Saturday, August 22, 2015

Departure Benefit Packages


For John, BLUFDoes the job market really require us to give this huge contract payout packages?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The [Lowell] Sun, via Reporter Amelia Pak-Harvey, we have "Lowell's payout to Lang: $91G in unused days".  That would be "outgoing Lowell Deputy Superintendent of Schools Jay Lang leaves the city with a $91,256 payout."  This amount comes from unused vacation and sick days.

To start off, it is Mr Lang's fair and square.  It is in his contract.

On the other hand, when I was in the Air Force I had no sick leave—although my duty location could be the hospital or "sick in quarters".  As for vacation (leave as we called it), I earned 30 day a year between June of 1964 and June of 1970, which would be 180 days.  But, you could not "carry over" more than 60 days of leave.

Frankly, after pilot training I had little time for leave—Two F-4 courses, Viet-nam and then Germany, where the squadron had 24 backseat pilots (PSOs as we were known, Pilot System Operators).  In addition to flying, our squadron pulled five lines of alert for a month and then for the next month six lines, followed by a month with five lines of alert with half of the squadron at Gunnery Camp, in North Africa (alert every other day for two weeks, then 1,000 miles away for two weeks)..  Basically, you were on alert every fourth day throughout the year.

By law, at the end of the Fiscal Year, one could carry over 60 days of leave.  Needless to say, losing leave was a normal event for everyone in the squadron, but especially the backseaters.  With no compensation.  Not even a kiss on the cheek.  That said, when you retired, or otherwise terminated, you got to take all the accumulated leave, and you could work at your new job while on leave, much like Mr Jay Lang.

Needless to say, I don't grieve for those who don't take their leave, if they can.  In fact, knowing the value of vacation in helping people recharge their batteries, so they can do a better job going forward, and in a more healthy condition, I think taking leave is important.  There should be a punishment for not taking leave.  In fact, as I recall, taking leave was considered a military duty, even if the military might prevent you from doing it ("needs of the Service" and all that).

The thing that should give people pause is that this is a public employee and his severance pay is $91,256.

Going to the interactive map (City-Data Dot Com), we have some crude numbers.  From the bar graph, the overall City number for 2013, median household income, was $42,270.

Salary Dot Com has the median teacher income as $57,437 (as of August 2015).  So, Mr Lang is taking out of the system the median salary of a Lowell Teacher.

The question is, is this a wise use of our money.  Put another way, do we have to offer what looks like a Public Servant golden parachute to attract talent?

Back to the article,

Mayor Rodney Elliott, a vocal proponent of eliminating the sick-time buyback benefit for school employees, said the payout is another example of valuable resources going out the door to "huge compensation packages."

"It's a significant financial burden, and it's past time for us to put a cap on this buyback and vacation," he said.

Mayor Rodney Elliot is not wrong here.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Thus the question, what is more worthless than one PSO?
  That is five aircraft on alert, for a 24 hours alert period, aircrews and crew chiefs eating and sleeping at the Alert Facility, seven days a week.  Gassed up and ready to go.  For a while we even had college classes in the alert dining facility.
  Because of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, for Fiscal Year 2008 and up through FY 2015, Congress eased the limit to 75 days.
  I always wonder about the categories used.  Do the Portuguese get their own group?  I don't think so.  What about Brazilians?  Where do those who trace their parentage back to the Indian sub-continent fit it?  I assume they are Caucasian, but does some demographer in Washington, DC, think they are Asian?  Or are they part of the best off group, American Indians, at $62,549.  No, I don't think so.
  Which is the "bottom line".

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