Thursday, May 24, 2007

What a Joke: GOP Reaction to Dem Sick Leave Bill

I know disingenuousness is just part of the normal political game. But for legislative Republicans to claim that Dems are "late to the party" for recently announcing a bill to eliminate the sick leave conversion policy for legislators is truly eye-rolling.

Let's hop on the truth trolley for a moment: Democratic state legislator Sheldon Wasserman drafted a bill to eliminate the sick leave policy in 2003. The response he got from both sides of the aisle was a combination of blank stares and crickets chirping.

Now digest that nugget of reality with this statement that Republican Senator Ted Kanavas released yesterday:
It's about time. This issue has been a no-brainer from day one. While I am pleased that some Democrats in the Senate have finally seen the light, I wish they would have reached this obvious conclusion six months ago rather than blocking our common sense reform.
Ah, and who was running the legislature in 2003 when Wasserman floated his bill around? Oh, that's right, the GOP controlled both the Assembly and the Senate. Didn't "common sense" exist back then?

What a joke.


Side-Note: See this post for my take on the policy side of the proposal (here's a teaser: I'm skeptical of its value and the resulting impact). Be sure to check out the good discussion that ensues in the comments; and if you have further comments on that post, feel free to leave them here.



Blogger will andrew said...

Hooray for Kanavas to touch on this a couple years early for a re-election push.

Honestly though, most of the initial arguements from February are pretty clear, and fundamentaly correct.

Being paid on a salary basis, which doesn't measure actual hours worked, should preclude you from receiving an additional pay-out, whether in the guise of sick-leave or accumulated vacation time.

In a privately held corporation, it's fine if that's what they want to do as some sort of benefit package for their higher-tier personnel, but in a publicly elected office, on the tax-payers dollar, there should be a limitation to any "double-dipping" as Dad29 put it.

May 24, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Even though salary positions usually don't specify that they're paying by the hour, most still expect you to be on the job at least some percentage of 40 hours per week (depending on the percentage of the position). In the state system, legislators may be the exception to this, which is why it might make sense to eliminate (or change) the conversion policy for them and not those elected officials in executive or managerial positions such as district attorneys, the state superintendent, the governor, the attorney general, etc., where the expecation is that people are on the job Monday through Friday, at least 40 hours per week, consistently throughout the year (the Dem bill is aimed at legislators only; the GOP bill is aimed at all elected state officials) .

And I don't see how it's "double dipping." A salary is paid and sick leave hours are accrued separate from that salary. The question is what to do with remaining accrued sick leave upon retirement. Should it be forfeited, or should it be paid out in some form? Currently the payout comes as credits toward health care premiums, not as salary or even a lump sum paycheck.

If the decision is made to change the policy so that the sick leave is forfeited, then that's a cut in compensation. If that's the decision, that's fine, but it should be framed as a compensation cut, not righting some supposedly obvious wrong.

And my main point back in February is that no reasonable decision can be made on whether to cut compensation until it's actually known how much this piece of compensation even costs.

May 24, 2007  
Blogger will andrew said...

Ah, I misunderstood the accrued sick time. I had thought it was a paid out balance, not given as a health care credit. My mistake...

May 24, 2007  

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