From coast to coast, the highest-paid state workers collected total compensation of as much as $573,000 to $1 million last year, with overtime checks of up to $213,000 and unused vacation payouts that reached $609,000 as governors and lawmakers slashed funding for schools, public safety and other services. By compiling payroll records for 1.4 million employees of the 12 most-populous states, Bloomberg shows how California sets a pattern for governments nationally as out-of-control payroll costs burden states throughout the country.
Mohammad Safi, a graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, began working as a psychiatrist at a California mental hospital in 2006, making $90,682 in his first six months. Last year, he took home $822,302, all of it paid by taxpayers.
Britt Harris arrived at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas in 2006 from the world’s biggest hedge fund with a mandate to improve the pension’s performance. He also brought a Wall Street attitude about pay.
When psychiatrist Gertrudis Agcaoili retired last year from a state mental hospital in Napa, California, she took with her a $608,821 check for unused leave banked in a career that spanned three decades.