PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some Allegheny County employees are being accused of manipulating the system to earn higher pensions, and it is costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
The alleged “pension spiking” is taking place at any of Allegheny County’s 24-hour facilities where overtime becomes necessary, full staffing critical.
“You can’t shut down. So, people are able to manipulate the overtime part of it, not just for pay, but also to put the pension system in a risky condition,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says.
Actual numbers from the county’s own research: an employee working at the jail making $56,000 jacks up his overtime the last two years he’s there to nearly $140,000 salary.
That employee retires with a nearly $92,000 a year pension, costing you the taxpayer more than $1.6 million dollars.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “You’re a firm believer that no one working for taxpayer dollars should be able to double their salary in a pension?”
Businessman Mark Kren: “Absolutely not.”
KDKA’s Marty Griffin showed Kren Allegheny County’s own study showing 30 retired employees “spiked” pensions, costing taxpayers nearly $24 million.
“People in the private sector, which are actually building this economy, are the people who basically don’t have any pensions. We rely on our 401Ks,” said Kren.
A new “anti-spiking bill,” as it’s been called, has been signed off on by state leaders. It stops pension spiking with all new county hires.
The practice, costing the county nearly $1 million per year stops and saves massive dollars in the long run.
“It saves over a billion dollars, $1.1 billion over 50 years,” said Fitzgerald. “In doing so we are guaranteeing the pensions for those folks and making sure the taxpayers don’t get hit with a huge bill.”