Wisconsin has nothing on my home state of Massachusetts, especially when it comes to screwing good ol’ Joe Taxpayer with sick days.
Last week, Thomas Kinton, head of Massport (the Massachusetts Port Authority) announced that he would be retiring in June. An advanced announcement of this kind is excellent, as it allows Massport officials to start searching for a replacement for Mr. Kinton.
It also allows them to start saving up to pay for his pension, which is 67% of his salary in his highest earning year. Kinton’s base salary for 2009 was $295,000, so if that was, in fact, his highest earning year while at Massport, he will retire with a lovely annual pension of nearly $200,000.
But here’s the real kicker, and I’m tempted to say “only in Massachusetts could this happen,” except that I’m sure one of our readers will find other examples of this. Not only will Kinton retire with $197,000 annually, but the state will also have to kick in a one-time sum because his contract requires that he be paid for all accumulated unused sick time.
Would anyone like to take a guess at how much that is? According to the Boston Globe, Kinton will be paid $450,000 for sick time accrued but unused. That’s half a million bucks that we the taxpayers will be shelling out.
And make no mistake–Kinton has his hand out waiting for the cash:
“It’s what I’ve worked for,’’ Kinton said. “It’s something that is, I think, not the norm. But because I’m a CEO, and there aren’t many CEOs that have gone through the state retirement system with this many years of service, I think it just is not the norm and is the exception to the rule. But it’s the earned benefit and something that I’ve worked very hard for.’’ [emphasis mine]
Wait, what? I thought that’s what a salary was. Sick days are for, well, being sick and staying home so that you don’t infect your co-workers, and so that you can recover. But according to Massport, Mr. Kinton has accumulated 478 sick days during his tenure at the public trough (as of 2009; God only knows how many more days he has racked up in the intervening two years).
Regardless, Mr. Kinton, hero that he no doubt perceives himself to be, will ride off into his sunset years with a bountiful pension and a one-time payout of more-than-oriental splendour.
Because in Massachusetts, the fix is always in.