By Richard Billies of WasteFraudandAbuse.org
My late father used to say that public officials were feeding at the public trough with high benefits. In those days, the salaries weren’t so high but as public workers unionsgained power that too changed.
We have recently seen various attempts by state governments to rein in the power of public workers unions by changing the rules of collective bargaining, most particularly in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. But part of the problem may be with the salaries and benefits of higher public officials.
Many of us have heard about the scandal in the city of Bell, California in 2010. The salary and benefits of the Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo was $787,637, with annual 12 percent raises Bell paid its police chief $457,000, more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck makes in a city of 3.8 million people. Bell council members earn almost $100,000 for part-time work.
Eventually, 8 public officials were indicted and charged with a variety of charges that ranged from misappropriation of public funds and conflict of interest. Rizzo was charged with 53 separate counts. Their trials are still pending.
Then, we have the average total compensation of policeman in Oakland, California was an outrageous $188,000 per year. Or the average salaries of the top ten San Francisco police officials was $332,926. California seems to be the most generous state in the Union with the highest compensation. No wonder they’re $25 billion in debt.
How about the New York City bureaucrat who received a salary of $225,000 while receiving a $316,245 pension? The superintendent of a Long Island school district is receiving the impressive salary while collecting his pension from a previous superintendency.
Moving slightly to the west, there is a New Jersey Turnpike employee with a base salary of $73,469 earned $321,985 when all payouts and bonuses were included. An audit of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the Garden State Parkway in 2010 found that toll dollars were spent on items ranging from an employee bowling league to employee bonuses for working on birthdays and holidays. All while tolls were being increased.
Hankin’s total annual compensation comes to $537,767, including retirement funds and fringe benefits. Expenses include use of a “late-model car” and gas. She can also do outside consulting on her time off.
In addition to barring any cut in her current salary, Hankin’s 2011-16 contract says she’s entitled to a cost-of-living pay hike next school year, based on any increase in the Consumer Price Index.