OUR VIEW: Double-dipping at the department

Apr 3 2011 - 12:01am

The Ogden Police Department is going to be closely monitored by the Utah Retirement System after an investigation that followed a complaint that there is double-dipping among some high-ranking officers of the department.

The URS audited the department after it was alleged lieutenants and an assistant chief retired and then were rehired to their positions without a competitive hiring process. According to an earlier investigation from the Ogden Police Benefit Association, the retired and rehired officers are earning more than $100,000 a year each. According to the OPBA statement, the department and the URS are not enforcing their own retirement compensation rules.

Although the URS decided not to penalize the city, it seems there is enough evidence to indicate that something is dysfunctional in the Ogden Police Department. The double-dipping culture seems to come from the top down. When an officer retires from a position, he or she should not be allowed to get the same job.

That practice, which Ogden's department seems to do often, is not allowing a new generation of law enforcement talent to move up and utilize their skills. There are also claims that when the double-dippers are rehired, the jobs they get are not properly posted. Proper and ethical procedure should always be followed.

What's happening in Ogden is a close-to-home cultural example of what's occurring with the economy. Those moving up the ladder are finding themselves blocked by a hierarchy that wants two rewards: one for a career of service and another for a post-retirement job. It may still be a matter of debate as to whether it's legal, but it doesn't seem an appropriate way to deal with taxpayers' money, or a way to keep morale high at the department.

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