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$11 Million Here, $11 Million There, Pretty Soon You're Talking About Big Money

$11 Million Here, $11 Million There, Pretty Soon You're Talking About Big Money

By Jeff Wagner. CREATED Apr 24, 2014

 One of the many outrageous decisions made by Milwaukee County government over the last couple of decades has been the so-called pension "buyback" program.

This program allowed  County employees to "purchase" pension credit which turned ineligible service into pension worthy time.

For example, say an employee worked part-time for the County decades ago cutting grass in the parks.  This job did not include pension benefits.  Now imagine that 35 years later, the employee is a high paid administrator working for the County.  The buyback allowed him to pay a nominal fee and get credit for pension purposes from his decades-old work.  

Since the pension payments are based on the higher salary of the later years, getting credit for earlier years is a huge windfall.  Estimates suggest that this buyback may cost taxpayers up to $50 million.

Now it turns out that more than 200 Milwaukee County employees may have benefited to the tune of $11 million because of errors in the way they were allowed to purchase pension credits in the first place.  

As a result, the County says it will be aggressively trying to collect overpayments made over the last decade.

When the Social Security Administration tried to collect decades old overpayments that were made to the parents of current taxpayers, the public was outraged.  Will there be similar outrage over Milwaukee County trying to collect overpayments from the buyback program?

We'll discuss the issue during the 1 p.m. hour of Thursday's radio show.  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section - and be sure to check back later to hear a replay of the segment.

Jeff Wagner

Jeff Wagner

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Jeff Wagner recently completed his 15th year as a talk show host at 620 WTMJ. Jeff's show, which airs Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m., features stories which you might not have heard about elsewhere and emphasizes Jeff's common sense approach to issues.