Sheriff candidate promises to donate pension if elected | News
Clearwater, Florida -- Everett Rice is making a campaign promise.
"I'm going to donate my pension to charity," he announced outside the old Pinellas County Courthouse on Monday.
Not wanting to be labeled a double dipper, Rice says he'll give his annual state pension of $106,764 to the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranch if elected as Pinellas County Sheriff again.
Rice has been collecting a state pension since he first retired as Sheriff in 2004.
"Though I spent 30 years at the Sheriff's Office earning that pension, I refuse to be named a double dipper. So in order to remove that issue of being a double-dipper I've decided to give my pension to charity."
However State Senator Mike Fasano, who has led the charge to curtail double dipping, says what Rice is doing still doesn't save taxpayers a dime.
Fasano points out if elected, Rice will still collect a 6-figure salary plus a 6-figure pension, all at taxpayer expense. Rice admits only after getting his taxpayer funded pension check would he then make a donation.
Fasano notes because Rice would still be cashing both checks before making a donation, he's simply sidestepping the issue. What would help, Fasano says, is if Rice would adjust his salary if elected.
"He is not, in my opinion, doing the best thing for the taxpayer and that is just say, 'Look, I'll continue to get my pension because he's earned that, but I won't be that double dipper, that any salary that I get I'll refuse it and take $1 a year and give that double dipping if you will that others are taking advantage of back to the taxpayers,'" Fasano said.
"For Fasano to say that by me not keeping my pension doesn't save the taxpayers money, that's just wrong. The Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranch has the best track record of helping our neglected and unwanted children," Rice responded when told of Fasano's idea.