Miller: Gov’t employees ‘double dipping’

The
Legislative Assembly’s only independent member has raised concerns that some
lawmakers and civil servants may be, in effect, receiving two salaries by
continuing to work for government after they have retired.

North
Side MLA Ezzard Miller said a change in the parliamentary pensions law in
recent years has allowed elected officials to retire while continuing to serve
in the assembly. In essence, Mr. Miller said, those lawmakers can “get a double
dip” – continue to receive their salaries while earning a pension at the same
time.

“It’s
not only happening in parliament,” Mr. Miller said. “It’s happening in other
places in the civil service as well.”

The
independent lawmaker said he will bring a motion to the house that will ask for
a change in the parliamentary pensions to eliminate government workers or
elected lawmakers’ ability to “double dip”.

“If
a parliamentarian resigns…they should go home, retire,” he said. “I would
really be disappointed in any politicians [double dipping].”

According
to an employee survey done by the Portfolio of the Civil Service last year,
there were 146 government employees who were Caymanians, 60 or over, who
continued to work for the civil service past the typical age of retirement.

Under
the current system, all of those workers would at least be eligible to retire
and receive a monthly pension – if they were a part of the defined benefit
retirement plan. However, if they were to continue in the civil service under a
one-, two- or three-year contract, they could continue to receive a salary.

In
most civil service departments, workers are allowed to take retirement at age
55 and some as early as 50 if they wish to receive only a partial pension.

Other pension changes

Mr.
Miller also pointed out another fairly recent change in the parliamentary pensions
law that allowed elected lawmakers to receive some pension after serving in the
house for only a single four-year term.

Previously,
the pensions law did not give legislators who had served just one term a
pension. After two terms – eight years – they would receive a third of their
salary on retirement; after three terms they would receive half pay; and after
four terms they would get two-thirds of their ending salary in parliament.

The
law now sets a sliding scale for parliamentary pensions with a maximum earning
of two-thirds of salary after 20 years – five terms – in the house. A lawmaker
serving four years would receive one-fifth of the maximum two-thirds of salary;
a lawmaker serving eight years would receive two-fifths of the maximum, and so
on.

Mr.
Miller said he did not oppose this change, although he questioned why anyone
should receive a pension for a job they had worked in for just four years.

1 COMMENT

  1. I understand how Mr.Miller feels regarding pension for a lawmaker legislator to receive pension just after oly 4 years of service. But he is wrong on this one.

    Editor’s note: The majority of this comment was edited out for legal reasons. We would ask that commenters refrain from making defamatory remarks about individuals.