Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Great Moments in Local Government

I'd say only a government would be stupid enough to sign a contract that obligates them to pay somebody more than $100K each year for doing nothing, though it's possible the corporate bureaucrats at the auto companies may have done something equally stupid in their deals with the UAW. But the real lessons to be learned here are, 1) that governments sign absurdly generous agreements with unions because they have no reason to be responsible when spending other people's money, and 2) what makes unions so destructive are not necessarily salaries, but rather the accompanying rules that make it all but impossible to weed out bad employees. In any event, here's a New York Post story that should anger all taxpayers:

A Queens teacher who collects a $100,000 salary for doing nothing spends time in a Department of Education "rubber room" working on his law practice and managing 12 real-estate properties worth an estimated $7.8 million, The Post found. Alan Rosenfeld hasn't set foot in a classroom for nearly a decade since he was accused in 2001 of making lewd comments to junior-high girls and "staring at their butts," yet the department still pays him handsomely for sitting on his own butt seven hours a day. ...The DOE can't fire him. "We have to abide by the union contract," spokeswoman Ann Forte said. So Rosenfeld simply collects his $100,049 salary -- top scale for teachers -- plus full health benefits and the promise of a fat pension, about $82,000 a year if he were to retire today. His pension will grow by $1,700 each year he remains. He could have retired at age 62, but he stays. He has also accumulated about 435 unused sick days -- and will get paid for half of them when he retires.

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