I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Silver City Mayor defends double dipping
In the town of Silver City, there are four city employees who might be considered ‘double dippers,’ including the city police chief, Mayor James Marshall told The Independent Thursday. ”These people put in their service and get paid for additional service they provide.”
Marshall said he’s talked to the governor’s staff about Senate bill 207, which would effectively end double dipping in the future, and expressed his displeasure.
Marshall said his current police chief was the strongest candidate for the job–but couldn’t have been hired if SB 207 were law. “Our chief of police makes less then the previous chief because his pay is adjusted to make up the contributions on his behalf,” he said.
“We’ve been able to bring in people as re-hires and adjust their salaries and make up for any PERA issues.” What Silver City does with their re-hires is offer them a salary minus what would be paid to the PERA. The city than pays that amount, instead of giving it to the employee. Marshall said the end result is the same contribution to PERA that any employee would make.
The bill, which was passed by the Legislature but has not yet been signed by the governor, would require employees to either collect a paycheck from the government or collect a pension–but not both at the same time.
Finding strong candidates for positions in rural communities can be a challenge because city budgets can’t often compete with the pay offered by state agencies, Marshall said. Cities often hire entry level employees and then do all they can to keep them as they become more experienced, but Marshall said it usually doesn’t work that way. “We end up being a training facility for many other agencies around the state.”
One of the reasons the Legislature took a look at double dipping was to help shore up the Public Employees Retirement Association’s (PERA) retirement fund. But Marshall says Silver City’s re-hires make good financial sense for all involved.
Marshall told The Independent he’s not sure how things will change for Silver City if the governor signs the bill, saying, ”Its a little difficult to predict how much impact it will have going forward.”