Public employees also taxpayers

In his column in the Oct. 9 Hattiesburg American, Gov. Haley Barbour focused his anger at criticism of his Public Employees’ Retirement System study commission on “Democrats and some in the news media.”

He accused his critics of “fear-mongering” and an attempt to “scare” public employees “into voting Democrat during the 2011 legislative elections.”

The governor argues that the commission is needed to protect public employees’ future pension income because it is “under-funded.” In doing so he neglects to mention that the PERS board of trustees, consisting of current and former state and local public employees, the current state treasurer and the governor’s own chief of staff, are already charged with “carrying out the intent and purposes of the state legislature by establishing rules and regulations for the administration of PERS and the transaction of its business.”

Cecil Brown Column