AUGUSTA, Maine — There were more than 1,200 public employees in Maine who collected a salary and a state pension at the same time last year.

Ten of those so-called double dippers earned an average of $168,000 last year, according to data from the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. Seven were school superintendents. Eighty-six percent of the double dippers worked in education.

Maine Today Media reported that nearly 500 additional people collected a state pension while also earning a salary from a municipality.

Double dipping has come under increased scrutiny at a time of shrinking public budgets. Critics say some people are taking advantage of the system and thwarting the career advancement of talented younger workers.

Defenders say it keeps experienced and skilled employees in the work force.