'Critical Employees' turning up in droves

The state has painted itself into a corner, and it's quickly getting crowded.

The corner is the result of Assembly Bill 555, the legislation intended to help fill teaching positions by enabling retirees to come back to work and continue to collect their pensions.

This was a fine and worthwhile idea, although it seems so far few in the teaching field have taken advantage of the law.

Who did take advantage of it, as we well know, were upper-level management at the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety. The Board of Examiners - governor, secretary of state and attorney general - allowed "critical shortages" to be declared without going through the process to actually determine if there were people who could fill those jobs.

Now come Chief Deputy Budget Director Don Hataway and Chief Deputy Treasurer John Adkins, both of whom have reached retirement age and stand to receive $44,000 and $25,000, respectively, on top of their salaries by retiring and continuing to work.

First, let us note that both men are experts and have put in exemplary service for state government. No one is arguing with that.

Second, we should also point out that anyone in their position would be foolish not to take advantage of a situation in which they can get a significant boost in pay simply by continuing to work past retirement age.

The point, however, is the one we worred about when Dick Kirkland and the others were granted their increases. State officials painted themseles into such a tight corner they now have little recourse but to approve any such request that comes before them.

The parade into that corner has only just begun, we fear.


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