FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 28, 2018
WEBER COUNTY LOOPHOLE ALLOWED BIG PAYOFF TO ELECTED OFFICIAL
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, Alliance for a Better Utah called on a former Weber County Commissioner to pay back a portion of his retirement incentive. Former Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson benefited from a loophole in a retirement benefits policy that he helped create in 2014 and received a lump sum of $64,494.60 from taxpayers upon his resignation from elected office in June.
“We are asking former Commissioner Gibson to refund the taxpayers the large amount of money he received as a result of this unfortunate loophole,” said Katie Matheson, Better Utah communications director. “Most Weber County residents are likely unaware this loophole exists, but we have no doubt they would be strongly opposed to this policy which allows retired elected officials to collect a lump sum of money in lieu of retirement health benefits, resign from office, and then become eligible for health benefits from another taxpayer-funded government job, as former Commissioner Gibson has.”
Currently, Weber County policy allows retiring elected officials and employees to collect health benefits for five years post-retirement. As of 2014, Weber County elected officials are given the option to collect a lump sum payout in lieu of the health benefits. County Commissioner Kerry Gibson, who voted to enact this policy, resigned in June of this year and collected a lump sum payout from taxpayers of $64,494.60 instead of benefits. Upon resigning, Gibson took a job with the State which offers health benefits.
“The Weber County Commission today voted to amend this policy,” Matheson continued, “but has failed to close the loophole. Other elected officials will still be able to exploit this cash payout policy, as it will not begin to phase out for another five years.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.