It's more than ironic that State Rep. Rex Damschroder recently introduced House Bill 388, legislation designed to put an end to the proactive of double dipping in the state of Ohio. A news article about two Ottawa County employees retiring and being re-hired caught the eye. Mr. Damschroder stated, "we have all witnessed or read about examples of double dipping in our area and the public outrage that always follows." Where was Mr. Damschroder's outrage when his own House speaker, William Batchelder, R., Medina, had collected more than $500,000 in pension payments from the Ohio Public Employees' Retirement System while collecting hundreds of thousands in his legislative salary over the last few years?
Where was Mr. Damschroder's outrage when he became aware 16 of his fellow General Assembly members receive a state pension and paycheck? Where was Mr. Damschroder's outrage when Gov. John Kasich, who also often rails against the evils of double dipping, hired at least seven cabinet members who are double dippers.
Mr. Damschroder, a successful businessman, seems to have no problem accepting his taxpayer-provided $60,584 salary as a part-time state representative but, under his proposal, a widowed, retired librarian couldn't accept a job as a teacher's aide because she wouldn't be able to collect her pension benefits.
A retired policeman whose family finances were devastated by his wife's bout with cancer couldn't accept a job as a school custodian because he wouldn't be able to collect his pension benefits, yet Mr. Damschroder's political allies would be free to continue their double dipping ways under this new, flawed bill.
Mr. Damschroder was quoted in Dayton Daily News as saying, "Retire means to stop working. That's what a pension is for." If you truly believe that, Mr. Damschroder, and if you are truly a man of your word, you should formally call for Speaker Batchelder to step down from his post and resign his elected position and return home to Medina to enjoy the fruits of his retirement benefits. If you cannot do that, sir, you're truly shown that House Bill 388 is nothing but an attack on Ohio's hard-working middle class. Perhaps you should listen to the words of the highly respected former Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton, now police chief in Genoa, who chooses not to double dip but doesn't criticize others for doing so. "It's their pension, it's the money they paid into it," according to Bratton. Wise words, chief.
Mr. Damschroder would be wise to listen to them and withdraw his misguided bill.
Bill Young, Green Springs
Democratic candidate for Ohio House of Representatives 88th District