Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Fleecing of Georgia: Vacation Stockpile Costs Taxpayers Millions

As lawmakers look to cut almost another billion dollars out of the state budget for fiscal year 2011, some are eyen a popular perk for state employees.

Current policy allows all Georgia state employees to accrue up to nine weeks of unused annual vacation time and have a cash payout when they leave state government.

360 Degrees has learned 15,400 state employees have accrued nine weeks or more of unused time off. That amounts to $276 million dollars of taxpayer money!

If you include the Board of Regents, you can tack on another $127 million for a grand total of more than $400 million dollars. State Representative Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) said annual leave time should not be used as a bank account.

For some state employees, the payouts can be huge. Nancie Boedy works for the Teachers Retirement System and has worked there for 32 years. When she leaves she's eligible for a $64, 500 payout. Representative Martin stated what makes that unfair to taxpayers is that she more than likely did not accrue that time at her current salary of $372,800. Nancie Boedy did not return our calls.

State Senator Seth Harp (R-Midland) says lawmakers will definitely have to change the cap on the amount of hours state employs can accrue. If they accrue more, those hours will have to be forfeited.

Any changes lawmakers approve would apply only to new hires going forward. Representative Martin says it's time for state government to be run more like a private business because that's what the taxpayers expect.

WSB; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Georgia Radio Network; Wall Street Journal; Georgia Teachers Retirement System.

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