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Old 03-02-2010, 06:39 PM   #1
DucatiMonster696
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Default CA state worker retired and cashed out with 810k in unused comp and vacation time!

Even with schools facing budget cuts, teachers being laid off, etc state workers are reaping huge benefits. According to an article below big time bureaucrats who work for the state are basically doing an end run around vacation and comp rules to earn big bucks as they retire and cash in those hours.

Yet meanwhile those on the left blame the rich, corporations, home owners etc... for CA's budget problems. Obviously to them their is no fraud or shenanigans going on with state workers or state programs which are being routinely abused for the benefit of individuals who work for the state. Meanwhile actions such as those illustrated in the article below would get anyone fired who worked a real job in the private sector.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...5KFB.DTL&tsp=1

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Unused vacation time draining state of millions

Chase Davis, California Watch

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amid a crippling state fiscal crisis, managers throughout California's government have routinely allowed their employees to amass vast amounts of unused vacation time, enabling hundreds of workers to end their public-service careers with payouts topping $100,000, a California Watch investigation has found.

One worker combined vacation and compensatory time to walk away with more than $800,000, records show.

In the past four years, almost 500 government workers earned six-figure paychecks mostly for unused vacation. In total, the state spent $486 million between 2006 and mid-2009 to pay more than 52,000 employees for time-off benefits - which includes a small percentage of unused comp time and holidays that weren't taken.

That's enough state money to pay the salaries of more than 7,000 public schoolteachers, based on the state average teacher salary.

Many of those cash payments appeared to violate rules designed to limit how much vacation time state workers can accumulate during their careers. Most employees are allowed to bank 80 days' worth of unused vacation, but records show that supervisors routinely allow them to exceed that amount.

The problem is growing, state payroll officials said. Personnel documents estimate that as of December 2008, more than 14,000 active state employees - about 6 percent of the state's workers - had exceeded their vacation caps.

In one case, James C. Tudor Jr., the former president of the State Compensation Insurance Fund, cashed out six times more vacation time than regulations allow, taking home more than $550,000 after he was fired in 2007 during an internal probe into mismanagement and fraud.

Another state employee was allowed to accumulate large amounts of comp time in addition to unused vacation days, taking home $815,000 when he left state service. The payout for Kim Nguyen, a former doctor at the prison substance abuse center in Corcoran (Kings County), includes more than twice the allowable amount of vacation time and nearly 10 times the limit of comp time for physicians, records show.
Heavy workload blamed

In an interview, Nguyen said a heavy workload kept him from using his vacation, and his supervisors paid him for extra shifts in comp time instead of overtime, leaving him few options.

"They never hired enough doctors," he said. "I never complained, so they thought we could handle it. ... They kept asking us to work more."

These large payouts were made during a tumultuous time for the state budget, when lawmakers trimmed programs for child welfare, elder care, domestic violence and other state services to help eliminate multibillion-dollar budget gaps. This year, lawmakers are scrambling to make even more cuts in the face of a $20 billion shortfall.

At the same time, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has instituted mandatory furlough days that most state workers must use before their vacation days. The result, according to officials in several large departments, is that workers are banking more time off than ever, offsetting short-term savings with long-term liabilities.

Although some departments argue that their employees must work long and unpredictable hours, critics say the payments highlight a system defined by lax management and generous benefits unavailable to most workers in the private sector.

"This is part of the whole milieu of excess compensation packages in the public sector," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Most state employees build up vacation and annual leave at a rate of seven to 20 hours a month, depending on the type of leave, bargaining unit and years of service. State regulations cap the amount of vacation time most employees can accrue at a maximum of 80 work days, or 640 hours. Some employees collect "annual leave time," which includes vacation and sick days that are subject to the same limits.

The cap is higher than at least three other large states - New York, Florida and Texas, none of which allows employees to cash out more hours than California. It also dwarfs caps at some of the state's largest private employers, including Oracle, Western Digital and Nestle USA, according to records and interviews.

If a state employee goes over the limit, "there must be a plan" to reduce the balance before the next year, according to the state employee handbook. Managers are supposed to ensure that their employees stay under the cap except under "extenuating circumstances," which gives managers broad latitude to grant exceptions.

When they cash out vacation time, state workers are effectively getting paid twice - once for the days they worked when they could have been on vacation, and again when they retire. Employees are paid their cashed-out vacation at the salaries they received when they left the state, which means payments often get more expensive over time.

Public records and interviews with department managers suggest the state probably paid at least $100 million over the allowable limits, more than one-fourth of the $486 million in total leave payments, to state employees who exceeded the 640-hour ceiling between 2006 and mid-2009, the period examined by California Watch.
More managers exceed cap

The Department of Personnel Administration, which manages workplace issues for the state's 237,000 employees, proposed cracking down on the vacation-payout cap during contract talks in 2005 but abandoned the idea in favor of other concessions, said Julie Chapman, the agency's chief deputy director.

During negotiations, union representatives pointed fingers at managers, who were exceeding the cap more often than rank-and-file workers, Chapman said. State documents estimate that almost 20 percent of nonunion workers, who are typically managers, had surpassed their caps as of late-2008, compared with about 4 percent of union employees.

But when the department proposed a similar crackdown among management, organizations such as the Association of California State Supervisors pushed back, Chapman said, leaving enforcement of the vacation cap off the bargaining table. It hasn't been brought up since.
Challenge for agencies

Many departments - particularly public-safety agencies - argue that the unique and unpredictable nature of their work demands that employees take less vacation time than they earn, leaving them to accumulate large totals.

California Highway Patrol officers might be forced to cancel their vacations during emergencies, for example, or department managers might be understaffed and overworked, allowing vacations only in short spurts.

In other situations, asking an employee to work extra time and bank vacation could cost a department less money than paying another worker overtime to cover this shift, some managers argued.

Public-safety agencies are not the only ones whose employees exceed the cap. Departments including Caltrans and the attorney general's office also are among those whose employees have taken home more than $100,000 upon leaving state service.

Even smaller departments such as the governor's office and the Air Resources Board reported spending more than $1 million on cash-outs between 2006 and 2009.

When employees retire, department officials said they typically cover the cost of their unused vacation and leave time by finding money within their budgets. Often, that means delaying the hiring of a replacement, which can lead to work being stalled.

When he was the director of the now-defunct California Electricity Oversight Board, Erik Saltmarsh said state rules would not allow him to take long vacations because no subordinate at the agency was ranked high enough to legally fill in on his behalf.

"It got to a point where I literally had to appoint an acting executive director and have that approved for me to go on extended vacation," said Saltmarsh, who records show received a lump-sum payment of $162,000 when he left state service after 16 years in 2008. "So I ended up taking vacation one or two days at a time."

For other state workers, the payouts can mean financial security and a reward for decades of hard work.

With the security of a pension, health care and a $221,000 check for unused leave, former Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Teixeira is now running for sheriff of San Luis Obispo County. The 36-year veteran has promised to donate 20 percent of his salary to gang diversion programs if he is elected.
Largest payout: $815,000

Of the more than 52,000 employees who left state service with a check for unused leave, nobody left with more money than Nguyen, the doctor at the state's substance abuse center at Corcoran prison. When he retired in 2008, Nguyen left with two checks totaling more than $815,000.

Nguyen's case is unusual because he accumulated so much comp time in addition to vacation days. Vacation time constituted the majority of the payouts made by most state departments.

A series of raises given to prison physicians nearly doubled his salary over two years, Nguyen said. "That almost doubled the value of my vacation time," he said.

Luis Patino, a spokesman for the federal receiver that took control of California's prison health care in 2008, said the center has had problems recruiting and retaining employees, which has caused doctors to work an extraordinary number of extra shifts. The current receiver, J. Clark Kelso, was not in place during Nguyen's tenure.
Couldn't take overtime

Nguyen built up the time, according to prison health officials, by working regular on-call shifts and banking the time as comp because the prison did not allow overtime. The accruals were approved by three chief medical officers during Nguyen's 10 years with the state: Rene Iway, Edgar Castillo and Perlita McGuinness, according to the receiver's office.

Although Tudor, the fired State Fund president, took home slightly less - $550,000 - nearly all of his payment was for unused vacation time. Fund spokeswoman Jennifer Vargen said Tudor, whose salary was $273,000, cashed out 488 days of unused annual leave time, compared with 38 days of holidays and personal leave.

"He certainly had a reputation for working around the clock," said Vargen, who also argued that because the agency is funded through employer premiums, taxpayers did not fund Tudor's payment directly.
Audits find abuses

Although department managers and former employees argue that long hours and hard work cause most of the overages, state audit reports are filled with stories of lax management and employees who have abused the system.

In a 2008 report by the California state auditor, investigators described a California Department of Justice manager who allowed four subordinates to informally take, but not record, 727 hours of comp time in 2006. The manager "did not verify whether his employees' time reporting was accurate because he trusted his employees to track their own time," the report says.

A 2006 inspector general's report for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said antiquated accounting systems made it impossible to verify whether one employee had indeed banked the 2,376 hours of leave he collected - totaling $116,000 if cashed out.
'Going to have to pay us'

The same employee claimed to have taken no vacation or sick days for more than six years and to have worked every holiday during that period.

Departments have not yet studied the impact of Schwarzenegger's furloughs on banked leave, but a state Senate investigation last fall estimated that corrections workers have banked at least five times more vacation than usual since furloughs began.

"The vacation time that we have is basically growing and growing and growing, and we feel that's going to hold the state liable to pay us down the road," Juan Nolasco, a psychiatric technician at Coalinga State Hospital, told Senate investigators. "They're going to have to pay us."
More from California Watch

-- To find out how much the state paid 52,000 workers for unused vacation and other leave, go to www.californiawatch.org/node/1194 .

-- For an explanation of how excess vacation and leave payouts were estimated, go to www.californiawatch.org/node/1187.

-- For a graphic listing the 25 largest payouts, go to: www.californiawatch.org/node/1202.

-- For a graphic showing state leave payouts by agency, go to www.californiawatch.org/node/1201

California Watch is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting with offices in the Bay Area and Sacramento. To read the full version of this report and other reports, go to www.californiawatch.org .

California Watch is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting with offices in the Bay Area and Sacramento.
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:54 PM   #2
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So what you're saying is I need to work for my state gov if I want to make some real money and slack off.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:02 PM   #3
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It's not just the vacation time, it's the damn pension plans. California is fucked .
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:07 PM   #4
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It's not just the vacation time, it's the damn pension plans. California is fucked .
California's constitution mandates a balanced budget. Worst case scenario, California defaults and some of its creditors gets wiped out. For everyone else here, life goes on.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:17 PM   #5
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California's constitution mandates a balanced budget. Worst case scenario, California defaults and some of its creditors gets wiped out. For everyone else here, life goes on.
LOL, and how do you thing the budget will get balanced?
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:19 PM   #6
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LOL, and how do you thing the budget will get balanced?
Ultimately, someone won't get paid.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:43 PM   #7
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California's constitution mandates a balanced budget. Worst case scenario, California defaults and some of its creditors gets wiped out. For everyone else here, life goes on.
And how easy do you think California will get money after that? It will get it via taxes. CA is fvcked, it is true. As long as its people deny it the eventual insertion of phallus will simply hurt more, but it's coming nonetheless.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:45 PM   #8
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Good for him. Bad for whatever provision was put in to not expire that time in a use it or lose it policy. But you know that damn entitlement mentality, I'm entitled to that pay even if I didn't use it.

This kind of attrocity would NEVER happen in the private sector, unless it was unionized because I can guarantee you the state employees union got that "benefit" put in.

-edit-
This kind of cash out of government employees of vacation time at all levels is nothing new regardless of the state or position.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:03 PM   #9
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This kind of attrocity would never happen in the private sector...
ROFL
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:05 PM   #10
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ROFL
Well it does, but only when a union is involved.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:08 PM   #11
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And how easy do you think California will get money after that? It will get it via taxes. CA is fvcked, it is true.
So California having to fund its operation via tax income = California is fucked?

OK
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by spidey07 View Post
Good for him. Bad for whatever provision was put in to not expire that time in a use it or lose it policy. But you know that damn entitlement mentality, I'm entitled to that pay even if I didn't use it.

This kind of attrocity would NEVER happen in the private sector, unless it was unionized because I can guarantee you the state employees union got that "benefit" put in.

-edit-
This kind of cash out of government employees of vacation time at all levels is nothing new regardless of the state or position.
You're right, of course- private industry would just tell you that you can't take time off now, or ever, actually... force you to build up a huge vacation and comp time reserve, lay out lavish pension promises, profit sharing and stock ownership, too... then screw you out of it all when they flip the company titsup...

Thanks for all your hard work, chump, and uhh, how about you kiss my ass on the way out, OK?

Ask the people who worked for Continental, United, AT&T, GM, and others too numerous to mention...
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:12 PM   #13
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Well it does, but only when a union is involved.
A quick google will turn up many non-unionized employees of private companies paid millions of dollars after being fired.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:13 PM   #14
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Well it does, but only when a union is involved.
I'm pretty sure that I'm responding to a troll post, but in the off chance that this is actually legitimate, California law mandates that all unclaimed vacation time be paid in cash to an employee on his or her departure from the organization. Because vacation time has a cash value, you can't "use it or lose it." You either get paid for the vacation time you don't use at the time that it expires, or it just stops accumulating at some point.

The only reason this is even in the news is because the vacation time payout is so high.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:22 PM   #15
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...public records and interviews with department managers suggest the state probably paid at least $100 million over the allowable limits ...
I understand this is California but most public (and private) sector organizations have rigid ""use it or lose it"" caps on vacation and comp time.





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Old 03-02-2010, 08:26 PM   #16
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I'm pretty sure that I'm responding to a troll post, but in the off chance that this is actually legitimate, California law mandates that all unclaimed vacation time be paid in cash to an employee on his or her departure from the organization. Because vacation time has a cash value, you can't "use it or lose it." You either get paid for the vacation time you don't use at the time that it expires, or it just stops accumulating at some point.

The only reason this is even in the news is because the vacation time payout is so high.
Don't mind spidey... he'd rather us go back to a time of Indentured servitude. Where you broke your back for nothing and ate every piece of crow the bosses sent to you. And if you died in the mines because they were cutting back on safety for a few extra pennies for the big guy, they'd kick your wife out of the company house for being such a slacker.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:45 PM   #17
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Umm..the guy earned that vacation and comp time.

He only had it because he was a hard worker that did not take many days off.

He busted his hump and didn't take personal time for a long time to amass that kind of hour bank.

Why should he not be able to cash it out when he retires? The state should be putting aside money for this kind of situation.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:51 PM   #18
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Umm..the guy earned that vacation and comp time.

He busted his hump
How do you know he didn't surf Facebook and ATOT for 10 hours a day?
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:53 PM   #19
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How do you know he didn't surf Facebook and ATOT for 10 hours a day?
Yah mean like 90% of our community?
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:53 PM   #20
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I'm pretty sure that I'm responding to a troll post, but in the off chance that this is actually legitimate, California law mandates that all unclaimed vacation time be paid in cash to an employee on his or her departure from the organization. Because vacation time has a cash value, you can't "use it or lose it." You either get paid for the vacation time you don't use at the time that it expires, or it just stops accumulating at some point.

The only reason this is even in the news is because the vacation time payout is so high.
How are you calling me a troll? If what you say is true then no wonder that state is failing. ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY.

In the rest of the world you use it or you lose it. I'm sitting on like 4 weeks of paid time off right now, if I don't use it, I lose it. If you're a gubment employee, well there is no such benefit as the gubment employees unions have negotiated that (and good for them, but that's another topic). Are you really wondering why that state is failing hard? It's the lack of common sense and not understanding that folks will work the system to their advantage. Never underestimate the will of folks to take advantage of an entitlement.

You can't budget properly if workers can bank this kind of expense as it's not bound by time.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:55 PM   #21
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Did you guys even read where that State employee worked!?

he was a PHYSICIAN at a State Correctional facility.

Here is a guy who probably is one of only a small group of Physicians working in the State Department of Corrections at a Prison facility.

How many of YOU would want that job?

His workload dictated how much time off he got. And with not a whole lot of people trained and/or willing to do the job you can bet your ass he didnt get much time off.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:58 PM   #22
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How are you calling me a troll? If what you say is true then no wonder that state is failing. ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY.

In the rest of the world you use it or you lose it. I'm sitting on like 4 weeks of paid time off right now, if I don't use it, I lose it. If you're a gubment employee, well there is no such benefit as the gubment employees unions have negotiated that (and good for them, but that's another topic). Are you really wondering why that state is failing hard? It's the lack of common sense and not understanding that folks will work the system to their advantage. Never underestimate the will of folks to take advantage of an entitlement.

You can't budget properly if workers can bank this kind of expense as it's not bound by time.
he worked INSTEAD of taking time off!!

how is that considered "entitlement" ?? His compensation package ensured he would be compensated for time he was unable to take off.

If you think he worked the system to his advantage you are crazy. It was more like the system worked his ass to the BONE and now the system has to retire him probably because he is too old to continue to work. OTHERWISE you can bet the SYSTEM would still be working his ass to the bone!

No one wants to do that job... Working in the State Prison system is treacherous.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:59 PM   #23
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Did you guys even read where that State employee worked!?

he was a PHYSICIAN at a State Correctional facility.

Here is a guy who probably is one of only a small group of Physicians working in the State Department of Corrections at a Prison facility.

How many of YOU would want that job?

His workload dictated how much time off he got. And with not a whole lot of people trained and/or willing to do the job you can bet your ass he didnt get much time off.
Excuse me if I don't break out a violin and tears don't start rolling down my eyes.

So his job working at a state pen somehow means he gets to waive the rules on comp and vacation time for his own benefit?

What a great logical argument you've built there to excuse the abuse of comp and vacation hours which is further adding to the budgetary woes in the state. To bad its being doing at the expense of the tax payer. Somehow I have a hard time believe this guy's story unless it backed up by a factual source other then his own mouth.

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Old 03-02-2010, 09:03 PM   #24
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How are you calling me a troll? If what you say is true then no wonder that state is failing. ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY.

In the rest of the world you use it or you lose it. I'm sitting on like 4 weeks of paid time off right now, if I don't use it, I lose it. If you're a gubment employee, well there is no such benefit as the gubment employees unions have negotiated that (and good for them, but that's another topic). Are you really wondering why that state is failing hard? It's the lack of common sense and not understanding that folks will work the system to their advantage. Never underestimate the will of folks to take advantage of an entitlement.

You can't budget properly if workers can bank this kind of expense as it's not bound by time.
I love how you know absolutely nothing about the situation or the worker but automatically jump off the handle about what you "think". How do you know he wasn't the only one who could actually do the job? Instead of costing them money by forcing them to find a replacement while he would have been on vacation, he busted his ass, worked hard and he DESERVES to be paid.

I know plenty of people who are put in this situation at work because they have the "use it or lose it" policy. They end up taking the time off because otherwise they get fucked. They end up coming back to complete bumblefuck because nothing was done to fill in the gap. Then they are fucked for a few weeks because they have to play catch up.

My buddy ends up losing a few days a year in vacation because he'd rather work and take the hit than let his incompetent boss try to "cover it" and set him back.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:05 PM   #25
OrByte
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Originally Posted by DucatiMonster696 View Post
Excuse me if I don't break out a violon and tears don't start rolling down my eyes.

So his job working at a state pen it somehow means he gets to waive the rules on comp and vacation time for his own benefit?

What a great logical argument you've built there to excuse the abuse of comp and vacation hours which is further adding to the budgetary woes in the state. To bad its being doing at the expense of the tax payer.
Oh I wasnt asking you to shed a tear. You dont work in that system so you will never get it.

They never take time off, the work is abysmal, the work is dangerous, and NO ONE WANTS TO DO IT. It would be an equal travesty if people like this guy who put in the time had to walk away with nothing to show for it.

As far as the "budgetary woes of the State" you people ought to be looking at the larger problems this state is facing. The costs of the State workforce is a drop in the bucket compared to the program costs.
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Last edited by OrByte; 03-02-2010 at 09:19 PM.
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