring of retired staff as consultants, and definitely for a contracted FIVE YEARS. And, in the private sector, there is a complete separation of the former and future employing firm's benefits programs, and usually the re-hiring is based upon cost justification analysis.
In the case of Florida's DROP program, it eliminates the ability of new employees to get a job, since the former employee is
DROP strikes again
A controversy in Seminole County reveals again the flaws in Florida's reviled DROP program.
May 31, 2011
Many of us wish we had had a math teacher like Robert White when we were in school.
The longtime instructor has been described as a Jackson Heights Middle School institution, guiding gifted students and helping them win numerous math competitions.
Testimonials to his skill and talent have poured in from the Oviedo school's students and alumni following the principal's decision not to renew White's contract for the coming school year.
"It would be a great loss for the community to see this amazing educator leave," warned a Facebook page called Keep Mr. White at JHMS. "Let's all band together to petition for his stay."
At its meeting last week, the Seminole County School Board said there was nothing they could do — it was the principal's decision.
Lost in the anger and passion over White's impending departure is the fact that he made a decision to retire in 2006.
That's when White entered Florida's Deferred Retirement Option Program, widely and often disdainfully known as DROP.
Once White signed up, the state started putting a portion of his nearly $70,000 annual salary into an account that earned 6.5 percent interest, plus a cost of living adjustment. The deal is that White keeps teaching for five years while his account grows. Then he retires, starts getting a pension check each month, and can either collect his healthy lump-sum DROP payment or roll it over into a retirement account.
Florida law, however, lets administrators keep retiring teachers on for up to three more years, during which time the state continues to put money into their DROP accounts. Jackson Heights Principal Winston Bailey, however, chose not to renew White's contract.
Bailey isn't saying why. It may be because Seminole can hire another teacher for less money. The average salary for teachers in Seminole is about $48,000.
In the current financial climate for public education, we're not so sure Bailey's making the wrong decision, especially considering there are many thousands of teachers who have been laid off in Florida — teachers who aren't at retirement age — and would be happy to get back to work.
Volusia County last year closed the door on rehiring "retired" teachers and expected to save a cool $1.6 million as a result.
We are fully aware of Seminole County's previous practice of happily bringing back high-priced administrators who had retired, including Superintendent Bill Vogel, allowing them to double-dip by collecting salaries and retirement simultaneously. The district didn't seem concerned in those cases about paying top dollar for experienced employees.
We don't like DROP's loopholes whether it's benefitting high-paid administrators, modestly paid teachers or double-dipping elected state attorneys and judges. If someone wants to retire, they need to go ahead and retire.
No, the blame rests with state lawmakers who set up an expensive and loophole-riddled system that, instead of enticing higher-paid employees to retire, does exactly the opposite.
In 2009 the Legislature tweaked the law, forcing retirees to sit out six months instead of 30 days before they can be rehired (that provision doesn't apply to teachers).
This year Gov. Rick Scott wanted to get rid of DROP, but the Legislature wouldn't go along. It did muster the courage to trim the interest rate paid on DROP accounts.
In other words, nibbling around the edges of a program that's so deeply flawed it should have been overhauled or killed years ago.
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