How to Become a Millionaire

Work for the teachers’ retirement systems for large states, apparently:

Among the largest states, almost every category of [ed. public] worker has participated in the pay bonanza. Britt Harris, chief investment officer at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, last year collected $1 million — including his $480,000 salary and two years of bonuses — more than four times what Republican Governor Rick Perry received. Pension managers in Ohio and Virginia made up to $678,000 and $660,000, respectively, according to the data, which Bloomberg obtained using public- record requests. In an interview, Harris said public pension pay must be competitive with the private sector to attract top investment talent.

Psychiatrists were among the highest-paid employees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey, with total compensation $270,000 to $327,000 for top earners. State police officers in Pennsylvania collected checks as big as $190,000 for unused vacation and personal leave as they retired young enough to start second careers, while Virginia paid active officers as much as $109,000 in overtime alone, the data show.

The numbers are even larger in California, where a state psychiatrist was paid $822,000, a highway patrol officer collected $484,000 in pay and pension benefits and 17 employees got checks of more than $200,000 for unused vacation and leave. The best-paid staff in other states earned far less for the same work, according to the data.

I’m guessing there are no claw-back provisions when the funds go bust.

The entire article makes interesting reading. It illustrates how a combination of lucrative contracts, lax oversight, and downright fraud has boosted total compensation for many public workers.

8 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw

    Psychiatrists should not be allowed to unionize. They are either professionals or they are not. Neither should lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants and teachers (if they are professionals). These areas are usually where the pension abuses are highest because they have credentials that already protect them from labor competition and are generally desirable; they can leave their job for the private sector and return with a right of priority, or move between departments or units of government to obtain multiple pensions or different types of sweeteners. You never find the high school graduate working as a janitor being able to pull these kinds of stunts.

    Professionals also have an unfair ability to influence the rules that create the need for their own services. Why do the prisons require a therapist with a medical degree 24/7? Is it because it is in the professional opinion of psychiatrists that they get the job?

  • Once upon a time the ethical obligation to perform pro bono work meant that lawyers and physicians were ethically required to perform services free of charge for those who could not afford to pay. Now it means that some of the people in your profession have government jobs or accept Medicaid.

  • TastyBits

    Why do the prisons require a therapist with a medical degree 24/7?

    Where are these prisons?

  • steve

    Agree that docs should not unionize. Note that the large abuses are with police or the justice system. FIRE sector workers getting large salaries is the norm.


  • PD Shaw

    TastyBits, the second part of the article Dave linked to indicates California and “other states” require an _on-duty_ psychiatrist at prisons at all hours. Other states mentioned in the article might require a psychiatrist to be on call at all times. In either case, the article indicates that psychiatrists are getting paid a hell of a lot of money to be available overnight.

    If you or I were to stumble into an ER tonight, crazed and drugged, I doubt we would see or hear of a psychiatrist. (The article hints at this; a doctor of internal medicine switched to psychiatry so he could have normal hours, not doctor hours, and as it turns out, make more money) In any event, in the real world, a licensed clinical social worker might show up and after a quick examination sign the papers saying that we are a danger to ourselves or others and have us placed in a room for observation and examination by a professional, perhaps a psychiatrist, in the morning. Waste.

  • The old joke is that you start with $10 mil.

  • TastyBits

    @PD Shaw

    Thanks. I did not read the article. I may need to move to CA. Most prisons provide therapy, but there is no medical degree involved.

  • Psychiatrists dispense drugs.
    Psychologists do testing.
    Social workers do counseling.

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