In what’s liable to be the most straightforward piece of proposed legislation I’ve ever reviewed, there's Senate Bill 1450. Here’s the body of the proposed legislation: Pension of Retired Deputy Scot Peterson: Declares that Deputy Scot Peterson, retired from Broward County Sheriff's Office, shall forfeit all FRS rights and benefits due to his wanton or willful neglect in the performance of his assigned duties and contravention of his oath of office.
That’s not complicated, now is it? If only all legislation were so straight-forward. Now, do I think Scot Peterson should receive $8,771 per month from taxpayers for the rest of his life? No. But then again, I don’t think any retired deputy should be earning over $105,000 in compensation from taxpayers per year for life. My opinion of Scot Peterson is that of most people in South Florida. Disgust. But just as I caution about making emotional decisions with money, I think we need to be careful to make emotional law. There’s something about using legislation to target an outcome for a specific person that rubs me the wrong way and concerns me about how it might be used in the future. Using the entire state government to legislate an outcome for one person because the legal system hasn’t done it, isa concern of mine.
If you want to travel down this path, I’d prefer to see a more comprehensive approach that addresses pension reform on a larger scale with perhaps additional specificity that would cover aspects of someone in Scot Peterson’s situation. Truth is there’s rampant abuse of the pension system in state government. I’ll never buy into the argument that the average taxpayer should be forced to pay a government pension that’s more than twice what they earn, yet that’s routinely the case. Further, we should move towards personal retirement accounts that don’t hold future taxpayers hostage to the expensive decisions of politicians today.
If we want to have a bigger conversation, I’m all about it. Otherwise, be careful what you wish for.