Coons Abused County Pension System for Political Payoffs

28 Sep

According to Ron Williams in The News Journal, when Chris Coons served as the President of the County Council, he diverted untold millions of taxpayer dollars as payoffs to his political buddies and top staff.  Coons did this by exploiting a loophole in the county’s pension program.

The loophole was originally meant to attract new county police officers, but Coons decided to use it as a cash cow to pay off his political hacks:

It started as a legitimate way to recruit experienced cops onto the then-fledgling New Castle County Police Department. Municipal police officers with a few years service in say, Newport, could join the county force and get those Newport years credited toward a county pension. Then credited years were expanded into government service, still not a bad idea for high level, politically appointed executives who seldom accumulated enough time for a pension before the next administration came in. But then something went very wrong. The New Castle County pension plan became a cash cow for every political hack and hangers-on in various administrations. Come work for the county for a few years, purchase pension credits at your old lower salary at 5 percent on the dollar and retire at a nice fat pension on your new six-figure salary. (Ron Williams, Op-Ed, “NCCo Pension Plan Was The One To Die For,” The News Journal, February 14, 2007)

Coons likes to brag about how he closed the loophole, but, not surprisingly, he leaves out the embarrassing part where he grandfathered in his buddies, wasting untold millions of taxpayers hard-earned cash:

But as he wrote in an op-ed piece this week, Coons has closed the ‘loophole’ that contributed to that burden. First, however, he saw to it that his buddies and top staff people — and all six of the new County Council members and their staffs — were grandfathered under that loophole which has, and will, cost taxpayers millions of dollars.” (Ron Williams, Op-Ed, “NCCo Pension Plan Was The One To Die For,” The News Journal, 2/14/07)

Coons wasn’t just a member of the County Council when he decided to divert millions to pay off his buddies–he was the President of the Council:

[Coons] was president of the County Council, which spearheaded the effort to open the pension plan for employees who wanted to buy into it and apply other government time to their seniority.” (Ron Williams, Op-Ed, “Democrats Are Targeting Castle’s Seat,” The News Journal, February 18, 2007)

Given the propensity of DC fat cats to divert earmarks and so-called stimulus funds to pay off favored political constituents, is Coons really the right person to be sending to the Senate to continue his bad behavior?

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