Bill looks to end double-dipping in state government

A piece of legislation is challenging state employee's ability to double-dip.  House Bill 73, it's argued, is a common sense piece of legislation, creating more transparency while helping state taxpayers, but for some reason, has been stuck in committee for almost a year.

Double-dipping in Delaware goes back to 2009 when Nancy Wagner, a former state representative, was being paid by the state and school she taught for at the same time.

"I think it's something that should always be on the mind that we should have as much full disclosure as we can to the constituents that are out there, and that there's accountability for when these things do happen," said State Senator Brian Pettyjohn from District 19.

The bill is described as enabling legislation that would allow the public to ask the auditors office to double check state employees for double-dipping, or allow auditors to take matters into their own hands.

Lawmakers we spoke with say this is a way to cut unnecessary spending, but there is no way to know how much it will save taxpayers until the bill is law.

"Sometimes it might be a mistake, other times it might be something intentional, but either was this is something that we really should quantify and have a way to quantify if there is a problem," says Pettyjohn.

The bill also has financial implications years down the road, potentially impacting pensions or other benefits, says Representative Ruth Briggs-King, sponsor of the bill.

The problem with the legislation is it will have no chance to become law unless it comes forward for a hearing.  Something Briggs-King has been waiting for for almost a year, a violation she says of house rules stipulating a bill be brought for discussion within a 14 day window.

For the bill to be brought forward for a hearing, House Speaker Schwartzkopf must ask for a discussion on the bill.  47 ABC has reached out to Speaker Schwartzkopf for comment on the bill's delay, but we have not received a response.

Categories: Delaware, Local News