Out-of-Whack: Egregious Examples of Government Compensation Packages

By  Matt A. Mayer

  • A nurse in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections averaged roughly $200,000 per year from 2003 to 2005, with his highest overtime pay totaling $133,135. Over eight years, the nurse made $1,256,940, or more than $157,000 per year on average, of which nearly half was overtime pay. After 30 years, this nurse’s pension will begin at $132,000 per year and it will increase by 3 percent every year for the rest of his life.
  • In 2010, birthday pay and time off cost Dayton taxpayers nearly half a million dollars.
  • This year, 10 Cincinnati employees were eligible for unused leave and sick payouts of over $200,000 each. One employee banked 10,587 hours of time for a payout worth $437,857.
  • Twenty-nine safety officers are eligible to retire with payments ranging from $1 million to $1.35 million through the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). Upon exiting DROP, these officers also will collect yearly pension payments ranging from $92,000 to nearly $125,000 for the rest of their lives with a 3 percent increase every year.
  • Columbus City Schools pays administrators bonuses worth 1.5 percent of their salaries just for living in the district. Last year, this cost Columbus taxpayers over $138,000. Columbus City Schools is projected to be $160 million in debt by 2015.
  • Collectively, Ohio’s 613 school districts are projected to be $7.6 billion in debt by 2015, with 96 percent of all revenue collected spent on compensation package costs.
  • Toledo taxpayers pick-up 100% of the employee’s pension contributions for police officers and firefighters. This pension pick-up means taxpayers pay 29.5 percent and 34 percent respectively of each employee’s salary. This costly practice happens all over Ohio.
  • Even though a “pay freeze” was enacted for state workers between 2009 and 2010, 54 percent received an increase in their hourly pay rates.
  • The highest paid state worker in 2010 more than doubled his salary ($151,200) by earning overtime pay of $174,480.
  • The highest paid Ohio Turnpike toll collector earned more than $103,000 in 2010.
  • If all Ohioans over age 55 participated in the main government pension fund, the cost would consume 26 percent of Ohio’s economy and would require the average working Ohioan to pay nearly $27,000 a year in higher taxes to support the system.
  • All across Ohio, in addition to salary increases and step increases, government workers receive longevity bonuses just for working for government another year. For state workers, this longevity bonus equals 10 percent of their salary in year twenty.
  • School board members who work for unions are not required to abstain from participating in the collective bargaining process or from voting on union contracts.
  • In Avon Lake City Schools, taxpayers paid for teachers to spend the day in Columbus at a labor union rally under the guise of “professional leave” and also got stuck paying for substitutes to fill in for those teachers.

These examples were compiled by Matt A. Mayer while he was President of the Buckeye Institute.