Citing privacy and concern about scammers, retirees oppose bill to reveal pensioners' info

02/18/2014 09:03 AM

A state retiree group says bills to make public the names and pension check amounts of all members of the retirement system opens the door to major privacy issues for senior citizens.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, has proposed legislation in the Senate while Rep. Robert Benvenuti has offered a similar bill in the House. Both would make public the names, final salaries and pension check amounts of retirees drawing a government pension McDaniel said such transparency is necessary to reveal potential abuses of the system and to show that the vast majority of retirees are far from getting oversized retirement benefits.

Leaders of the Kentucky Public Retirees, an organization that advocates on behalf of retired state workers, say the number of people receiving those massive pension payments — more than $100,000 a year — is too small of a number to justify disclosing the information of all retirees.

Shirley Clark, the group’s vice president and liaison to the legislature and retirement system, echoed the concerns of the AARP that predators will use personal information from the open records.

“That’s another way for senior citizens to get scammed,” said Clark (at 2:00), who worked for the Transportation Cabinet for 32 years and one year in personnel before retiring in 1991. “Scammers out there going in and seeing their names and what they make and we are very vulnerable to that kind of stuff now.”

Paul Guffey, president of the Kentucky Public Retirees, agreed with Clark and said he has paid into the pension fund, so therefore he feels he is due some privacy so that his pension information is not disclosed and said there are better ways to go about this.

“There are other ways to disclose the rates of pensions that are being paid out without disclosing the names of the persons. It is more difficult to do that and I don’t know exactly how that would work but that does happen,” Guffey said (at 3:20). “So there could be ways of reporting the abuses or the extremes and be able to deal with those without having to give out all the names of the people.”

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