Retired teachers rehired and still receiving pension benefits: AG report

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Auditor General John Noseworthy just-released report has revealed more than 400 teachers receiving pension benefits while also being rehired and earning a salary.

Noseworthy’s report says 443 teachers earned $5.2 million in salary in 2009 while receiving pension benefits of $15.6 million.

“We examined a sample of 138 and found that, contrary to the Teachers’ Pension Act and/or Government policy, none had the required approval from the Minister of Finance, 60 were rehired for in excess of 65 days without having their pension benefits suspended, six were employed for three years through the use of multiple applications to the Minister of Education, and there were four instances where retired teachers were hired even though numerous non-retired teachers had applied,” wrote Noseworthy in the report.

In its response, the government’s Executive Council notes the government decided to eliminate mandatory retirement in 2007, allowing for the rehiring of pensioners, but acknowledged the need to better monitor compliance with the policy.

In a review of 138 instances of school districts applying to the education minister to rehire pensioners for full-time teaching positions, the auditor general also found:

• None of the 138 applications were approved by the finance minister, contrary to the Teachers’ Pension Act. The applications were instead approved by the education minister;

• Sixty teachers were rehired for more than 65 days, without having their pension benefits suspended, as required by the Teachers’ Pension Act;

• Retired teachers were hired for four positions, even though there at least 73 applications from non-retired teachers, in contravention of department policy.

Organizations: Executive Council

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Recent comments

  • Disappointed
    January 27, 2011 - 23:50

    If these teachers retire..then so be it. If they want to continue working some other type of work. If they return to these teaching positions regardless of the reason, then forfeit their pensions while employed as Teachers.

  • newteacher
    January 27, 2011 - 09:31

    As a new teacher myself, I can see the frustration with the fresher teachers coming up through. We have bills, student loans, mortgages, children, etc. to manage too. Teachers get decent pensions; too bad if you didn't manage your money well enough when you WERE teaching now that you have to hog jobs from newer (and probably more capable) teachers.

  • Anne
    January 27, 2011 - 00:07

    As a principal I can assure the general public that retired teachers were never called to substitute if a regular substitute teacher was available at the school I worked in. This policy was always preached to principals by our School District. The only times I have ever seen retired teachers being hired for positions were in the specialty areas such as Guidance or Music when applicants for those positions were not qualified and these retired teachers were only hired short-term until suitable candidates could be found. There were many times I was glad to have retired teachers available to substitute as the alternative would have been to possibly send the children home for the day. Substitutes are difficult to find especially if you live/work outside of the Avalon Peninsula. Many years there have been only one regular substitute available to sub among 4 schools so we depend on retired teachers to fill the void.

  • S. Howell
    January 26, 2011 - 23:19

    Well stated Mark! I agree, this IS theft, however I support the writer who stated that it may not be the teachers themselves but the higher ups within the Department of Education that need to be held accountable. Don, in regards to those who would not be caught outside the city... I know I am not only speaking for myself when I express that I am and have been willing to go anywhere in Newfoundland or Labrador and have applied for such positions (when they are actually posted) I would much rather be within an 8 hour drive to my aging parents and relatives than living where I am in Northern Alberta... 12-15 hours of travel... :( and big dollars each time there is an emergency back home.

  • Not surprized
    January 26, 2011 - 21:24

    Not a shock there are more crooks then you can shake a stick at out there.The new teachers don't have a chance the old cronies look after each other. Every day there is a new scandel what is wrong with people.Great job John Noseworthy expose them all.

  • don
    January 26, 2011 - 20:59

    The reason why this is happening is because city folk wouldn't be caught teaching in an outport and would rather stay in town and substitute for 20 years. Retired teachers settle in rural communities and there are no substitutes in the area so what other choices do administrators in (for example)Hr. Breton someone from St. John's to come out for a day. Look at John Dinn....teacher's pension, City of St. John's pension and yet people in Goulds/Kilbride decide to give him another $125,000 salary.....that I have a problem with.

    January 26, 2011 - 20:29

    I hope Mr. Noseworthy checks into the nursing practise as well, form what I understand retired nurses are hired for fill in's too...

  • S. Howell
    January 26, 2011 - 20:12

    I applied for every available teaching position within NL and hoped that with just a little more experience I would be a candidate. A call for an interview never came, and four years ago I too was forced out of the province to make a living in Alberta. I have been teaching on a full time contract for four years, yet I long to come back home. I continue to apply for teaching positions in NL and never receive as much as a courtesy no reply email thanking me for my resume ( last I checked even McDonalds did that much). All this time I have been waiting for the opportunity to move into a retired teachers position... now I fully understand why that call does not come. I do take this personally!

  • S. Howell
    January 26, 2011 - 20:09

    Following my passion, I completed two degrees at Memorial University to become a Junior/ Senior high teacher. I LOVE my career and have never had a second thought regarding my career aspirations. Sadly, I cannot love my career within the province that I call home. Four years ago I too had to bid goodbye to my family as I was a brand new teacher with a substantial student loan debt to pay back. On average I received about one -two calls weekly for sub work. Though grateful for the work and experience, it surely was not enough to make my loan payments and keep the bill collectors at bay. continued...

  • S. Howell
    January 26, 2011 - 20:07

    When applying to the faculty of education, I heard many warnings from friends and relatives ... “don’t go into that” they’d say “ Sure there’s no work in this province in teaching... look at your brother, had to move so far away”...Still, there were others who commented “within the next 5-10 years they say many of our current teachers will be retiring and making room for the new recruits, go ahead girl you’ll make a fine teacher” (At least some parts of that statement was accurate!) continued...

  • carl
    January 26, 2011 - 20:05

    Good job Mr. Noseworthy, a family member of mine has been teaching for the past 17 years, but has to apply for a teaching position most every year. Keep checking you will uncover other friend to friend favours. By the way the new teacher is trained in new teaching procedures now used, in schools, why not pass this on to the sdudents?

  • S. Howell
    January 26, 2011 - 20:05

    “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know...don’t take it personal” Fifteen years ago I watched as my older brother, seven years my senior, packed his bags and moved to the USA to pursue his career in education. At that time I was just graduating high school, but I knew in my heart that there would be no other career as suited for me as the profession of teaching. continued...

  • ex-teacher, not by choice
    January 26, 2011 - 20:00

    For six years I have been trying to find a teaching position, with no luck so in order to feed, house and clothed myself and my children, I had to give up any hope of a teaching career to take a low paying job. I contatacted Darin King last month with concerns about hiring practices and was told that there was an investigation done that found that all teachers that had been hired had been done so fairly. This report shows how untrue that statement was. Lilly Cole says sometimes there is no choice but to hire retired teachers because they can't get teachers to go to rural communities. Last summer I applied for every job, classroom and special education,everywhere I could, including rural communities and up in Labrador, yet I received not one interview. Mr. Noseworthy used an example of how 4 positions, in which a total of 73 teachers applied for, went to retired teachers. There are many, many, many wonderful teachers in our school system, however, there are teachers who are teaching with little or no experience, not quilified to teach in certain areas (ie teaching special ed without a special ed degree) or who are in it for nothing but the money.

    • Substitute teacher
      February 08, 2011 - 10:12

      I can relate to the overwhelming frustration many ex-teachers and current substitute teachers are experiencing. I have been substitute teaching in the metro area for over 8 years and have 3 degrees. I apply for many postions each year, but can not seem to get an interview even for the 0.25 time positions. I have went down to the board office to ask why I am not even getting pool postion interviews, while I know of other teachers with fewer years in the system and who do not have their special education degree getting interviews!! Also, I have made appointments to speak with a human resource officer at the Eastern School District office in person, but they always call back and tell me over the phone that its no need to come into the board office because they can reassure me that they "HIRE ONLY THE MOST QUALIFIED AND SUITABLE CANIDATE for all positions". I guess they use their own interpretation of this statement - meaning who they know best!! Also, as a substitute, I can not believe the archival sysytem that is used today in the 21st century for hiring substitute teachers. That is, its a system frought with favortism and nepotism that I experience each time I get a call to substitute for a day or two a week. For example, the vice -principal or dept head calls who they want to sub, regardless of their years of experience or specialty. In fact, its very common to see a new teacher right out of MUN, with no special education credentials, sub for a special ed teacher who happens to be their mothers friend or husbands hockey buddy. Now, I am not the one to complain without offering solutions that may remedy this huge problem. First, what substitute teachers need is a public sector union similar to the nurses NLNU, NAPE and CUPE. We have a professional association, but we all know that the NLTA is an association that takes care of its tenured staff with their primary mandates of pension indexing and professional development and not new and incoming teachers concerns of fair hiring practises.We all heard Lilly Cole NLTA president say there is nothing wrong with how teachers are hired.So, If we had a union, then new teachers would be hired based upon hours of accumulated seniority and educational qualifications for a particular position.This would remedy the problem of 1st and 2nd year teacher coming out and getting positions ahead of you more experienced and qualified teachers. Secondly, to overcome the problem of favortism in calling substitute teachers, there should be a central agency established apart from the vice-principal to call those on the sub list based on date of hiring and speciality. If those subs are not available then you get who you can to fill in.BASICLY, I AM PREACHING THAT ONLY THOSE WHO PAY THEIR DUES SHOULD BE REWARDED A CAREER AS A FULL TIME TEACHER OR SUBSTITUTE!!!!! NOT THOSE WHO KISS THE RIGHT ASS OR HAS A FAMILY/ FRIEND CONCECTION>. It is only fair to the public to spend their taxes appropriately by hiring only those who have the experience and qualifications to teach their children. Other wise it is a gross mismanagement of public funds.

  • mary
    January 26, 2011 - 19:30

    I keep hearing and reading that many new/young teachers can't get positions. My question is, How many of them are applying for positions in rural NL? I suspect that much of this "double-dipping" is a result of noone else available to fill the position, willing to take on the part-time/ temp job and/or a limited list of substitute teachers. If the advertised position is only 1/2 time it is very difficult to get applicants - unless the job is in a larger center. As for teachers working after retirement, that in and of itself is no different than any other profession, occupation. Many people work past retirement and many employers now find they have to rely on retirees' in order to keep their doors open.

  • Bill
    January 26, 2011 - 19:10

    Government can easily fix the problem by implementing legislation to dock pension paid for each day a salary is paid. In rural areas where qualified substitutes might not be available, I am sure a retired teached would be happy enough to recieve a regular day's pay rather than a pension day's pay. But since Government is slack as reported by the AG, teachers simply collect both day's pay as the District and Department are not on the ball in spending taxpayers money. So put the blame where it belongs, on the Districts and department of Education.

  • Dwayne
    January 26, 2011 - 19:09

    Don't blame the teachers people!! They are human. Like anyone else, if an opportunity presents itself and there is a dollar to be made, then it's likely (provided you aren't too lazy to get off your A@#) that you or I or anyone will take advantage of the opportunity. IF you feel this is totally wrong, then blame the people who presented the opportunity to the teachers.

  • Bob
    January 26, 2011 - 18:46

    So far it looks like there is abuse by teachers, govt employees (fed, prov and mun), EI recipients, people on Worker's Comp, welfare recipients, church employees, charitable organization employees. What's left? ... private industry ?? (how many are charged with tax evasion??) The news has been filled the past few years with stories of teens in trouble. Where do they learn to lie and steal ??

  • Unemployed Teacher
    January 26, 2011 - 18:34

    I am in exactly the same position as Jennifer. I am a teacher by trade, but cannot get enough sub time to pay the bills, so for 4 years I worked in retail full time just so I could have a consistent paycheck in order to make student loan payments. I still have at least 10 more years of student loan payments to make, yet I cannot get work in my field. I have no experience so am not considered for any of the positions that come up. I am angry and disappointed that retired teachers are allowed by government and the NLTA to double dip when there are so many of us in the province who struggle trying to get a foot in the door. It's disgusting.

  • Heather
    January 26, 2011 - 18:15

    Absolutely disgusting! I had to leave teaching because I could not even get an subbing days and yet their are the schools hire retired teachers to get a salary on top of their pension. Talk about hiring "friends of friends". It's the fault of the vice-principals or the other people that do the calling in for sub days...that's how the retired teachers get back in there!

  • Mark
    January 26, 2011 - 17:40

    "Contract to the teachers pension act--------policy", To me this is the same as saying it was AGAINST THE LAW -no different than fraudelent behaviour for eg. working and not reporting income to EI or getting income support and working, or deliberately not paying child support by working cash labor. ALL CRIMINAL ACTIVITY / FRAUDELENT/ THEFT . Only difference is lower class individuals with poor representation are sent to Prison. If teachers who are teaching our children STEAL, it's no wonder those same children are convicted of crimes later in life and sent to jail.

  • Fedup
    January 26, 2011 - 16:48

    When are the government officials we elected going to start doing their job ? Too many people are suffering ; strikes ,walkout and lockouts .Who is the one that suffers the most ...........the working poor ...they go to work every day to earn an honest days wages ...yet they still get kicked in the teeth. Shame on our Government for not having the balls to do the job they were elected for.... I wonder how you live with yourself everyday ....:((((

  • Randy
    January 26, 2011 - 16:30

    Now we know why you retired Mr. Williams. You wanted to get out before Mr. Noseworthy released his report. Lets all watch together as this government tries to spin its way out of this one and many others to come. Thanks again Mr. Noseworthy, great job as always.

  • Advocate
    January 26, 2011 - 16:26

    The critics should interview a retired teacher. With stacking removed from the teacher pension there are educated, hardworking retired teachers who have dedicated their lives to the teaching profession and are now living close to the poverty line. Not sure if people realize it or not, but teachers contibute dearly to communities, economies and deserve to live a respectable lifestyle as a result. Just as any working contributing member of society. If that means they have to work after retirement, then so be it.

  • Disgusted
    January 26, 2011 - 15:19

    I am absolutely disgusted with this! How mean and greedy of retired teachers to continue to work and rob new teachers of the much needed and required experience! I personally had to leave the profession, which I loved as I could not make a proper wage subbing a day here and there to support my family. Shame on the greedy!

    • Anonymous
      January 26, 2011 - 20:10

      I, too, am a teacher and to be quite honest, am not surprised by this at all. I have been out for a few years and the thought of a permanent position seems up to 10 years away. It is instances just like these that make our school district look like a joke. You have MUN spouting "retirements, retirements!" and pumping out a couple of hundred teachers a year, very few of who will actually get jobs in Newfoundland, let alone an urban city in this country. Out of my graduating class alone, at least 10% have had to leave Canada. Not only do we need TWO degrees to begin, this is only the start. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we shouldn't need 3 or 4 degrees just to get a start in life. Why are they still spouting retirement when retired teachers are the ones sucking up jobs? There are enough qualified teachers who love their profession to pick from, believe me. "Disgusted," It is sad that you have been forced to leave, but I completely understand because I, myself, am seeing the necessity of it in the very near future.

  • bt
    January 26, 2011 - 15:17

    Now check out the welfare and EI system and shock the hard working residents of Newfoundland. This would not be meant to stereotype but would open some eyes.

  • geeee whizzzz
    January 26, 2011 - 15:10

    shure city council workers do it too ..retired workers work in city parks throughout summer ...DUH been going on for years !!!

  • mary jane
    January 26, 2011 - 15:07

    these people are real criminals that are teaching our children. we all no there will be no jail time. So I sentence you for TWO weeks detention.

    • Mother of new teacher
      January 26, 2011 - 21:33

      My daughter has spent close to $40,000.00 to obtain two degrees from Memorial University; one of those degrees is a teaching degree. She has been substitute teaching for four years with no hopes in sight of obtaining permanent employment. NOW I CAN SEE WHY!!!!! This practice of rehiring retired teachers and also paying their pension is not acceptable and should be stopped. Another example of government employee’s scamming the taxpayer’s dollars. SHAME ON YOU.

  • Nik
    January 26, 2011 - 14:40

    It's not an over sight this is how government help "friends of friends"........

  • robert
    January 26, 2011 - 14:36

    Yes it is shocking!!! Teachers from this province going out westt or up North after retirement working there. But, Clyde WElls when premier did this to the teachers, while he created his own position!!!!

  • Sparky
    January 26, 2011 - 14:33

    Thats not a big deal Mr.Noseworthy, just wait until you find-out : how many are recieving Worker's Compensation becase of Stress in the workplace & still are working at a teaching position & other jobs!, those are the one`s you need to uncover!, they have the system all figured-out: brothers names: brothers address: brother splites the Income Tax Refund with him! Those are the people that need tobe caught!

  • Jennifer
    January 26, 2011 - 14:19

    This frustrates me to NO end. I am a well educated person, who works hard for a living. I am a teacher by trade and had to give it up because there was no way I could make a living substituting, and without that experience, no chance to get a full time position. You've retired, now keep your hand out of the cookie jar, or at least ask the proper permissions!

  • Jim
    January 26, 2011 - 13:19

    You can be a have province and yet the same old story in NL. Patronage capital of the world. This song is so old in NL.

  • Eastcoast
    January 26, 2011 - 13:17

    Finally! Thank goodness John Noseworthy has brought this out to the public's attention! I personally know someone who has graduated from Education and has moved back to Corner Brook hoping to get a position there or at least substitute work and guess who's getting the calls? Retired teachers! So the Department of Education can't use the excuse that there are no substitutes available other than the retired teachers, that's simply not the case in Corner Brook for sure! These new "teachers" are afraid to speak up because then they won't get any calls at all. Shame on you retired teachers for taking away the opportunity for these fresh and eager teachers to start up their careers! You've had your opportunity - if you want to keep working, go to Kent's or somewhere else, leave the teaching to the new recruits! Shame on you and shame on the principals for calling them in the first place! Thank you John Noseworthy.

  • Shannon Reardon
    January 26, 2011 - 13:12

    Furthermore, this might just be the tip of the iceberg regarding all the Tory cronyism and law-breaking, in effect, if you read the article where the Finance Minister was supposed to, BY LAW, approve these hires of retired teachers, but, no, no, King Darin did instead. Oh my. Make ya sick. Danny, speaking of Kings, is gone so now the muzzles are off (the AG is far less mute now) and the dirt is coming out. The dirt so many of us knew for years was there when everyone else was too busy guzzling the blue freshie.

  • Shannon Reardon
    January 26, 2011 - 13:06

    Then Education Minister, King Darin, is from Grand Bank, and I had a nightmare first year out down there. All in cahoots, these guys. No wonder new teachers, and there are many, cannot get jobs. DISGUSTING. The Tory mantra: "Always reward your friends." Oh, "And shag the law."

  • robroy
    January 26, 2011 - 12:56

    ok so who is responsible for this oversite and who pays back the money there have got to be some accountability here

  • Earl
    January 26, 2011 - 12:40

    So what. Politicans have been double dipping for years e.g Brian Tobin but they don't get an audit, most who receive a pension at 45 yrs of age then go back to work with the Government collecting both a salary and a pension. If they don't want retirrd teachers re-hired part time or otherwise then hire full time staff. How are our kids going to home.