CRP Blog

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Unions and Democrats Protect Pensions of Felons

Congratulations to Assembly Republicans for trying to put an end to the practice of allowing those who steal public funds to continue receiving their taxpayer funded retirement benefits. Here's the news release from our friend Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries:

Sacramento -Today Democrats in the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security (PERS) Committee voted against legislation that would have stripped the publicly funded pensions of public employees convicted of serious felonies. AB 1858 would have revoked the publicly funded pensions of a public employee convicted of any felony involving accepting or giving, or offering to give, any bribe, the embezzlement of public money, extortion or theft of public money, perjury, or conspiracy to commit any of those crimes arising directly out of his or her official duties as a public employee.

"I shake my head in disappointment at the fact that some legislators and union representatives feel that we should be protecting convicted felons at the expense of taxpayers," Mr. Jeffries said. "This bill is good policy that the general public strongly supports. It's too bad that union politics got in the way of good policy."

This bill was prompted by a series of incidents in which public employees stole and embezzled from the taxpayers and violated the public trust. Speakers from a variety of unions spoke against the bill arguing that felonious public employees should not be further punished for a "mistake."

"In my own district we recently had a school employee accused of stealing as much as $300,000 from the school lunch money funds, but under the current system, this person could still be eligible for taxpayer-funded retirement benefits for her service while she was ripping off taxpayers and children," Assemblyman Jeffries said. "That’s the real mistake."

"Unfortunately, the political leadership of the unions has once again proven that they care more about coddling the criminals in their membership than they do about promoting the rights and protecting the reputations of the overwhelming majority of their membership that would never dream of stealing from the communities they serve," Assemblyman Jeffries remarked.

Since AB 1858 was killed on a 2-5 party line vote (with Republicans voting 'Yes') the bill can not advance further. Mr. Jeffries plans to address the issue again next session.

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