Gov. Jerry Brown negotiates a new contract for California’s prison guards, who will be allowed to save unlimited amounts of vacation, potentially leading to massive payouts when officers retire.
Reporting from Sacramento—
Deep in the 200-page contract that Gov. Jerry Brown recently approved for state prison guards is a provision that could generate a cash windfall to the officers when they retire.
The guards, who are among Brown’s largest political benefactors, would be able to save an unlimited number of vacation days under their new deal. When they leave state service, those days could be exchanged for cash at their final pay rate, which would probably be higher than when they earned the time off.
The governor is extending this benefit only to members of the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn., a union that spent nearly $2 million to help him win election last year.
Removing the decades-old limit on accrued vacation — now 80 days for most state employees — would be a “huge liability” for taxpayers, said Nick Schroeder of the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. Schroeder said he had not determined the cost of lifting the cap, but his analysis of the deal showed the average corrections union member has accumulated nearly 19 weeks of leave time to date. All of that time off has “a current cash value of over $600 million,” he said.
Read the Full Story Here