By The Bakersfield Californian
It's common practice in state government for workers to retire, begin drawing a pension and then return to the same or similar job in state government and draw wages on top of their pension. It's long been seen as double-dipping and viewed by taxpayers as wrong. However, it might actually be saving the state money. These retired workers come to the job already trained, don't receive benefits and can be hired and let go as needed.
Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed to do away with the program, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Brown's cutting of retired workers is suspected to be a trade-off to get public employee unions to agree to furloughs and a 5 percent pay cut. The unions believe the working retirees stifle upward mobility for other workers and growth of the regular workforce.
Brown's plan might be a politically smart move, but it's unclear what the financial impacts will be. Financially strapped agencies could be losing a source of cost-effective, highly experienced workers that would have to be replaced at some point with employees entitled to health care and pensions.
Cost savings should drive any decision on retired workers. So far, Brown hasn't shown that barring retirees from working is in the state's financial interest.