“Even though they received back-pay, they are now suing the government….Their attorney said that late payment violates the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act and they’re now owed damages – adding up to hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars per worker.” [Mike Conneen, WJLA]
We are supposed to be reassured that this kind of abuse is rare because only about one NSA employee a year gets disciplined over it. But is there good reason to think all the instances of this abuse get caught and result in employee discipline? [WSJ, Bloomberg]
“Retirement benefits cost Connecticut more than half of payroll” [Raising Hale] Jagadeesh Gokhale, “State and Local Pension Plans” [Cato] “In the report Krugman cites, the researchers note (repeatedly) that the trillion-dollar figure is very likely a dramatic understatement of the size of the unmet liability.” [Caleb Brown]
California: “Bill would reinstate state workers who go AWOL” [Steven Greenhut]
Thanks to California Supreme Court, SEIU can tell dissenters we know where you live [DC Examiner, Legal NewsLine] Recalling a furor over member privacy and databases at another large union, UNITE HERE [Labor Union Report, "pink sheeting"]
“The fact that it took forced austerity measures for Greece to fire even *corrupt* public servants speaks volumes.” [Christian Science Monitor via @radleybalko]
Four agencies piled onto Texas tea partier’s business. Happenstance? [Jillian Kay Melchior] Some Tea Party groups seeking (c)4 status pursued electioneering; unnamed former IRS officials defend agency’s practice [Confessore, NYT] IRS denial of non-profit status to Free State Project [Atlas]
“Maybe one side of an issue is considered more political than the other.” [Tim Carney] “To me, the real story is the low status of the Tea Party.” [Arnold Kling]
Last month 13 guards and 12 others were indicted on charges of letting a gang effectively take over management of the Baltimore City Detention Center; according to the indictment, corrupt guards allegedly smuggled in drugs, cellphones and other contraband and had sex with the gang leader, several becoming pregnant by him. Since then the public and press has been asking what went wrong. A Washington Post editorial suggests one place they might look:
The absurd situation described in the indictment took root at least partly because of a “bill of rights” for corrections officers, backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and enacted by the Maryland legislature in 2010 at the behest of the guards union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. This bill of rights grants extraordinary protections to guards, including shielding them from threats of prosecution, transfer, dismissal or even disciplinary action during questioning for suspected wrongdoing.
While Gov. O’Malley has sought to minimize the relevance of the 2010 law, the Post notes that FBI recordings suggest that a guard who was deemed “dirty” was transferred to another facility, rather than fired — transfers-instead-of-firing being a less than optimal way of dealing with public employee corruption, but one typical of systems with strong tenure entrenchment. AFSCME, which boasted at the time of its “relentless lobbying” on behalf of the law, is now doing damage control. More: “those protections left officers at the jail without fear of sanctions for allegedly smuggling contraband or having relationships with inmates, the FBI said in an affidavit.” [Baltimore Sun] Union-allied lawmakers defend the measure [AP]
For a second time, labor unions and their allies have failed to unseat a member of the majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which badly undercuts their chances of getting the court to invalidate Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10. I’ve got details at Cato at Liberty.
Then what do you think he does? “Carroll then started a business that cleans up gory crime scenes, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation found. Yet the state continues to pay him a disability pension for life, a sum that could total $1 million or more.” [Morris County, N.J.; Mark Lagerkvist, Reason]
Broward County, Fla. transit bus driver Larry Moore “was disciplined 19 times” and “was held responsible for nine accidents with other South Florida drivers.” After a so-called last-chance warning in 2008 he “went on to be disciplined seven more times, for five preventable accidents and two clashes with customers, county personnel records show.”
The Sun Sentinel reported earlier this month that one driver, Charles Butler, who cost taxpayers $73,005 in a lawsuit settlement, was involved in 21 accidents while driving a county bus. Twelve were deemed preventable, and 10 involved him hitting another driver. He is still driving, despite having reached the firing threshold. …
[Transit director Tim] Garling said the county follows the union contract, which calls for progressive levels of discipline.
A brief history of the “law enforcement bill of rights,” pushed for by police unions and adopted in many states beginning in Maryland in 1972, which entrenches problem cops who have not actually been found guilty of a felony [Mike Riggs, Reason]
P.S. Josh Barro writes via Twitter (adapted), “I don’t buy this. Worker participation is voluntary, and if it looks like they’re paying into a slush fund, they’ll withdraw. I’d worry more that CALPers will start offering a tax-backed defined benefit to private workers, atop public promises. I think it would be a fine idea to let people participate in the CALPers investment fund, with the participant bearing all risk. Big pension funds do have real administrative cost advantages over 401(k)s. The problem is they get in the risk-shifting business. The bill says California must ‘secure private underwriting and reinsurance to manage risk and insure the retirement savings rate of return.’ I think that means there’s no reliance on a taxpayer guarantee — risk must be borne by a private firm and therefore priced right.”
P.P.S. Scott Shackford at Reason has further analysis, calling attention to “guaranteed return” language as well as to the AP’s description of the program’s must-make-an-effort-to-get-out structure: “The program directs employers to withhold 3 percent of their workers’ pay unless the employee opts out of the savings program, which can be done every two years.”
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