To the editor:
In response to William Stratton's letter to the editor in Wednesday's Sentinel, one needs to look no further than our own Sentinel to find the credible reason for why the voters of Mifflin County should not re-elect Judge Searer.
On Monday, Oct. 7, The Sentinel printed an Associated Press article titled, "Report: Retired Pa. judges earn millions back on bench." This article explains how those who have reached senior judge status are able to perform part-time work in addition to collecting their pensions and receiving comprehensive health-care benefits - a practice commonly referred to as "double-dipping." The article states that the least amount made last year by a senior judge was $52,000 and the most was $176,000 for their part-time work. Again, to make it clear, in 2012 senior judges earned anywhere from $52,000 to $176,000 for part-time work and collected their pension and received comprehensive health-care benefits.
Going back a little further into The Sentinel archives, an article was written by Susie Kozar which ran on Friday, Oct. 24, 2003. This article provided coverage of the "Measure the Candidates" event 10 years ago. It states that Judge Tim Searer said more than once that this was, "most likely my last appearance" at the Farm Bureau function; implying that he would not seek another term. What changed his mind? The rules for achieving senior judge status changed. In 2012 the requirements changed so that Judge Searer now needs to spend a few more years on the bench to be eligible for the certification of senior judge.
Is Judge Searer deserving of a pension? I would not deny that for his years of service to Mifflin County, he is. But should he be voted back into a term of 10 years to fulfill just of few of those years so that he can then retire to collect that pension and health benefits and also earn a wage for part-time work that far exceeds what most Mifflin Countians make for full-time work? No, and I find this to be a perfectly credible reason for why I will not cast my vote for Tim Searer. I do not believe that Mifflin Countians should take part in this playing of the system that results in a further burden on the backs of taxpayers.
George Havice Jr.