Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Two Americas: Public vs. Private Sector, Part II Highest Paid Madison City Worker: $159k Busdriver

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL -- "Madison's highest paid city government employee last year wasn't the mayor. It wasn't the police chief. It wasn't even the head of Metro Transit. It was bus driver John E. Nelson. Nelson earned $159,258 in 2009, including $109,892 in overtime and other pay. He was among the seven bus drivers who made more than $100,000 last year thanks to a union contract that lets the most senior drivers who have the highest base salaries get first crack at overtime."

HT: NCPA

See related CD posts, "Two Americas" and "Piano Movers at Carnegie Hall Make More Money Than the Piano Players."


15 Comments:

At 2/11/2010 10:58 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

The overtime is driven by employees on unpaid leave. Accordingly, an analysis of the busdrivers' pay should be reduced by the amount of pay that the employees on leave would have earned. Often, employers prefer overtime because it is cheaper than paying more employees. I like overtime; my company does, too.

 
At 2/11/2010 11:08 AM, Blogger juandos said...

'And there was a lot of overtime - $1.94 million last year, $467,200 more than the bus system budgeted for and the most ever for the system - as employees exhausted sick leave and took advantage of unpaid leave through the federal Family Medical Leave Act, officials said'...

R.I.H. Ted Kennedy!

 
At 2/11/2010 11:12 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Sounds like entrepreneurial bus drivers to me. You should be applauding them for working hard and taking advantage of incentives (even though their top pay is only $26/hr.)

Also, sounds like the city should hire more bus drivers. But, wait a second, I thought the government does not create jobs...

 
At 2/11/2010 11:25 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"But, wait a second, I thought the government does not create jobs"...

The government doesn't and neither do the riders using mass transit...

Its the taxpayers that ante up for that nonsense...

 
At 2/11/2010 11:27 AM, Anonymous Goona said...

Oh, it gets much worse than that.

If this is a typical union contract he will use that year of salary PLUS overtime to establish his "highest three" years of pay for retirement purposes. This means the city's bill for his pension will be much higher for the rest of his life.

If it's not true in this particular case, it's true in many places.

Every 40 hours of overtime costs an unemployed person a full-time job with benefits.

 
At 2/11/2010 11:50 AM, Blogger rjs said...

betcha the mayor wouldnt take the busdrivers job for the same hours and money..

 
At 2/11/2010 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are the taxpayers forced to contract for labor with the Teamsters? Are they required to by buses only from one vendor? What about fuel? The union is a parasitic monopoly using it's monopoly position to overcharge taxpayers.

Why are unions allowed to capture public assets and infrastructure? When taxpayers build a subway or light rail system the unions, through corrupt alliances with left-wing politicians, seize control of it and hold the riders/taxpayers hostage to their compensation demands. This is why the Democrats are so fond of high-speed rail schemes. They are nothing more than sops to their union cronies providing the opportunity to funnel union dues into Democrat Party coffers. Would we accept this if it were being done by a private firm? Of course not.

No one should be allowed to organize against the people of the United States.

 
At 2/11/2010 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As absurd as this story is, it's only a slight misdemeanor compared to the felony robbery that the UAW and the Democrats have set in motion with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The Big Three are tens of billions of dollars behind in their pension obligations and guess who will get stuck with the tab? That's right, your children and grandchildren.

Not only did the Obama administration run roughshod over the rights of senior secured creditors in the auto bankruptcy, gifting the companies to their union cronies, they made sure that the unions pay, benefits and pensions were secure. Unlike other bankruptcies, the UAW was required to give up nothing and allowed to line their pockets with tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money:

GM and Chrysler shed tens of billions of dollars in costs while in bankruptcy last year, but chose not to terminate their pension plans, as companies often do when they seek court protection while they restructure.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the government pension insurer, last year assumed responsibility for at least a half-dozen auto supplier pensions covering 100,000 people, adding more than $7 billion to its own deficit. The agency was relieved that it didn't have to pick up GM's and Chrysler's as well.

Detroit News

Is there no end to the corrupt demands of these parasites? Will they be able to destroy one American industry after another with their greed and inflexibility? Worse, will they be allowed to bankrupt the country as they spread like a cancer through the public sector?

 
At 2/11/2010 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Stossel has a great post about Colorado Springs refusing to approve increased taxes to keep the union extortion racket going. The politicians are in the process of dismantling all city services rather than tell their union cronies that the ridiculous pensions and compensation packages they've secured by corrupting the political process will have to be scaled back.

Here's the link: Colorado Springs Walks The Walk

This is where we are all headed. Your children's education, personal security and quality of life will all take a backseat to the demands of unionized public employees.

 
At 2/11/2010 3:42 PM, Blogger randian said...

How do you triple your pay with overtime? An extra 40 hours a week at the usual time and a half doesn't make it.

 
At 2/11/2010 4:38 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"How do you triple your pay with overtime?"...

Well radian it all depends on how the labor contract is written...

If I were to guess I would say that there are clauses in the contract that might be paying time and a half for the first four hours after an eight hour day and double or more after twelve hours in a workday...

I sure would like to look at that Teamster contract...

 
At 2/11/2010 5:12 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

Gee, I thought the govt was supposed to protected us against fatigued commercial drivers. Yet here we find a government driver who is transporting folks around town for over 12 hours a day, thanks to public employee preference rules.


Safety is important to politicians, but public employee unions (that usually decide who gets elected on the local level) take priority over safety.

 
At 2/11/2010 7:08 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

About 62% of the overtime was paid by using money that was allocated in the budget for salaries. Some of the additional overtime should be paid out of the training budget because companies are loathe to hire people to replace those in training (need to add 5% to the required workforce for that). Another 5% of employees need to be added for regular sickness and accidents--companies don't want to add those either--so there's more overtime.

Companies are adding
overtime because it is cheaper than adding the required employees needed to run (RTR). You don't get to have it both ways.

The real story here is why Madison has such a problem with the FMLA. Only 1-3% of the employees at most companies apply for that leave and some of those are turned down. Did Madison just have an unlucky draw when they hired employees or are they too lax granting the leave (the FMLA is very specific on what it covers).

 
At 2/11/2010 7:46 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

Yes, we frequently hear that it's cheaper to pay overtime for government employees rather than to hire new ones. And there is some truth to that.

For the truth is that the cost of the benefits for such govt employees (including the unfunded liability ALL governments owe for pensions and health care) often exceeds 50% of salary. Hence a "mere" 50% premium for overtime looks reasonable by comparison

But why provide govt workers over 50% of salary in the form of benefits? The private sector provides benefits at a quarter to a third of the average salary. What makes the privileged class of "public servants" merit far more lucrative benefits than their employers -- the taxpayers?

In San Diego, one transit district facing a financial crunch has just contracted out bus service to a private firm for a 22% savings over the current government operation -- and the district was far more efficiently run than it sounds like Madison can claim.

 
At 2/11/2010 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol! I live in Madison so I know what you're talking about. The funny thing is I knew a guy who used to transport developmentally disabled adults for Badger Bus for $11, maybe $12 an hour. He shared a lot of contempt for city bus drivers; he stated Badger Bus employees had to work much harder, think much quicker - meaning they had to figure out the fastest route to get to consumers when routes would frequently change on a moment's notice; they had to deal with all sorts of delays while driving, and would risk the ire of the dispatcher for things that weren't their fault - earning far less money and garnering cheesey benefits compared to cozy bus drivers, whom had solid benefits, and put up with the simple task of driving repetitive routes.

I mean I don't have a problem with government employees earning a good living, but this is ridiculous. Depending on the route, I've heard some people say it can take three hours to go to a destination a mere three miles away.

From Packerland!

 

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