City Government

Political Birds Feather Their Own Nests

We often have a feeling of helplessness when it comes to Idaho politicians. As a group they resent the citizens and work hard at limiting any “power to the people.”

For example, only the legislature can change the retirement system and they are the prime beneficiaries. “Forgettaboutit.”

To recall an elected official in Idaho it takes a petition with signatures of 20% of the REGISTERED voters just to get on the ballot. Heck, most elections are lucky to have 20% of the eligible electors even vote! Old law said “20% of those who voted in last election.”

When we citizens passed a term limit law, the legislature immediately repealed the law and used our tax money to defend their decision in the Idaho Supreme Court. Same thing with a tax limit.

The GUARDIAN editor has worked for a dozen years to defend the right of citizens to vote on public debt issues, but officials repeatedly fight to deny citizens their right to vote for or against debt.

The IDAHO FREEDOM FOUNDATION has recently completed a report exposing “pension spiking,” by elected officials who leave their positions to take high paying appointments for a few years to create outrageous spikes to their pension payments. All we can say is, click on the link. It is well done, accurate information.

Until we find good, viable candidates to run for office and defend our rights, we will continue to be victimized by those in power who seek personal power and greed.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Political Observer
    Sep 1, 2015, 8:29 pm

    With all due respect, Mr. Editor, but the “Pension Spiking” bill is nonsense. Most legislators work more than “part-time” hours, especially those in the Boise Valley. It is especially difficult for legislators to find employment due to the incredible burden of time placed upon them not during session, but during interim as well. Furthermore, I think it is clear that the state constitution prohibits them from changing their benefits, including retirement benefits. It is not a special treatment. Anyone that is certified elector (voter) is permitted to run for the legislature in the legislative district in which they live. They are also all able to be appointed to positions. Some are chosen, some are not. The same is true in all other sectors of the labor market.

    As to the apathy of not running for office, whether it be for the legislature or for municipal races, I would just say that I too find it curious that when a vacancy occurs that dozens want in, but when faced with an election, its quieter than Silver City. Perhaps that is a function of satisfaction with the job doing or perhaps its a function of a sense of impossibility. Either way, it is imperative that barriers to running be reduced so that more people feel like serving their communities with their talents and abilities is a possibility.

  2. The Golden Rule!

    “He with the Gold …..Rules”

    In Idaho should it be “He with the Rules — Gets the Gold” ?

  3. I’ve concluded the majority of Americans, and most undocumented voters, are too stupid to find America on a map, much less likely are they to know for which it stands, how it should function, or where the Obama money comes from.

    Unfortunately these stupid people do manage to vote for more welfare at each election. The issues which you point out are of no concern to them.

    Do not be surprised if Hillary wins in spite of a looming criminal trial.

  4. Grumpy ole Guy
    Sep 1, 2015, 10:05 pm

    Thanks for the review, Easterner. The “problem” is created by the notoriety of the relative few who fall into the first elected, then appointed category. That group DOES cause news, probably from a combination of their political opponents and those who envy the successfully managed PERSI funds payments.

  5. If a good person somehow slips past the barriers of money for signs, and other advertisements, and the barrier of the corporate lapdog media saying you are “not electable”, then the entrenched politicians ignore and harass you. Case in point, the Democrats in the legislature. They get to represent the people and have a conscience because they are irrelevant. They can do anything they want, but the Republicans just ignore them. If the Democrats were the majority, they would be the evil ones and the Republicans would be good, but ignored. We are not a Democracy or a Representative Republic, we are slaves to the super rich, or technically an Oligarchy. They have the gold, the laws are written in their favor, and they will crush anyone that challenges their rule. The current system is not reformable or fixable, it needs to be destroyed and a new system built that will serve the people, not the few rich folks.

  6. Political Observer–thanks for a thoughtful comment. I disagree with much of what you said. Your assertion that serving in the legislature is an “incredible burden” seems to be a stretch. Difficult, yes. I am glad that you did not assert that these appointees were actually the most qualified people in the state for their positions–or even qualified at all. I would have had to wonder why only Rs are qualified (with, I think, the exception of Werk and I believe that Butch had to appoint a D for that job).

  7. It’s a scam!

    Good story by IFF. Bruce Newcomb (BSU employee) is missing from the list.

    My opinion is every one is out for themself.
    The people “on the inside” are the ones that know the problems– but they are also the ones benefiting from it. So why change?

  8. If the Idaho Constitution bans legislators from changing their own compensation, how did the Politician Pension Payoff come into being in the first place?

  9. Silver City
    Sep 2, 2015, 11:15 am

    This information is no surprise..
    This is locale and state government in all fifty states..
    Wonderful isn’t it! Land of freedom..Ha
    Speaking of ‘slop heads” voting for
    entitlements…this is corporate welfare to keep the poor from social unrest, if they payed living wages entitlements wouldn’t be necessary.

  10. I agree that Pension Spiking should be reigned in some. This conversation is really lacking some specifics about PERSI and Rule of 80/90. I assume legislature falls under the Rule of 90, as 80 is most often reserved for law enforcement. Dean Cameron is at 78 currently, so 6 years and he would be eligible for full benefits. Ken Roberts is only at 67, so he may have to work for 12 years to receive full benefits. So the premise of having to work only 42 months to cash in is flawed.

    EDITOR NOTE–The retirement is based on the “highest 42 months of pay” and for most of these guys and gals it is the final 42 months. Your 90 figure is the combination of age and years of employment. The typical case if someone who is 60 yrs of age and has been at a menial part time position as a legislator, councilor, mayor, etc. for 25 years
    and they get the $100K appointment which treats them as is they had actually WORKED all those years full-time.

  11. PO that’s BS.

    It’s rigged in so many ways. Pension spiking is something we should be reading about the week before an election on the front page of the paper. The paper won’t cover it though, because the reporters plan to work for the politician as a press agent. Many many other examples of this kind of scam. Obamacare scam for congress. and on and on.

    Because you can does not mean you should. Are you really looking out for the best interests of the citizen? Even if that citizen does not vote. Heck no, you’re stuffing pockets because you can. The concept of doing the right thing even when no one is looking is completely gone from government. It will be the end of us if not repaired.

    Citizen apathy is the problem that allows the corruption to grow. However, changing apathy requires the cooperation of the people who are running the scam. The school teachers could help too, and especially the media. The media has failed America cataclysmically.

    Moving to a direct input system where citizens control the legislature the same way we control or Amazon accounts would be nirvana. Instead of these stuffed suits deciding things for us, we just need a few clerks to run the system we direct from home.

  12. Grumpy Ole Guy
    Sep 2, 2015, 10:31 pm

    There are a couple of points here which I would like to make. The annual salary of a Legislator is, currently, about $16,000.00. They are NOT going to get rich from their time of service if that is their only contribution to PERSI.
    Public employees are eligible for PERSI membership and therefore many County, Municipal and other taxing districts are able to provide a retirement system for their employees which that otherwise would not be able to afford. So, PERSI is a benefit for many taxing district employer across the State.
    LEGISLATORS are exempt from the rule of 90. If they serve only a partial one year, they DO “qualify for the pension, but it is based only upon the length of time they serve.
    EMPLOYEES are required to meet the Rule of 90; BUT may retire with a reduced benefit, once they have “vested” which happens after 60 months (5 years) of employment.

  13. I know how the spiking works. But I dont’ think Ken Roberts can spike to much. He has to work another 12 years to reach the rule of 90. That would be 15 years at the Tax Commission. Anyone, legislator or not, would be eligible after 15 years of working to receive full benefits after reaching the rule of 90. Mr. Roberts could retire after only 42 months, but then due to his age/service, he would be subject to pretty high reductions. The reduction reaches 45% by year 10.

    But I do agree that spiking is wrong, if a legislator walks into the new postion, works 42 months and retires with Rule of 90.

  14. Political Observer
    Sep 3, 2015, 2:26 pm

    Alright, so clearly there is some disagreement here. That’s fine with me. For what its worth, I don’t agree that Butch has appointed qualified people. Not in the slightest. That’s not the point. The point is that the idea of pension spiking being some special benefit is wrong. If a civil servant working in some other state position was appointed, the benefit would apply to them as well. It seems like the electorate is being duplicitous. One one hand we claim to want “the best and the brightest” to serve but on the other hand we don’t seem to be willing to pay for it (hmm, why does that sound familiar?). For anyone that thinks that legislators only work part-time, it only demonstrates a considerable lack of familiarity with the legislative process. I’ve been around enough legislators to know that they work hard year round (at least the good ones). Finally, as I stated before, if the legislature was to try to do away with this, it would be a violation of the state constitution prohibition of legislators changing their compensation. If the legislative compensation committee wants to authorize the change, then the legislature would be within its rights to pass legislation implementing that directive. Until they are given the directive, they can’t. It is that simple.

    EDITOR NOTE–PO, I think your argument is without merit. The issue does NOT deal with the legislature or legislative compensation. It deals with ALL PERSI recipients…board members, city councilors, and anyone else who receives a small stipend or salary and is REWARDED for political loyalty or vote-getting ability through appointment to 42 months of a high paying position. A city councilor in Eagle may get a few thousand a year, but if appointed to a high-paying state job for 42 months, he or she reaps huge benefits far above the worker bee with 30 years of service at a lower salary. Legislators seem to benefit more than most.

  15. PO, “some disagreement”?
    No, it sounds (reads) like you are the only one somehow in favor of the status quo.

    Why is that?

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