House Speaker Kirk Adams has withdrawn from the Elected Officials' Retirement Plan, saying he does not want to benefit from Arizona's best public-pension system when he is trying to overhaul it along with three other statewide retirement programs that also are financially troubled.
"I felt compelled to remove myself from the state retirement system. I felt it was important to put my money where my mouth was," said Adams, a vocal critic of the pension systems.
Even his campaign website states:
"....he personally opted out of the elected officials retirement plan, earning him recognition from the National Taxpayers Union."
Which might sound genuinely noble when you're about to announce your plans to run for Congress. What he is actually counting on is an ignorant electorate who doesn't know what Arizona law says about "opting out" of the state retirement system.
Here's what the law very clearly states:
A. All elected officials are members of the plan, except that a state elected official who is subject to term limits may elect not to participate in the plan. The state elected official who is subject to term limits shall make the election in writing and file the election with the board within thirty days after the state elected official assumes office. The election is effective on the first day of the state elected official's eligibility for that term of office. The election not to participate is specific for that term of office. If a state elected official who is subject to term limits fails to make an election as provided in this subsection, the state elected official is deemed to have elected to participate in the plan. The election not to participate in the plan is irrevocable and constitutes a waiver of all benefits provided by the plan for the state elected official's entire term, except for any benefits accrued by the state elected official in the plan for periods of participation prior to before being elected to an office subject to term limits or any benefits expressly provided by law.
Adams resigned three months later to run for Congress.
Let's do some math to see just how much Adams' noble generosity and leadership will save our state.
$24,000 annual salary
7% required contribution to pension plan
17.42% contribution by the state
Term eligibility starts January 2011
Adams resigns the end of April 2011 for a total of FOUR WHOLE MONTHS he did not participate in the pension plan.
Total savings for Arizona....$900.00
Wow. That's really "putting your money where your mouth is". Thanks Mr. Adams for your own personal sacrifice in trying to fix the state pension system. Although, it seems a little disingenuous to announce that you would "opt out" of the pension plan knowing you would resign four months later. Not to mention, since you had already hit the five year mark, you were already "vested" in the pension plan for the previous five years.
So, what about the other $30,000 that is still sitting in your pension?
Political theater at its finest.
Maybe we SHOULD take a closer look at the famous "Pension Reform Bill" that Adams claims he "authored".
You know, SENATE BILL 1609.
We're beginning to think Kirk Adams really CAN'T be trusted.