An Aug. 10 letter (“Michaud’s new plum job: spoils system in action?”) focused on Michael Michaud’s ability to collect retirement from multiple jobs and questioned his qualifications for a presidential appointment.

With a little research, I learned that Michaud’s nearly 30 years working in a mill, 22 years serving in the Maine Legislature and 12 years serving in Congress do qualify him for Social Security benefits and retirement benefits, based on wages he earned and/or contributions to funds. State and federal benefits are determined by a formula based on years of service and average of wages earned.

Millions of people hold full-time jobs while working second or even third jobs and have second careers that enable them to participate in retirement plans from more than one job. It’s not an exclusive club of “dippers,” but based on earnings from work performed.

With reference to pensions, “dipping” is mostly described as retiring and receiving a pension from a job and then receiving a salary for returning to work in the same job.

Michaud’s nomination for assistant secretary in the Department of Labor (not Defense) must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. It is unlikely this Senate will approve a nomination without scrutinizing the candidate’s qualifications.

According to numerous news articles and references, Michaud has consistently been an advocate for veterans, including working to pass legislation to provide scholarships for returning soldiers, co-sponsoring the Hiring of Veterans Act and bringing funding to Maine for Community-Based Outpatient Clinics.

The position he is nominated for is described as the focal point for veterans’ employment by preparing military members for transition to civilian employment. Based on this information, “sour grapes” seems more apt than – as the headline writer put it – “plums.”

Vicky McCully

Tenants Harbor