Texas Gov. Rick Perry is one of just two Texas state officials who have the right combination of age and work experience to collect, simultaneously, a state salary and pension, the Houston Chronicle
Perry, 61, joins Jerry Patterson, the 65-year-old Texas Land Commissioner, who appears qualified to collect a state pension under a law that allows only members of the so-called “elected class” to transfer credits for previous public service.
The Chronicle sent requests for the information to the 27 statewide office holders. Most did not admit to doubling up with a salary and pension. The Chronicle said the Employees Retirement System of Texas declined to supply information on individual retirements for confidentiality reasons.
Perry has a $150,000 annual salary and will collect about $85,000 in pension income in 2011.
"The state law that allows certain elected officials who have held multiple offices or have previous experience in the military or state government to transfer credits and collect retirement pay before leaving public life," the paper reports. "To take advantage of the loophole, however, even older elected officials must have accumulated enough years of experience in more than one government job."
Perry has been in public office most of his adult life.
As of Jan. 30, 2011, he was able to transfer 26 years and 1 month of time accumulated. He served as an elected official as governor, agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and legislator and his military service also counts.
A Perry spokesman said the decision was part of the governor’s “standard financial planning.”
The move has angered some of Texas' employee unions.
Rank-and-file Texas employees can sometimes return to state employment after retirement, but only after a 90-day waiting period and with frozen pensions, Mike Gross, vice president of the 12,000-member Texas State Employees Union, told the Chronicle.
“Whether the thing’s legal or not, the governor is locked arm in arm with a whole group of conservatives who are attacking our pension fund and then he is taking advantage of a loophole that only he and a few others have access to. It’s outrageous,” he said.
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