Although we still have not received the records from St Johns County Sheriff David Shoar concerning his “retired-then-rehired” public information officer, and long-time family member, Charles Edgar Mulligan, Historic City News has learned more about the scheme being employed to hide the records of Mulligan’s continued employment.
Actuaries scrambled over the past 10-years to figure out how to plug the holes in antiquated employee retirement plans that offered a pension, or “defined benefit plan”. One of the largest in the state, Florida Retirement System, was no exception. By 2008, plan administrators tried to reconcile portfolio values in a market where investment earnings fell to returns of fractions of 1% and eligible employees across the state were retiring younger and living longer.
The state began adopting “defined contribution plans” for retirement and moved away from traditional pension plans to relieve capital requirements during the toughest of the recession years. As an incentive for those employees currently in pension plans, FRS negotiated an option for eligible members to be awarded additional one-time payments at retirement if they would contract to leave employment and stop making contributions into their old pension plan within 5-years.
Mulligan was one of those who decided it was to his financial advantage to take the considerable one-time payment offered through the Deferred Retirement Option Program. He could retire from the sheriff’s office, a 52-year-old man, still young enough to have a second career — so long as that didn’t mean continuing a job at the agency where he would be contributing to FRS.
About seven years ago, SS Solutions LLC President Joshua Kass began selling a way around the requirements of the Deferred Retirement Option Program. The scheme involves creating a middle-man to “launder” the employment of former FRS member employees.
Kass and his salesman, Rick Burke, listed as Vice President on the company’s website, solicit agreements from exiting DROP employees to become new employees of SS Solutions LLC. The employee will be returned to their former employing agency under terms and conditions set by that agency. “We pay all the employee’s wages and required taxes and we invoice you for our services,” the website says.
So, instead of the taxpayer-funded agency paying the employee salary and payroll taxes, the agency pays all of that PLUS a commission to Kass, just so the former employee gets to keep their DROP payments. Is Mulligan the quality of employee that warrants the extra expense and scrutiny?
Mulligan was 22-years-old when hired on January 4, 1988. He retired being paid $85,161.00 a year, plus benefits, as a Commander. He was overlooked for promotion for twenty-five of his 30-years at the sheriff’s office.
Mulligan never advanced above the rank of sergeant until five-years-ago. In 2013, without explanation, Shoar finally gave his extended family member the promotion he had been denied during his entire career under Sheriff Neil J. Perry.
In the 2012 payroll records, Historic City News verified that Mulligan was only earning $58,903 a year as a Sergeant. Then, in the next budget year, beginning October 1, 2013, Shoar made Mulligan a Commander, kicking his paycheck into overdrive — $81,120.00 per year plus benefits.
“Be aware, this program is used selectively with final approval ultimately decided at the very top of the organization,” the SS Solutions website cautions employees considering asking their agency to participate in this re-billing scheme. “The use of this program is recognized as a viable option for agencies and DROP participants to consider; however, realize that the value of this is determined on a case by case basis.”
SS Solutions LLC was registered by Theresa Kass, its agent in 2009, acting for a company called Accounting Solutions of St Augustine, Inc. The name of the company originally was SOS Solutions LLC, and it’s two managing members were two more companies; Staffing of St Augustine, Inc., and SOS Consulting Services, Inc. In 2011 the name changed to SS Solutions LLC. The January 1, 2018 Annual Report for SS Solutions LLC (TIN 26-4055283) was filed yesterday, indicating that the two managing members are now Staffing of St. Augustine 2, LLC and SOS Consulting Services, Inc. The name signifying an electronic signature accepting the position of registered agent was left blank. Indicating that he was signing as a managing member, even though not listed, the annual report was signed by Joshua Kass.