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Local GOP lawmaker's plan aims to reduce "double dipping" of public workers


ALLOUEZ, WI (WTAQ) - Public employees who retire would have to wait longer to return to their old jobs, under a proposal from a Republican state lawmaker.

Allouez Senator Rob Cowles wants to reduce the practice of “double dipping” – in which retirees return to their jobs later, and then draw both a pension and a paycheck.

Right now, employees must be retired for at least 30 days before they can come back. Cowles wants to extend the waiting period to between 90 and 120 days.

Officials say retirees often come back because it takes longer than expected to hire their replacements. Cowles says his measure would give agencies more incentives to step up their hiring processes, and bring in replacements quicker.

A state audit recently showed that 2,800 state and local public workers retired, came back, and then got pensions and paychecks at the same time.

Cowles also says the state needs to have clear policies in place for investigating cases in which employees retired with a promise to be rehired later.

Those arrangements are illegal. But media reports said former UW-Green Bay vice chancellor Tom Maki was able to pre-arrange a return, after retiring in 2011 in protest of Governor Scott Walker’s actions to public workers.