Employee Compensation

Philly: More dubious budget reporting from NYTimes

The NY Times finally decided to jump in with its take on the controversial story of Philadelphia’s school reform commission cancelling the teachers’ contract. Not surprisingly, in a story largely sympathetic to teachers (pointing out, for instance, that they make less in salary than neighboring suburban teacher) the Times ignores most of the relevant fiscal facts…

Health care + pensions equal insolvent NJ

New Jersey has gotten a lot of publicity lately because Chris Christie has balked at meeting the state’s extraordinary pension burden, arguing that further reform of the system is necessary. But as a recent NJ report makes clear, Jersey really has a problem of expensive health care for workers and retirees on top of bulging pension debts, which have raised the cost of employee benefits in NJ well above the norm for states. The reason Jersey isn’t paying all of its benefit costs is because it couldn’t possibly afford to…

Superintendents behaving badly

If a community can’t trust a public employee, can its elected representatives fire that person?
A lawyer defending a former Brookfied, Conn., superintendent on Tuesday argued the answer is no, not legally.
Recently, a number of superintendents in Connecticut have been sent to the principal’s office – …

Despite love of ideas, Brown is conventional union pol

From a personality standpoint, California Gov. Jerry Brown is one of the most entertaining, intelligent and engaging politicians one will ever meet. He’s funny and well read and likes to toss around interesting ideas. His fans boast about his Jesuit training. One need only listen …

More about our bulging public school payrolls

Back in 2011 I wrote a piece in the Wall St. Journal about the increase in local government payrolls over the decades, focusing in particular on school systems and the rise in both teacher-to-student ratios and also the sharp increase in non-teaching employees. Some defenders of the schools wrote in to suggest the growth in employees had been driven by demographic factors, including a sharp increase in special ed students and students who spoke English as a second language…

Philly schools “inadequate” at $12,000 per student

The Philadelphia school system last month projected spending about $2.4 billion next year to educate about 200,000 students. The state commission that runs the city’s schools, however, wants millions of dollars in additional spending just to offer what it claims would still be an “inadequate” education. How is it that a school district that spends more than the national average per student can’t manage ? One look at its personnel costs and perks, including exploding pensions and legal services for union members, gives you an idea why…

New York’s transit pay train

Employees of New York’s sprawling Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) make a good buck — and top salaries are by no means limited to the white-collar brass at the state-run agency’s midtown Manhattan headquarters.
In 2013, one in seven MTA workers pulled down at least $100,000 in …

Public employee pay state-by-state

Public employee compensation is the subject of heated political debate.  Looking at national comparisons of public and private sector workers–even when making apples to apples comparisons and controlling for education, experience, and other factors–often conceal more than they reveal. A state-by-state approach is much more …

Gov’t retirees flee high-tax NJ with their pension dollars

Municipalities in NJ finance their budgets largely through property taxes. The steepest cost, by far, on those budgets is employee get-out-of-towncompensation, which makes up about three-quarters of school district expenditures, for instance. High compensation costs are one reason why NJ has among the highest property taxes in the nation–so high that retirees often complain they can’t afford to continue living in their homes after they stop working. Apparently, that’s true of government employees in NJ, too…

States ponder athletes as government employees

A few weeks ago I wrote about the opportunity that a recent NLRB ruling allowing student athletes at Northwestern to organize might create for public sector organizing. Now states are moving in different directions with regard to allowing unionizing of student athletes at public universities…