Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why People Are Annoyed By Retire/Rehire

Back in August the Okanogan School District hired an athletic director. The best I can do to share the story with you is this picture from the Omak Chronicle website, but I think the first couple paragraphs of the article will give you the gist:
The Okanogan School District opted to bring back recently retired Steve Chamberlin as athletic driector rather than go in several other directions that might have saved the school money.

Chamberlin officialyy retired July 1 after making $39,736.50 last year. He was rehired July 27 by the school board, on the recommendation of an eight-member interview committee, at $30,000 to work part time.

....

Chamberlin retired under the state's Teacher Retirement System Plan 1, which requires a 30-day wait unitl you can return to work under a program called Retire-Rehire enacted Jan. 31, 2003. The program initially was designed for retention of teachers.

....

"The retire-rehire is a process that the legislature made legal and encouraged so all government entities can hire the candidate they think is best for the job," Okanogan school district superintendent Richard Johnson said.

"This is a common practice," Johnson said. "You find it in administrators, teachers, classfieid, armed service men and women, politicians. In Okanogan County alone, you are looking at literally hundreds of people that have retired from a school district, county, state, or federal job and have gone back to work for a school district, county, state or federal governments. I think it is always critical that school districts and other public and private businesses be allowed to hire the best candidate. If we can't do that, then America really is in trouble."
They know what from cattle in Okanogan County, so I'm guessing that the superintendent knew this was a load of bullshit the minute he said it.

#1 is the obvious fact that Retire/Rehire from the state pension system is a, y'know, state program. Federal employees wouldn't be covered at all.

#2 is that if there are "literally hundreds" of people in Okanogan County who have done retire/rehire, I'll post video to the blog of me eating a hat.

#3 This is exactly the kind of abuse that has people like Ross Hunter talking about eliminating the program entirely. There's no reason that Okanogan had to hire back their AD at that cost--IF HE WANTED TO KEEP WORKING, HE SHOULD HAVE KEPT THE JOB IN THE FIRST PLACE.

And seriously, Dr. Johnson, couching your unethical hire in "It's for America!" terms is just pathetic.

How pathetic? Later on the article gives us these facts:
Johnson said the lower salary was due to cutbacks in the extra-curricular area. The school has cut golf, boy's soccer and cheerleading.

....

Records show that (Malcolm) Townsend worked two hours a day as Bridgeport's AD on a coaching stipend of $4,000.
So Okanogan is cutting sports opportunities for kids at the same time they're making a conscious choice to overpay for a retire/rehire athletic director. They're giving more than 7x what Bridgeport, a comparable district, pays. That's not OK.

Back in 2003 the Association of Washington Business said:
Waiving state law so high school students can have an algebra teacher is one thing, but allowing bureaucrats and administrators to use the law to score a whopping pay raise is inexcusable.
This example from Okanogan shows that the problem is still out there.

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