Rep. Warren Petersen has crafted legislation that will have a chilling effect on public officials who illegally waste money and then walk away with lucrative benefits or severence pay. It’s HB2115 Simple, straightforward, brief. (This bill is scheduled to be heard Jan. 28 at 9:00 am in the Government and Higher Education Committee. See ACTION at the end of this article.)
Should a public official who is caught and terminated for fraudulently, lavishly spending taxpayer dollars on meals, travel, hotels, entertaining, etc., go on to receive lucrative payouts, annuities, pensions, and other benefits?
Rep. Warren Petersen doesn’t think so, and neither do the many other sponsors and co-sponsors of this excellent bill. HB2115 spells out that anyone who is found guilty would forfeit any future benefits. While there already are laws on the books against fraud and misappropriation of public funds, these cases don’t always get pursued as the official is fired or even allowed to quit.
HB2115 ensures that these public officials forfeit any future benefits. States Petersen: “All too often, those who are caught and terminated leave with lavish payouts, annuities, pensions and other benefits. Termination from a high position in government office should not be like winning the Lotto. Rewarding someone for bad behavior can only encourage more of the same.” See Petersen Seeks to Prevent Lavish Payouts to Errant Public Officials.
Two cases come to mind: