Apparently Flint Is Flush With Cash: Pays Workers To Stay Home
Many thought the City of Flint Michigan was struggling with their budget every year. Well apparently they might be incorrect.
The Michigan Capitol Confidential found out that the City of Flint paid more than 100 city employees $857,663.00 to stay at their homes over a three year period. They found this out through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that the city had to respond to.
They paid these funds via a practice known as standby time. This practice pays city employees for being on call and must be available if needed. This standby time compensation is in the union contracts which the city agreed to.
The article in the Michigan Capitol Confidential gave us an example from the Flint Police Officers Association contract which stated:
For compensation, the employee on such duty shall receive at his regular straight time rate of pay one (1) hour pay for each calendar day, Monday through Friday and two (2) hours pay for each calendar Saturday, Sunday, and/or holiday of such duty.
I understand the concept of on call pay, but most people I know who must be on call are not always paid for being on call in less they are actually called in or address a work problem from home. I think paying someone on call that actually works is necessary and the right thing to do.
Even if you do not have a problem with someone being paid in the manner in which the union contract states then how does the City of Flint respond to the following example the Michigan Capitol Confidential found when they stated:
But clearly some employees are eligible for far more standby pay than the union contract stipulates. For example, if an employee making $50,000 a year was on standby 200 days, they'd get $4,800 in standby pay. Yet, there were five Flint employees who collected between $12,589 to $19,948 in total standby time just in 2018…Those employees’ positions included a utility maintenance and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system supervisor; a city facilities maintenance foreman; a sewer cleaning foreman; a water pollution control operations supervisor; and a police sergeant.
The bigger problem the City of Flint has is the fact that a 2018 financial report stated that the city reported a $346 million unfunded pension liability. To put that number in perspective the city’s general fund revenues were only $50.3 million in 2018.
If the city has those very large unfunded liabilities you would think they would attempt to save money anywhere possible and fund their employees pension funds adequately.