Friday, April 2, 2010

The public sector 100K club

The Ontario government recently release their disclosure of employees making more than $100K   Who made the list?  A crapload of people.  Reading the list I'm convinced that the bulk of our government is made up of middle managers, board members who presumably get a sweet appointment to meet monthly, to do God knows what,  and a bunch of lawyers.  Heck, over 1200 nurses make over 100K per year, as well as a significant number of police officers.

Even the MSM has went through and ranted about some of the more peculiar job titles that fall into the club.

In addition to the usual suspects, there are dog handlers, plumbers and many blue-collar workers in the ranks. A common trait that ties them together is a penchant to be just a tiny bit defensive.
“Oh look, a traffic signal foreman makes $100,000,” said Frank Lalli, a traffic signal foreman from Hamilton who made $114,402 last year.
Lalli, who is on call 24/7 every second week, says he’s married to the city. Sometimes, he has to stay out all night long in bad weather to fix traffic lights.
“Every second week my life is upside down. I can’t go to a movie, I can’t go to Toronto, I can’t go to an event because you never know when you’re going to get called,” the 66-year-old said.
Reality to Lalli: YOU MAKE $114,402!  With full benefits/pension presumably IN ADDITION to your salary.  And you're being funded by THE TAXPAYER which increasingly is finding themselves without ANY JOB.  Unfuckingbelievable the utter sense of entitlement.
Bonnie Olmstead, a security guard at Ontario Power Generation’s Nanticoke station, knows it’s strange to see a security guard make $111,890. But her secret isn’t on-call shifts or midnight dates with traffic lights.
“I’m a mechanical millwright who got hurt, that’s why I make that kind of money,” Olmstead said from her home in Jarvis, Ont. “I certainly appreciate that the company looked after me.”
 No shit.  So you're basically saying you got a sweet job appointment because you can't do any real work anymore.  Great.  Why are you still being paid a ridiculous salary, shouldn't you be on disability making some (reduced) percentage of what you actually made previously (you know, because you aren't really doing "work" anymore?

Ontario's manufacturing base has been utterly slammed by the global recession and somehow the taxpayer and the private sector is expected to make up for the public sector's largesse.  Did I mention that Ontario is running a massive budget deficit?  For more on that, Mish has a good comparison of the state/provincial budget debacles of California and Ontario.

Of course it's not just federal and provincial/state budgets that are completely a basket case, municipal budgets are ridiculous as well.  Case in point: Toronto.  1329 Toronto police officers earn over $100K per year (article)

David Soknacki was reacting to the release of 2009 public sector salary disclosures that list 1,329 Toronto police uniform and civilian employees who last year earned more than $100,000 – a more than 30 per cent increase from the year before.
In 2008, 1,006 employees of the Toronto police service earned more than $100,000.
Those fattened pay cheques do not include lucrative "paid duty," where off-duty officers, paid by private companies, earn $60 to $70 an hour to perform such duties as directing traffic around construction.
"Politically, it's toxic" to question whether the city can afford to pay policing costs, said Soknacki, who left office in 2006.
"When money comes up for police, it's very, very difficult to push back.
Of course it's dificult to push back against any public union because they have a vested interest solely in their own benefits, and the hell with the taxpayer.   After all you can't put a price on:  public safety, your children's education, your health.  Funny how somehow this equates to endlessly spiralling costs for all of these services isn't it?

But of course the hypocricy doesn't stop there.  Let's say for argument's sake that a police officer is worth 100K (I don't believe this for a second, by the way) because they are valiantly sacrificing their own safety to protect the public.  After all THAT'S what we're paying for right?
Michael Thompson, who was paid $161,892, and Abdulhameed Virani, who collected $151,042, were among the 380 constables who topped the $100K club in 2009.
Thompson and Virani didn't rack up their overtime as homicide detectives on 24-hour call.
Instead, they nearly doubled their salaries – the base salary of a first-class constable is $87,500 – in large measure by writing traffic tickets that require them to make frequent court appearances.
Uniformed officers grumble privately that politicians don't mind because they generate income for the city.
Under the Toronto Police Association collective agreement, police officers who attend court as witnesses during a scheduled off day are paid a minimum four hours, at 1.5 times their basic wage, even if the appearance lasts 10 minutes. Officers receive three hours of pay at time and a half if they appear in court before a scheduled shift.
Hmm, so maybe it's not about public safety, it's about prosecuting minor traffic offenses and generating revenue for the government?  I wasn't aware that police services were a "for profit" operation.  Utterly ridiculous.  Not to mention, if the officers are so busy "serving the public" how come they can make extra pay working to direct traffic "on the side" for private companies at $60-$70 an hour.   And to be clear, you can't really blame the officers for making ridiculous overtime by writing tickets/going to court, as if the compensation package is specifically setup that way, you're not really encouraging officers to protect and serve, you're encouraging them to issue tickets and sit in court for a few hours.  I'm pretty sure you can find tons of people that are capable of doing this for much less than $100K per year...