Why Cities Are Broke (They Spend Too Much!), Chapter XXVIII (in an Infinite Series)


Why is this man smiling? Because he retired in 2007 from Cincinnati's city government on a $128,000 pension with bells and whistles, and then immediately signed a consulting contract with the Queen City worth $142,000 a year, for an annual income of well, you do the math.

Meet Water Works honcho Dave Rager, who at 55 years old, has a lot of life left to enjoy as a pensioner. Like a lot of other (broke) cities across this sweet land of liberty, Cincinnati supposedly put in iron-clad rules against double-dipping. But in Rager's case (and how many others, one wonders), they just had to make an exception because he was so freaking great that they needed to pay him more than twice as much as he was making.

At the end of 2007, Rager retired after a 34½-year city career, leaving under an early retirement incentive program that made him eligible for a pension that this year will total $128,326.

The city, however, wanted to keep Rager, whose expertise would be valuable as City Hall explored the idea of transforming the Water Works from a city-owned agency into a regional operation.

Under the provisions of the Cincinnati Retirement System's early retirement plan, Rager and more than 200 others who took advantage of it were to be prohibited from working for the city for five years.

To circumvent that, on Dec. 31, 2007—Rager's last day on the city payroll as a normal employee—Dohoney and Rager signed a waiver exempting him from the five-year ban….

Cincinnati City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz calls that "absolutely wrong, impossible to defend," but blames top city administrators, not Rager. "This is not the employee's fault—it's the administration's fault, and it's a very costly fault," she said.

So how many other recent retirees are double-dipping like Rager? Out of 200 city employees who retired under the same 2007 program, "at least 41" are under contract with the city, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. Read the whole thing here.

And then ask your local goverment how many folks in your burgh are getting a double ride on your dime.

More on why cities and states are broke (they spend too much!).