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All About IntegrityIn my next life I want to come back as someone with no integrity. It seems like those who have the least integrity garish the most rewards in this life. Case in point- Steve Lodge- ex police chief of Santa Clara County, CA. Mr. Lodge, fifty three years old, retired recently and earns an annual pension of $192,570.00. He also received $122,000.00 in unused sick and vacation time. Bloated pension aside, Mr. Lodge is making $100.00 per hour as a “safety consultant” for a sports stadium not scheduled to open until 2015.
Can anyone say “double dipping’? According to Lodge, the Santa Clara city officials believe that he is the person most qualified and best suited for the consultant job. Even if that were true, is there a law that mandates a salary of $100.00 per hour? When cities all over California are reducing budgets and eliminating needed services, how can such a position to such a person be justified?
As a teacher and state employee I am sickened and embarrassed by a display of such greed and blatant disregard for those who are out of work and have been seeking employment. Even if Lodge is the most qualified for the position, split the job in half and pay him $50.00 per hour and an assistant $50.00 per hour. Or better yet, give the entire position to someone who has no job and no pension.
Perhaps it is the innate teacher in me that is immediately infuriated by issues such as this. Teachers seek fairness and because we seek to do the right thing we expect that others will do the same. We will never retire with six figure annual pensions. We don’t get paid for vacation time so we will never get a vacation time lump sum payment. Last year the city of Santa Clara California paid out over $684,593.00 in employment costs to Lodge- the highest of any city or county employee in Santa Clara County. In stark contrast, teachers in several school districts in the county took severe pay cuts and furlough days to help ease budget woes and continue serving kids the way we have always done. Lodge is a stellar example of what is wrong with many government employee pension programs and his self serving interest and the nepotism of city officials give the rest of us state employees a black eye. I’m willing to do my share of sacrificing for the good of the whole, but I am not willing to subsidized overblown, astronomical pensions and “consulting jobs”for individuals who have less integrity than a house pet.