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Outrageous salaries and payouts to public sector employees

Posted: July 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm   /   by

By Kimberly Morin

The Boston Herald posted a rather large list of the various payrolls, pensions and buyouts of public sector employees throughout Massachusetts. This information is available to the public because it is the taxpayers who are footing the bill. Public sector union contracts are also available to taxpayers for the very same reason. Before reading this you may want to either mix a drink or take a blood pressure pill because if you are a hard-working taxpayer in Massachusetts you are going to be outraged by some of the egregious salaries, pensions and buybacks that Democrats have given to the unions.

Years ago Massachusetts was promised that once the Massachusetts Turnpike was paid for the tolls would be taken down. Of course they weren’t and tolls have steadily risen. Politicians and bureaucrats will blame it on one thing after another but one thing they never seem to take a good hard look at are salaries. One Turnpike toll collector (yes a toll collector – the person who sits in the booth and takes your money and ticket and may have to give you change) made almost $100,000 with overtime in 2008. You read that right. A toll collector collected almost $100,000 in payment with your taxpayer dollars. That is just the salary. The amount does not include benefits or pension. You’ll be paying that insane amount as well. 

The toll collector isn’t alone though. A cashier at a Massport garage made almost $100,000 as well in 2011. The person’s base salary is almost $60,000. That works out to be around $28 per hour to sit in a booth and take money from people for parking. Again that amount doesn’t include benefits or pension. It’s not that these people don’t work hard but their jobs are not skilled labor positions nor would they even need a high school degree to perform their jobs. The outrageous pay is thanks to the public sector unions and the Democrats they elect and then ‘collectively bargain’ with for salary and benefits.

But wait that isn’t all. Those are just a couple examples of the egregious salaries that taxpayers are forced to fork over their hard-earned cash for every year. Pensions in Massachusetts are completely out of control. The largest pension on the state books is for a former UMass Medical School Chancellor and Dean to the tune of almost $250,000 per year. That’s correct, the person is raking in almost $250,000 (not including free medical care courtesy of the taxpayers) to do absolutely nothing. At least he didn’t retire until he was 71. Apparently in some public sector union employees are retiring in their twenties One must assume that the person went from one position to another but from the database records it looks as though these people retired and are collecting a pension already!

And finally to the excessive “buyback” policy Democrats in Massachusetts allow. This ridiculous benefit allows public sector employees to save up their sick time and vacation time for years without taking it. Don’t worry, they already get more sick time and vacation time than most in the private sector so rolling over days and weeks every year is no big deal. However when it comes to the excessive payouts, it’s a big deal. Massachusetts taxpayers paid $32.7 million in sick time/vacation time buybacks between 2003 and 2007. In the private sector, most companies have a policy of ‘use or lose’ when it comes to sick days and allow employees to roll over a week or 2 for vacation. Can you imagine the liabilities that would be on the books of the private sector if they had these types of massive buybacks?

It’s clear that Massachusetts is out of control. When a cashier is making $100,000 in a year, there is a serious problem with the system. The problem is unions and the Democrats they elect. You cannot collectively bargain in ‘good faith’ if the people you are bargaining with are the ones who bought your elected position. So while the two groups sit at the table and bargain for egregious and excessive salaries and benefits, the hard-working taxpayers of Massachusetts get shafted with the bill. It’s time the taxpayers wake up and learn just how cushy the deals are between unions and Democrats and remember that when voting for state representatives during the next election. Until Massachusetts boots out the hacks, you’re going to keep paying toll collectors and cashiers $100,000 a year.


Kimberly Morin is a policy researcher, Conservative commentator and political activist.

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Outrageous salaries and payouts to public sector employees