Eachus collects sizeable legislative pension
HARRISBURG - Former House Majority Leader Todd Eachus started collecting a $2,864 monthly pension last fall nearly two years after he left office, according to records released by the State Employees' Retirement System following a Right-To-Know request filed by The Times-Tribune on Dec. 31.
Eachus, a former Luzerne County lawmaker, received his first monthly payment retroactive to Sept. 26, 2012, the date of his 50th birthday. The payments amount to more than $34,000 over a year. Eachus lost his re-election bid in 2010 to Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-116, Butler Twp. He was first elected to the House in 1996. Eachus was named chief external affairs officer last November for Opportunity Finance Network, a Philadelphia-based firm that provides financial opportunities for businesses in disadvantaged communities.
Eachus was born Sept. 26, 1962, according to the 1997 volume of The Pennsylvania Manual.
A lawmaker over age 50 with at least three years of experience qualifies for a full pension without an early retirement reduction, said SERS spokeswoman Pamela Hile on Monday.
In addition to the monthly payment, Eachus received $96,478 in a lump-sum pension payment from SERS.
SERS rules give retirees the option of collecting a lump sum reflecting any portion of the salary withheld from their paychecks over the years along with 4 percent interest.
State lawmakers have a defined-benefit pension plan based on salary, years in office and their own contributions, something disappearing in the private sector where 401(k) plans built on a mix of contributions from employees and employers are most common.
Efforts to reach Eachus for comment were unsuccessful.
A Capitol activist said allowing lawmakers to retire at 50 with full pension benefits after only working 13 years is not fiscally sound.
"This is a pension Ponzi scheme that can not be sustained," said Eric Epstein, co-founder of Rock The Capital, a Harrisburg-based government reform advocacy group.
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