Retirees gearing up to fight pension transparency legislation in 2014

11/22/2013 12:18 PM

Former state and government employees are not happy about two new pieces of legislation that will be filed in the 2014 session to make public the names, final state salaries and pension check amounts of retirees drawing a government pension.

Sen. Chris McDaniel , R-Taylor Mill, and Rep. Robert Benvenuti ,R-Lexington, have both publicly announced their intent to fils bills that would change statutes so that the information is no longer exempt from open records requests.

Jim Carroll, a former communications director for the state parks department, is one of the retired state employees who closely monitor the pension system. He and his wife, also a retired state worker, created a Facebook page last session to keep retirees in the loop on pension proposals last session.

Carroll said not all retirees believe the statutes should change because they think “anti-government forces” are using pension figures to “embarrass people.”

“It doesn’t seem to be tied to some overarching issue. It just seems to be to use to point out the examples of people who have generous benefits,” Carroll told Pure Politics.

He said if the public wants to know the number of people make $100,000 in benefits, that information is already available.

Of the nearly 100,000 retired state employees who collected a state pension last year, 136 of them collected more than $100,000 or more in 2011 according to figures provided by the Kentucky Retirement System.

Government employees’ salaries are public record while they are employed by the state, but Carroll said all of that changes the moment the employee retires — even if the state still pays their earned benefits.

“The issue would be we are retired. We did our service. We were accustomed to have our benefits known…so we’ve done our share in terms of transparency, and we think that’s sufficient,” Carroll said.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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