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New gambling commissioner will work at reduce salary

Retired judge has a state pension

Retired Appeals Court judge James F. McHugh, who was appointed this week to the new state gambling commission, will work at a reduced salary on the panel while collecting a state pension for his 27 years on the bench, according to a spokeswoman for the commission.

McHugh, 68, retired about three weeks ago after serving as a Massachusetts Superior Court judge, from 1985 until 2001, and then as a member of the Appeals Court. His annual pension is $99,386, said Karen Schwartzman, spokeswoman for the gambling commission.

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Members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the formal name for the panel responsible for overseeing the development of casinos in Massachusetts and for regulating the industry, are paid $112,500 per year by law. The five commissioners - appointed by the governor, the attorney general, and the state treasurer - are expected to work full time on the panel.

“Double-dipping’’ is a common objection lodged against retirees who take new state positions while collecting public pensions earned in other state jobs.

In taking the commissioner’s post, McHugh suggested that he not collect the full salary on top of his pension, Schwartzman said.

Instead, he will be paid $35,000 per year as a full-time commissioner, she said. His reduced salary and his pension will total about $134,000 per year, which is the amount McHugh was earning as a judge, she said.

“The judge was aware it could be an issue and suggested this [reduced salary] as a solution,’’ she said. The governor’s office and the attorney general’s office reviewed the arrangement and concluded it was legal, she said.

Another gambling commissioner, Gayle Cameron, receives a pension of about $92,000 a year from New Jersey, where she worked for 28 years as a member of the State Police, retiring as a lieutenant colonel, said Schwartzman. Cameron will collect the full salary, Schwartzman said.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at marsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark.
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