When you want to know one of the reasons why pension funds are going broke, consider the case of the 80 retired state troopers who were allowed to collect their pensions while being allowed to be back on the state payroll in a variety positions.

Eighty State Police retirees are back on the state payroll as full-time employees, according to a report by New Jersey Watchdog released today.

Their post-retirement jobs range from Homeland Security division director to deputy director of the New Jersey State Lottery — ringing up to a collective $12.8 million on the state payroll, the report said.

The investigation by the Red Bank-based watchdog group lists the "double-dipping" 80 troopers by name, current employer, annual salary and pension.

According to the report, the biggest paychecks go to:

• Drew Lieb, currently Homeland Security division director, who receives $226,144 a year — $130,000 in salary plus another $96,144 from pension.

• Dennis Quinn, Homeland Security's chief of staff, who banks $210,808 a year — $130,000 in salary while also drawing $80,808 from pension.

• Robert Cicchino, head of fiscal responsibility for the Department of Education, who gets $210,226 a year — $118,450 in salary and $91,776 from pension.

On average, re-employed State Police retirees earn $160,217 a year, according to New Jersey Watchdog.

The report said…"They take advantage of rules that encourage personnel to retire at relatively young ages — starting in their mid-40s — then collect benefits for the rest of their lives,".

Sen. Frederick Madden (D-Gloucester) told New Jersey Watchdog last year "It's basically a young person's job.

A former State Police deputy director, Madden is a "triple-dipper" who earns $241,000 a year ($85,272 from his State Police pension, $49,000 as a state legislator and $109,000 as a dean in charge of the police academy at Gloucester County College, the group reported last February).

He said….“Obviously, I don’t have a problem with people doing it,” he said in the report. “I’ve accepted that in my own personal life.”

A State Police spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Double dipping, or triple dipping in the case of Senator Madden is, quite simply, working the system. The rules are such that you can draw a pension from one state agency, and if you’re young enough like the aforementioned, still work for the state in another capacity.

In the case of Social Security recipients, there’s something called an “earnings test”, whereby you can work once you reach the age of retirement, but are only allowed to collect so much in order to get your Social Security. Or if you’re making over the allotted amount, you don’t collect anything till you completely retire, or reach the age of 70.

That is, unless the rules changed and the maximum age you’d be able to collect and work was raised.

In any event, double and triple dipping would be curtailed if there indeed was an earnings test in place.

After all, if the pension funds are to remain solvent, the practice of collecting a pension and working at the same time has to end.

I tell you what.

You must check out this article sent to me by George Imperatore, a good friend, who found this reprinted from Fortune Magazine regarding the current state of double dipping by public sector employees. It's rather lengthy, but it details how pervasive the practice of double dipping is within the public sector.

Then you wonder why we're in the shape we're in.

Should you be able to collect a state pension and still be able to work for the state in another capacity?

Andrew Burton, Getty Images