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Policy change needed

Policy change needed

Wayne Hoffman
December 2, 2014
Wayne Hoffman
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December 2, 2014

It shouldn’t shock anyone that Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, would be considered a plausible candidate for a new job as director of the Department of Insurance. But that’s not why we care; we’re interested because this is what passes for normal in state government—lawmakers transferring from elective office to an appointment resulting in a bigger retirement benefit.

Cameron wouldn’t talk to our Dustin Hurst who, in his story last week, accurately captured weeks of scuttlebutt that Cameron, an insurance agent, is in the running to replace the insurance director, Bill Deal. Cameron told the Twin Falls Times-News, “I have not visited with the governor, nor have I submitted the required application.”

Cameron also told the newspaper, “If the governor asked, and I would be surprised if he did, I would certainly consider it. Anytime the governor asks, you should consider it,” Cameron said. “But I would also have to consider how it would affect my constituents, my seat (on) JFAC, my business and my family situation.”

All of this political intrigue is certainly interesting, especially to the people who live and breathe this stuff. But it misses the bigger point: State law makes it possible for politicians like Cameron to get a healthy payoff if they step away from their jobs as legislators in order to become full time, high-paid government employees. Hurst calculated that Cameron’s pension could inflate by up to $40,000 a year.

Too many legislators to count have made the switch from lawmaker to a government job. It’s a lucrative move, and others have taken similar roles. That’s also why all eyes are on Cameron. It’s also why this policy—that allows legislators to make such a move and reap such rewards—should change.

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