Hey, Isn’t Sick Leave for People Who Need It?

Who in the private sector gets to use their accumulated sick pay as part of their retirement?  Who in the private sector can cash out weeks of sick leave for tens of thousands of dollars?

While this is practically unheard of in the private sector, it is a fairly regular occurrence in the public sector and exemplifies why there needs to be a fundamental reassessment of public pay.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer just ran a story outlining how shocked the new Ohio Turnpike Director is with some of the sick leave payouts afforded to retiring workers,

“Chief Engineer Dan Castrigano collected $287,000 last year, including a $111,000 separation payment that marked the end of his 30 years with the toll road.

Turnpike officials hailed Castrigano’s job performance. They say he simply collected what he was owed, under the turnpike’s pay policies.

But turnpike Executive Director Richard Hodges says those policies are too generous — and must change.

Hodges, on the job for four months, said he was “stunned” by the amounts of unused sick and vacation pay turnpike workers can accumulate and then cash out.

Vacation is for folks to recharge. Sick time is for people who need it,” Hodges said. “They are not intended to be retirement plans.‘”

That last line seems to say it all.  But it’s not just the Turnpike where massive sick leaves occur on the taxpayer dime.

The Buckeye Institute’s Statehouse Liaison, Greg R. Lawson was interviewed by Columbus’s 10TV for an investigative report on sick leave payouts for retiring college professors.

Just check some of these numbers out:

“Many of them received checks for more than $30,000, including Cleveland State University professor Chin Kuo.  At the University of Cincinnati, Professor Barbara Ramusack pulled in $39,470.

Their checks paled in comparison to her colleagues, Professor Wolfgang Mayer and Anthony Perzigian.  Both collected sick-time payouts of more than $50,000.

When Professor Jay Chattergee retired in 2010, he banked $65,761 for unused sick time, Aker reported.”

Again, the Turnpike director’s comments ring true:

Sick leave is for people who need it… They are not intended to be retirement plans.”

Greg R. Lawson

About Greg R. Lawson

Greg R. Lawson is the Statehouse Liaison and Policy Analyst with the Buckeye Institute
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