I know a few people in life who’ve been smart enough or just patient enough, to earn more as a retiree than as an employee. In fact, some of them are doing the same job, with less than 50% of the responsibility or time commitment, and getting paid roughly 3x what they used to. Usually these "Consulting Gigs" are in addition to the person’s pension, etc. that they receive. One such example popped up in my own Polk County Iowa this week.
The Public Works Director Larry Land retired earlier this while making a salary of $116,133/year. Not bad scratch for Iowa but not super-rich by any stretch. However, Land’s post-retirement pay could reach more than $315,000 this year with "consulting fees and benefits" in addition to his $50,000 to $70,000 pension (which he absolutely earned and I only mention for dramatic effect).
The article also points out that, "The promise of post-employment cash and benefits is so enticing that some public employees uninterested in retirement are compelled to quit in order to avoid losing money." Since the county supervisors made no provisions for Land’s replacement, they offered him, "A chance to set his own hours and carry out fewer responsibilities as an independent contractor."
Wow. Nice gig. The most gut wrenching moment came for me in the last sentence of the article that highlights the insulation from reality that our government agencies often enjoy (at our expense). Here it comes…ready?
"To have somebody hired or promoted, that’s how it works in a perfect world. (speaking about the "replace-ability" of exiting county employees). There just isn’t the labor force to replace these guys."
Right. It’s called building a bench guys. We do it all of the time in the real world and since you often cost the tax payers 3x of a normal salary to keep these guys around, I’d suggest taking the active employee’s salary, and simply double it. Use the 2nd half to create a "shadow government" (bring on the conspiracy theorists) that will just hop right in when that person retires, saving the tax payers a good deal of money. Could it be that governmental agencies don’t seek out and recruit talent continually? Could that be because they’re protecting their jobs and trying to keep themselves in the know for as long as possible…at the expense of all others? I have a friend who’s a county employee and he has coached me in the ways of the bureaucracy for years. Although he’s constantly amazed at the incredulous nature of these governmental ways…I think he’s resolved to carve out his little niche that will some day lead to a large severance package and a job as a part-time consultant making 3x his current wages.