IT TAKES CHUTZPAH to accept an early-retirement buy-out from a $68,400-a-year Baltimore City job and then take a similar high-paying position in another municipal department. Retiring recreation superintendent Bob Wade, the former Dunbar High and University of Maryland basketball coach, almost succeeded in that double-dipping scam. Who can blame a guy for trying?
Even more infuriating than Mr. Wade's audacity are the roles his boss, parks and recreation director Marlyn Perritt, and his would-be boss, school superintendent Walter G. Amprey, played in this scheme. They knew all about Mr. Wade's double-dip game plan but concealed it from Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.
This incident vividly demonstrates that at a time when some city administrators are trying to find innovative ways to trim the bloated municipal bureaucracy and avert a budget disaster, others are busily spending money from such savings. Splitting hairs, they argue that Mr. Wade could take a new job because it would not be in the same pension system as the one from which he retired.
He's still a double-dipper and they're still adding to the city's payroll.
Since most of Mr. Wade's career was spent at Dunbar High School and the University of Maryland, he was able, after joining the city parks and recreation department in 1990, to transfer those years from the state retirement plans to the city's system. If he gets that full-time job as director of interscholastic sports for Baltimore schools, he would rejoin the state retirement plan for educators and start all over again. Such manipulation of the pension system should not be tolerated.
A clear line must be drawn in the Wade case so that other retiring city officials will not try to circumvent the rules. There are plenty who would want to double-dip. That's why the city budget office has issued a rule that restricts the contractual hiring of retirees in a "critical" function to 90 working days. This should include Bob Wade's "critical" education job, too.
Pub Date: 8/15/96