More Double-Dipping, This Time in Westminster

And the double-dipping rolls on…

Westminster Mayor Margie Rice and City Councilman Tyler Diep are taking taxpayer-paid health benefits from both the city and the Midway Sanitary District, records from the city and the Sanitary District show.

The records show Rice receiving $11,839.20 in cash annually in lieu of medical benefits from the city, and $8,570.48 annually from the Sanitary District, for a total of $20,409.

Diep is taking $11,839.20 in benefits from the city and $878.28 from the Sanitary District, for an annual total of $12,717.28 the records show.

The city provides benefits to council members through a cafeteria plan, which provides a set amount of money and allows the council member to choose how to spend it.

Rice acknowledged double-dipping, but said she has only been doing it for the past year because her and her husband’s health insurance costs went up.

She said she works hard and feels justified in taking the benefit from the Sanitary District and cash in lieu of the benefit from the city.

“I don’t think it is excessive for the work I do — I work hard,” she said. “If people want me not to have it…if the taxpayers think I shouldn’t get it…so be it — I’m not trying to rip anybody off”

A staffer in the City Clerk’s office did not know as of Friday afternoon if Diep was taking the benifit in cash

At the Sanitary District, both have served enough time to be eligible for lifetime medical benefits, the records show.

Diep could be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.

On Wednesday, Voice of OC reported that Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido was taking health benefits totaling about $33,000 from both Santa Ana and the Orange County Transportation Authority.

Taxpayers are also paying for two cars for Pulido. He gets a $500 monthly car allowance from Santa Ana, and he drives a retrofitted Toyota Prius courtesy of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.