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The lawsuit the city filed against the Police Officers Association this week describes the controversial deferred retirement program Mayor Jerry Sanders seeks to eliminate this way:

Commonly referred to as “double-dipping,” …

Of course, this week, Sanders is facing his own “double-dipping” controversy, after the Union-Tribune revealed that the mayor began quietly taking his full salary when he started his second term in December.

During his first term, Sanders had only taken a portion of his salary because he was collecting his pension from his years in the Police Department. In the 2005 mayoral campaign, Sanders referred to the practice as double-dipping.

He recently told the Union-Tribune he doesn’t consider himself to be double-dipping by collecting his full salary and pension during his second term. From Craig Gustafson’s Wednesday story:

In May 2005, Sanders said he would not re-enter the pension system, according to news stories published then. The question-and-answer section of his campaign Web site had Sanders addressing the conflicts he might have over making pension changes as a member of the system.

His response: “If elected mayor, I will remove any position of conflict by not re-entering the pension system. Additionally, I will donate back to the city the portion of my mayoral salary equivalent to my pension benefits to eliminate any double dipping.”

Sanders said he doesn’t consider taking the full salary in his second term as double dipping.

“I think I work pretty hard for that money,” he said. “I felt like I sacrificed a lot. … I felt like I needed to set an example in that first term.”

RANI GUPTA

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