The deputy did nothing wrong. He did nothing immoral. He played by the rules that our Legislature wrote. Presumably, he won't start collecting his pension benefits for another six years.
But at that point, since he passed the 20-year mark in law enforcement, he can collect a full pension.
Yet he is not retiring. He is changing jobs. He is in his prime in law enforcement. A private security company hired him.
In the private sector, a man changing jobs after 22 years might be vested in a pension plan, if one existed, and could start collecting benefits when he turned 62 — maybe later. It depends on the plan.
Government needs to follow suit, and it should make no apology to its employees.
Nothing personal, but a system that allows people to start collecting a pension at 50 while they continue to work is expensive, and taxpayers cannot afford such extravagant benefits.
This is a problem throughout the United States. One estimate holds that the states have $3 trillion worth of unfunded liabilities in their pension plans.
That is $3 trillion not being used to build highways, modernize schools or even hire more government workers.
At a minimum, we must stop providing health insurance for retirees, especially the ones who retire before they are eligible for Medicare.
That would eliminate $10 billion in unfunded liability right there. At $10 million a mile, that $10 billion would pay for building 1,000 miles of roads in West Virginia.
Beginning with U.S. 35 northwest from the Buffalo Bridge.