Now comes the Las Vegas Sun, a newspaper that hasn't seen a government program it didn't think needed a new tax increase, reporting on overtime at the Clark County School district.
Doesn't seem like a Sun kind of story, does it?
That's because it wasn't a Sun story. It was an Review-Journal story leaked to the Sun.
You see the Review-Journal requested the information a few weeks back. The School District, realizing the information was going to look very bad, released the information to the friendly and compliant Sun, hoping for a sympathetic forum.
For the most part, they got it. The story spent a lot of time allowing district (mis)managers and union folks to explain the wildly large OT numbers. The apologists were allowed (unchallenged, by the way) to say that the numbers may look bad at first glance, but what the OT numbers really show is how clearly the evidence is that the district needs to hire MORE people.
But the numbers are so outrageous that even the Sun could not cover-up the outrageousness of them.
The district spooned the Sun the records of 12 employees who logged more than 1,000 OT hours in 2008. (We asked for all the records.) Most of those folks, which includes school cops, school construction folks and even a guy whose job is listed as a "painter" were paid in OT darned well as much (or more) as they earned in regular pay. One school cop made $84k in overtime pay on top of $55k in regular pay, for a total of $156k. Nice work if you can get it.
The painter — are you hearing me, a painter?! — made $46k a year in regular pay (an outrage in and of itself) and on top of that made another $36k in OT for a grand total of $83k.
What this shows — even with the friendly handling of the story by the Sun — is that public employee unions at the school district are out of control and no one with management authority is watching the store. Only government can hire $46,000-a-year painters and then call their work so mission criticial that they warrant $36,000 more in OT.
But the Quote of the Day came from the district chief HR person who in the understatement so far of 2009 said: "There may be some areas where there is clearly excessive use."
"Excessive use"? Jumpin'-jeezhus-palomino! You think?
The Clark County School District needs reform more than it needs new tax dollars.