Updated: Wednesday, 18 Mar 2009, 5:04 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 18 Mar 2009, 5:04 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A News 13 Larry Barker investigation is prompting a county commissioner to take action against double dipping a public paycheck and pension.
Other government leaders are already addressing the issue now Bernalillo County Commissioner Art De La Cruz wants to address it too.
Although double dipping didn't make the agenda at Tuesday night's commission meeting, De La Cruz brought it up anyway.
"I think it's important because of the public concern that we address it," he said.
Barker's investigation earlier this month revealed when Bernalillo County Human Resources Director Renetta Torres retired she didn't pack up her desk. She went off the county payroll for three months then returned to a $90,000 annual salary while pocketing a $65,000 annual pension.
The county's deputy manager also retired and returned. Dan Mayfield is collecting a $93,000 salary plus a pension.
Barker's investigation uncovered others who did the same including some who made not attempt to stay away for 90 days as required by state law but stayed on as volunteers or employees of temp agencies.
Soon after government leaders stepped up such as Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez and Gov. Bill Richardson. Now so is De La Cruz.
The commissioner wants the board to look into county employees who are double dipping and a policy that says when it's OK to rehire a retiree and when it's not.
He hopes other county commissioners also want change.
"I think we need to have a policy," Commissioner Michael Wiener said. "I think we need to discuss it among the elected officials."
Right now the county has no specific policy on the practice.
"I think that the county should not accept any additional applications until it has a policy or until the state has a law in place," said De La Cruz.
Commissioners could not take any official action on double dipping during Tuesday's meeting because it was not on the agenda.
De La Cruz said he hopes to get it on next week's agenda.
A bill also has been working its way through the Legislature would require retired public employees to wait a year before returning to a public job and cap their salaries at $30,000.