Another State Route to Riches: Institutional Attendants Earning Six Figures

The job listings for “institutional attendants (psychiatric)” positions in the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH) offer a salary in the mid-$30,000s, and payroll information available through the RIOpenGov project of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity suggests top regular pay in the low-$40,000s.
In 2010 and 2011, however, almost all of those employees added significantly to their pay by working extra hours, as well as other salary enhancements and bonuses that the state reports as “overtime.” A significant number of them doubled their base pay or more.
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9 years ago

As I predicted when the Current began making these numbers public, defenders of the status quo (state officials, progressives, unions) have emerged from the woodwork to rationalize these outrageous compensation schemes. One such argument has been that it would be more expensive to hire additional help to drive the overtime costs down. This argument ignores three principles. The first is Parkinson’s Law that the amount of time required to complete a task is not fixed, but tends to expand or contract based on the time allowed for its completion. The second is that financially incentivizing an outcome tends to result in more of it. The third is that when public employees with high-school educations are earning six figures it creates a negative perception of public institutions and erodes the public trust.

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