Golden Government Parachute

12 May

One of the most aggravating aspects of government is the way politicians and government employees can enrich themselves when their working days are over. This is most widely seen in pensions that are nearly equal in value to one’s salary when working. The idea that a politician should receive a pension at all is really appalling.

Here in JeffCo, the plant manager at the County Water Authority, Tom Ward, got himself a sweet going-away present:

The manager of the water plant that serves Herculaneum and Festus resigned last month amid criticism of his job performance and was awarded a severance of $15,000, about a quarter of his salary.

And this is after he decided to quit. He wasn’t forced to leave. But he had requested even more money:

Ward’s severance package was about half what he requested, [board president Jim] Kasten said.

Two of the six people on the board voted against this ridiculousness. For the record, they were Tim Montgomery and Brent Abrams. Remember this at election time.

Ward seems, in addition to being thin-skinned (resigning because a board member asked him questions provided oversight), demanding and also well-versed in how to wring the most bucks from the government:

In his resignation letter, Ward had also requested to be paid through the end of September and to receive the balance of his regularly scheduled 401(k) contributions through April 13, when he will be vested at 100 percent instead of the 80 percent he was owed at the time of his departure.

Ward also wanted a “letter of appreciation for my service, which counters and dispels the defamation demonstrated toward me.”

It has been said that local elections are the most important for voters to care about, because local elected officials have the most say over your daily life. Similarly, it is true that local government employees must be watched most closely, because they have the most direct access to your tax dollars, as we see here (see also Arnold city attorney Bob Sweeney).

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