OK, so the Hamptons in Long Island are the playground of the rich and loaded, but check this out: The 53-year-old retiring police chief of Westhampton is pulling a $142,000 pension, plus a one-time payout of over $400,000 for unused sick days, personal days, and vacation.
From The New York Post:
Ray Dean, police chief of the 2.9-square-mile village of Westhampton Beach, is retiring with a bag of cash.
He is getting $403,714 for 15 years’ worth — or 531 days — of unused sick, vacation and personal time. The payment amounts to 4 percent of the village’s entire $9.7 million budget….
In addition, Dean, who is only 53, will collect an estimated pension of $142,000 a year.
Dean was already a millionaire. He bought a house in Quogue for $1.3 million in 2005, owns a 32-foot boat, and his pay last year came to $226,236 — more than NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton makes.
And make no mistake: Westhampton Beach is not Fort Apache, the Bronx.
Murder is unheard of, the last rape was reported in 2010, and the department tallied only 46 serious crimes in 2013, including 37 larcenies and three stolen cars.
One shocking incident involved reported vandalism: An oceanfront resident claimed someone spray-painted her back porch white.
In that last case, it turned out that seagulls had painted the porch white with their droppings, a twist worth of an Encyclopedia Brown mystery, but not such a massive payout.
(Hat tip: Like a Libertarian’s Twitter feed.)
Most places aren’t as flush with cash as the Hamptons, of course, but a similarly idiotic dynamic is at work virtually everywhere in public-sector America. At the federal, state, and local levels, public-sector workers are better compensated than their private-sector counterparts. That’s true when we’re comparing apples-to-apples, not just broad averages that lump in very different types of workers with differing levels of experience.
A 2010 study by the Buckeye Institute found that Ohio state workers make about 34 percent more in total compensation (salary, health benefits, retirement packages) than analogous private-sector counterparts.
Federal workers, according to a study by USA Today, earn about $20,000 more in salary and $30,000 in benefits than private sector workers.
As Steven Greenhut pointed out here last December, the bell has yet to toll for excessive public-sector compensation and until it does, governments at all levels will always be strapped for cash.