News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Monday, March 19, 2018

McCabe didn't lose his pension, it was vested at 5 years-Forbes...Head of FBI OPR was appointed by Eric Holder. Assisitant was appointed by Robert Mueller

12/23/2010, "Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the appointment of Robin C. Ashton to serve as head of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) at the Department of Justice."

"Candice M. Will was appointed by Director Mueller to be the Assistant Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in August 2004," fbi.gov
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3/17/18, "No, Andrew McCabe Isn't 'Losing His Pension'," Forbes, Elizabeth Bauer, contributor

"Pensions--public as well as private--are required to meet certain vesting requirements, and, in fact, the FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System) benefits vest at five years, meaning that benefit accruals cannot be taken away.
 
In fact, McCabe is all of 49 years old, likely 50 by the time readers see this, and what he lost out on was, as CNN much more calmly recounts, the ability to take his benefits at age 50, rather than somewhere between age 57 and age 62, and he lost his eligibility to a special top-up in benefit formula.  These are, admittedly, tangible financial losses, but it is grossly misleading that various news outlets are giving the general public the impression that he has lost his pension entirely.

But the existence of these special perks, benefits that we in the private sector can barely comprehend in the year 2018, points to a fundamental disconnect between the private and public sector.  

Why shouldn't someone whose benefits consist of 401(k) account accruals believe that government pensions work so differently as to punish someone arbitrarily by removing their benefits?  Add to this the fact that retirement at age 50 is well-nigh incomprehensible for the average working American, except perhaps in the case of high-risk, health-sapping occupations, which surely likewise added to the impression that actual pensions, rather than generous ancillary provisions, were being lost.
 
Yes, the rationale for these generous pension benefits is that these civil servants accept significantly lower salaries than they would be able to earn in the private sector. But this exchange of "low salaries now, rich retirement benefits later" is a matter of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" that isn't wise in the long term, either.

UPDATE:  On Saturday evening, the Washington Post reported:

"Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) announced Saturday afternoon that he has offered McCabe a job to work on election security in his office, “so that he can reach the needed length of service” to retire." 

According to the Post's experts, McCabe "would need to just go to work with the federal government for another day or so in any job he pleases," although "it would probably look more ethical if McCabe worked for at least a pay period rather than just one day."  And, due to the nature of federal pensions and their portability from one position to another, this sounds credible -- though at the same time, well, I'm from Illinois, a state with a long list of examples of pension spiking, ghost employees, and other ways that public officials have manipulated public pensions, so it doesn't sit right with me.

In addition, according to a helpful twitter exchange, the particular nature of McCabe's pension benefits condition age-50 retirement eligibility on primary law enforcement employment, not just general federal government employment, at age 50; what's more, being terminated "for cause" wholly eliminates eligibility for special age-50 retirement, according to 5 U.S.C. § 8412."

"(Note that this column is based on the information available to me; if any part of it proves incorrect, I will update as needed.  If you wish to comment, please visit janetheactuary.com)"






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I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.