CHEROKEE, Iowa -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn't having a very relaxing retirement so far.
Perry faced questions Friday about a Texas Tribune investigation that found he "retired" from government service in January in order to access a monthly pension that nearly doubles his salary.
According to the story, Perry's lengthy time in state government, as well as his military service, combine to meet a threshold at which he can retire -- on paper -- as a general government employee without stepping down from his elected position. The move means that Perry adds to his regular $150,000 annual gross salary a monthly annuity of $7,698 before taxes.
The governor said Friday that the state's Employees Retirement System contacted him to inform him of the provision.
Asked to explain the details of the unusual rules that allow him to receive the large boost in taxpayer-funded pension pay, Perry said, "I don't know the system well enough."
"ERS called me and said, 'Listen, you're eligible to access your retirement now with your military time and your time in service,'" he explained. "I think it would be rather foolish to not access what you earned."