Rick Scott Does Something Good. Yeah, I Said It

scottheadroom.jpg
Model Citizen
Scott deserves a hand today.
​Rick Scott's move to force government employees to contribute to their pensions (like everyone else) and drop the horrid DROP triple-dipping program is flat-out wonderful. It's high time someone derailed the gravy train that government workers have been riding on taxpayers' backs.

Scott hasn't been lauded here before, much more the opposite, but this is one policy you have to like (unless you're a government employee). Don't get this wrong -- our public servants deserve to make a good living, but some of the pension policies of late have made some high-ranking bureaucrats millionaires.   

Inside, read about the Gatorade-smuggling BSO deputy in a piece in which we delve into the dollar amounts paid by some of Broward's most notorious new alleged criminals to get out of jail. Is it fair? Of course not.  

It's sounds like a joke: A BSO jail guard is arrested on felonies and held on $150,000 bond for smuggling Gatorade in to an inmate. The bond was ultimately reduced by Judge Jay Hurley to $70,000 but it's still too damn high.

Former deputy Keith McPhee, who left BSO in November, is also alleged to have brought in batteries and a picture of an inmate's girlfriend, but this is undeniably penny ante stuff. 

hutchmcphee.jpg
McPhee and Hutchinson. Guess which one had to pay the man more money to get out of jail.
​But McPhee can't be defended. Why? Because he took cash for his crimes, $600 in total. That's a crime of corruption, which is why McPhee was charged with official misconduct under the bribery statutes (in addition to introducing contraband into the jail). 

If the allegations are true, it's a case that had to be made (wow, backing Scott and Lamberti on the same day... weird). But now let's talk about that bond, because it's too high. 

To prove this, let's look at other public officials/employees who have been charged recently with corruption.

Former Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson, who is accused of selling out her city to a controversial developer, was released from jail after posting a bond of just $10,500. Yes, the jail guard who smuggled in a sports drink for some quick cash was given a bond precisely ten times higher than the city commissioner received.

Stephanie Kraft, accused of selling out the School Board to give the same developer a $500,000 fee break from taxpayers: $6,500.

Patricia Atkins-Grad, accused of selling out Tamarac to a dirty developer in exchange for a leased BMW: $15,500.

Diana Wasserman-Rubin, accused of voting in favor of her husband's written grants for Southwest Ranches: $24,500.

Marc Sultanof, accused of selling out Tamarac to the same dirty developer as Kraft and Atkins-Grad for a Honda Accord: $11,000 bond.

So you add all five of those criminally charged elected officials' bonds together and you get $68,000. That means that McPhee's reduced bond is still more than all of their bonds put together.

Now some might immediately presume institutional racism, and that may be so, but it's surely more about wealth and power than race. For instance, back in 2009, the feds busted Beverly Gallagher, a white woman, and two black elected officials, then-Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion and former Miramar Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman.

Gallagher was let out on a whopping $100,000 bond (the feds are a little more serious when it comes to this stuff). And Eggelletion and Salesman were each released after posting bonds of... uh... $200,000 each.

Ruh-roh. 

Back to the original point: McPhee's bond is too damn high.


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Screwed again
Screwed again

Mr. Norman,

Please do some research before making bold and unintelligible comments about state workers. Have you interviewed any of them or reported on their financial plights to pay their bills or send their children to college? State employees have not had a cost of living increase or raises in years. Most state employees have accepted considerably less money than their private sector counterparts, just so they can receive health care benefits and a meager pension after 20 years of civil service. Many of these employees are over-worked and under-paid, unlike their private sector counterparts.

Do you miss the "investigatory" side or "research" side of being a reporter? What about a honest and balanced report? Have you even looked into how Gov. Scott came up with his facts and figures, when you report how this good idea will save money? Isn't this just a republican, who is taxing the employees who most need their jobs and money so the economy may recover.

Maybe you missed the front page of the Miami Herald today, where it was reported that Attorney General Pam Bondi filed suit to recover a huge amount of money from a New York Bank which defrauded this very same pension fund or the huge losses previously reported when highly speculative derivative investments lost tons of pension monies by no fault of the state workers who are being squeezed out of their jobs and home! Why don't you report on the huge salaries and benefits given to Rick Scott's campaign staff for jobs that they are either not qualified to hold or no prior experience in?

As a reporter or journalist, if that is what you call yourself, you have a responsibility and duty to present a fair, unbalanced and unbiased report to the public. When was the last cost of living or pay raises that Florida state workers received? Where did these facts and figures Gov. Scott came up with and do these figures really add up? Isn't this a tax on the state worker being levied by the party which states it is against new taxes?

Maybe some investigation is in order ... only if you want the people to respect you as a real journalist instead of an opinionated jerk that is completely clueless. Check your facts and figures and do some real reporting for change.

impeachrickscott
impeachrickscott

I wish you would have gave both sides and facts when writing your article. Did you note that state employees are the lowest paid in the country. Did you write that fl state govt cost each taxpayer $38 a year, lowest in the nation. You also failed to mention that state employees have not had a raise in over five years and live close to poverty status. Nothing is free including state employees. If you don't good teacher, police or fire service move to Mexico. Things are going really well over there.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Pulp, if "our public servants deserve to make a good living, but some of the pension policies of late have made some high-ranking bureaucrats millionaires" then the way to fix the problem is to apply it ONLY to those "high-ranking bureaucrats" who make more than Obama's cutofff of $250,000 per year, or ONLY to the Upper 5% Top Earners cutoff of $150,000 per year? The custodian at the local school doesn't deserve a 5% pay cut on top of the starvation wages he or she is already making. Shame on you, Pulp, for falling for Rick Scott's variation of the standard Republican mantra - pamper the rich & take money away from the poor!!! A 5% reduction will not even be noticed in the paychecks of the top earners, but the poor custodian at the local school who already can't afford to properly care for his or her children is going to be crushed by it - while Rick Scott and his Republican friends raise glasses of champagne and congratulate themselves for balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.

Just Sayin' Just Askin'
Just Sayin' Just Askin'

Good for Scott on the pension move, even if he is a scumbag. Now for what folks really want to know:What's the timeline for Hutchinson's trial if indeed she is dumb enough to fight such damning, if picayune, evidence?Who's organizing the inevitable fundraiser to foot her legal tab since she's not inclined to even pay for a toilet?Is she showing up for work at Riverwalk Trust? And, by the way, what's her salary there? Does she authorize outgoing checks? Who's she been paying lately? Herself?

If not, when will the board suspend her ass or bust it altogether?

Now

burninshore
burninshore

I am sorry Bob, but you sound like someone who has drank the Kool-Aid. While your claim that the higher ups have become millionaires due to certain perks that have been put in place, the real people who will be hit the hardest by this nonsense are the rank and file who are already underpaid, underappreciated, and overworked. I have zero problem with paying into my own pension, but at least pay me a professional wage that is comparable around the nation. And before anyone screams "You knew what your wages were when you took the job", or " Don't like it, QUIT!", or "Welcome to the the way the private sector is run.", yes I knew what my wages would be (but there was also a guarantee of the state paying into my pension), yes I know how the private sector is run ( you guys chose the money, and I chose security) During this time everyone always screams "The gravy train is over" I don't know about you, but I have yet to see any "gravy" in terms of pay or respect from the state or society.

Goldilocks
Goldilocks

Elephant in the room: There are people walking around right beside you who are actually GRATEFUL they have jobs in this economy.

Roger
Roger

Let me assure you darn near every public sector employee is grateful they have a job. What they don't need is a 5% pay cut and people like you assuming they are all highly compensated and can afford to give up 5% of their pay on top of no raises for the last 3-5 years. Most realize raises are not possible in these times and accept that as necessary. This crap Scott is pulling instead of simple measures such as raising the vesting back to 10 years instead of 6 and reducing the interest on drop to market rates makes no sense. Contributing to a pension for new employees is completely reasonable. Asking currently vested employees to contribute 1 to 1.5% going forward is reasonable. Five percent is just Scott being stupid. Get used to it, he's got a lot more of that in him. And I would really like to see how you react when Scott cuts something dear to you or someone you love.

Christy
Christy

In This economy no one's pay should be minimized by 5% unless you are making ooodles of money.

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

There is no excuse for McPhee's activity. I would imagine jailing for profit and corruption is as old as the first time one caveman locked up another one in a cave with bars.

Anonymous
Anonymous

If you are going to make us contribute to our pension plan like the private sector then you should start paying us salaries like the private sector.

Gator
Gator

Pulp is being willfully ignorant on the issue of DROP - he has had his misconceptions corrected before, but persists in his "double-dipping" trope.

One can argue whether or not state empolyees should contribute to their pension plans, but the fact is that Scott's action is a de facto 5 percent reduction in employees' salaries.

No one should be surprised that Scott is addressing the state's budget deficit by going after the pay and job security of the middle class. After all, he said he would run our government like a business (low taxes and low pay).

That Pulp, the self-styled tribune of the people, falls for this tripe and goes after the $28,000 DCF employee is worse than pathetic. His dog-in-the-manger reasoning seems to be that since private businesses have managed to get out of any real obligations to their employees (those they haven't layed off, yet) the state should too. This is a race to the bottom that does not bode well for 99 percent of Florida's residents.

But, hey, maybe we'll save fifty cents on our tax bill.

Rnice69Parkland man
Rnice69Parkland man

Hey linda when was the last time u got laid,what are u an ulgy lawyer,sounds to me that you like to defend shit birds,or do you steal from companys,you see when it comes to my company and some sb lawyer tries to sue us or steal from us i put them out of buineses,you see one sb move deserive's another,we always let the sb lawyer go first and then they are sorry after that,go fuck yourself.

Linda
Linda

Still think you're an illiterate ignorant slug!

LocalPol
LocalPol

The reason that the cops and firefighters get all the perks and pension benefits is because if we don't kowtow to them they won't endorse us as candidates and we won't look like crime fighting heros.

Obermann
Obermann

Pulp, why don't you run for office in this county? Run for Lieberman's seat. I know you'd never miss a meeting because you'd be there covering it - while getting some honest work done for the taxpayers. Plus you'll have plenty of time off to write the blog and handle other ventures. And you'd have our backs! Run. It would be mandate.

Dar4310
Dar4310

Do you realize how much JA's make. Next to nothing. You have to be kidding me. I am a single mom with 2 children and trying to food on the table. You are a billionaire!

Warren Langer
Warren Langer

By Scott the Florida governorship cost me less than $85 million

I told the citizens, quite clearly, that creating jobs was my first priority and I came through.I am a man who can be trusted.

Don’t be turned off by my fake smile. That too was purchased at a small discount store I frequent in Naples, FL.

The bald head (the one attached to the fake smile) took forty-odd years to develop but it’s there and real and didn’t cost the taxpayers of Florida one red cent.

Alex Sink, my worthy Democrat opponent didn’t have a fake smile and wasn’t bald and her lousy $19 million didn’t cut the mustard.

You just can’t fake a fake smile and even though she tried – she just couldn’t do it.

To mark the difference between the Kitchen Sink and myself it wasn’t even her money that she spent on advertising.

Mine was. I looked under the mattress, checked my cars and the pennies piled into the chairs of our several houses and I know pretty much every dollar of the $85 million I spent on television and Health Care bashing came from me.

You can trust a bald guy with a fake smile. He has your interests at heart unless you’re a communist, socialist or communist-socialist or if, God forbid, you’re a Fascist, Communist Socialist like You Know Who.

They made a big deal over the companies I ran that were charged with Medicare and Medicaid Fraud. I said I was responsible.

Who else with a fake smile and bald head would do that?

Others made the mistakes and they should pay for their mistakes.

I’m responsible (me Rick Scott) but being responsible means that I will provide a response.

I did that.

You can trust a bald man with a fake smile who tells you he is responding to allegations that others were found guilty ($1.7 billion worth) of Medicare and Medicaid Fraud.

He totally agrees that other should be held responsible.

Look what I’ve done already to clean up the mess left by FDR, Lyndon Johnson, JFK and that crowd.

I’m selling off our Air Force. Florida doesn’t need an Air Force. We’re on very good terms with Alabama, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, even Georgia and if you’re worried about falling bombs I give you my word I will defend the state with my own personal jet.

Me.

I’m keeping what I do with my personal jet (the new Florida Air Force) secret since we don’t want our enemies to know our plans.

You bet Cuba would like to know what my plans are just like Alex Sink and THOSE PEOPLE.

Well I’m not going to tell them.

Me, Rick Scott, the bald guy with the fake smile, will defend the state against those who want to turn our wonderful state into a Communist-Socialist, Fascist, Dictatorship.

I won’t let that happen.

I want THOSE PEOPLE to go home to Russia, Mexico, Cuba, Chicago and the East Side of Manhattan. Also a few who live on the West Side of Manhattan can return there for all I care.

I never said this was going to be easy. People with fake smiles and bald heads know what it takes to make our state solvent like it once was in 1858.

I have a plan.

Me, Rick Scott, the guy you can trust, the one with the fake smile and bald head.

In Part Two I will reveal My Plan.

Everything will be fine.

warren langer

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

In 2009, Exxon-Mobil recorded a 45.2 billion dollar profit but paid NO income taxes.

General Electric recorded 10.3 billion dollars in pretax income, but due to the skills of their legendary in house tax department, they paid NO income taxes and actually recorded a tax benefit of 1.1 billion.

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/...

P.S. But the teachers are earning too much and it's their fault our states are going bankrupt.

Thought I Was Gonna Be Rich
Thought I Was Gonna Be Rich

There has been no triple-dipping for those in the state retirement system, Pulp. This is how it works for school teachers:

1. Teachers' retirement pay is currently calculated at 1.6% per year of work multiplied by the average of their best five earning years at retirement. For example, a teacher who puts in 30 years, whose best five years averaged, say, $50,000, will receive 48% of that average pay (1.6% x 30 years = 48% x $50,000) or $24,000 per year in pension ($2,000 per month).

Catch: For every year under 30 years of service, teachers are penalized 5% of their pension. For example, in the same example as above but with only 20 years of service at retirement, the teacher would be penalized 50% of his/her retirement (1.6% x 20 = 32% of $50,000 = $16,000 per year + penalty of 50% = $8,000 per year in retirement pay).

2. DROP is a delayed retirement program where state workers who have reached retirement who agree to accrue no further increases in their retirement can work up to five more years and receive a cash bonus percentage when they retire by agreeing to "freeze" their benefits until they retire. This is a "hedge" to try to get people to retire early rather than wait until they have, say, 40 years of service and their retirement pay goes up significantly. That's a win-win, Pulp!

I'm not a teacher, I'm just married to one, and the Florida pension system is one of the best managed programs in the world. It's not overly generous--it's just right--so let's take it apart. The rich get richer, and working folks take another one on the chin.

Double-dipping, which is when a state worker retires, receives his/her pension and the is invited to back to work for the state shuld be banned.

You make good points
You make good points

Thanks for the good example. A couple of additional points... If the employee didn't enter the DROP, she would continue to accrue additional years of service and (perhaps) increase her average final compensation, which would increase the monthly payment to the employee in perpetuity once she actually did retire. Therefore, the employee accepts a lower annuity for life by entering the DROP and accruing a lump sum during the final 5 years of employment. Also, actuaries will tell you that DROP plans do not cost the retirement plan anything additional as long as the earnings rate paid to the DROP participant's account is not higher than the actuarial assumed rate of return for the Plan; if the earnings rate is lower than the assumed rate, the Plan actually can make money on the DROP participant's balance!

NoseBleedSeats
NoseBleedSeats

A Broward Teacher with 20 years on the job barely makes $50K and has a 1.5% multiplier, assuming average final compensation of $60K after 30 years the pension benefit is a whopping $27k per year until the teacher dies. If the teacher dropped for 5 years they have a $135k nest age waiting for them. Average retirement age for a teacher is 62.

A Broward Firefighter just hired makes $52K to start and has an average final compensation of $120,000 inclusive of overtime. Retiring after 25 years with a 3% multiplier the firefighter's pension benefit is $90k, or 50% more than the teacher ever made when working. Taking into account a 5 year drop the firefighter has an accumulated nest egg of $450k when the leave the fire service.

Does anyone really think teachers and their $27k pension are the problem? This factual example demonstrates what the real problem is. The private sector has the benefit of being able to evaluate it's business model and grow in good time. When bad times come the private sector simply reviews its' book of business and eliminates unprofitable divisions which means those people lose their jobs. If government followed this model we wouldn't have cops or firefighters because they don't make a profit. It's really wrong to compare our capitalist system to government when the underlying principles are totally different. Much of what the private sector does is unessential, some of what government does is as well. Who decided a cop and a used car salesman or a new car salesman for that matter deserve the same retirement benefits? Realtors who can't spell make $300k a year in boom times and sell shoes at JC Penney's today, is that a firefighters fault? Teachers have to teach your kids in good times and bad and they don't get paid much for doing it, funny where we put our money. Most of us think Public Servants are idiots when the economy is good and the money rolling in, yet we envy these people now? Grow up people, this State is a mess not because of cops, firefighters, and teachers. It's a mess because of corrupt elected officials, sleazy developers, skeezy lobbyists, and a string of lousy governors all elected by us! We get what we pay for and in the case of Florida that means a disgraceful public education system, corrupt public officials, and millionaire state reps, senators, and a governor who represent us while steering millions into the pockets of their friends. Can we really blame this on teacher pensions?

Carmody13
Carmody13

Average final compensation of a firefighter $120,000??? Don't think so. Please let us all know where you got your "facts" from Mr Melodrama.

The state pension is very well funded, in fact it is one of the soundest pensions in the country. Those are facts.

Gov Scott wants to slash said pension fund to balance a budget on the backs of those who have dedicated themselves to public service - teachers, police, firefighters, etc. What does this goofy Governor know about public service? He spent $73 million to buy the office because he stands to make billions from HEDGE FUND managers and corporations.

Adele
Adele

I'm unemployed and looking for work right now. There are hundreds applying for one job the companies are not paying any decent wage and they're not offering medical insurance or benefits. The Govennor should raise the dollar amount of unemployment compensation. How could anyone live on on $275 a week in this day and age? He doesn't care about the people!

StonedCEO
StonedCEO

$600 seems like an awful lot of money to smuggle some gatorade, a picture and a few batteries. Gotta be more to it then that.

Citizen
Citizen

It's about time someone stood up to all the public employee unions that are bankrupting the state and local governments. Kudos to Scott.

VirgilStarkwell
VirgilStarkwell

The economic collapse was caused by Hitler Bush and Goebels Cheney. Obama is trying to pass legislation but the conservatist are conspiring against him. The republicans and the teaparty people want to kill democrats with all there guns.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

In that context, the word "their" is possessive and is not spelled "there".

If you had even a minimal education, you would know that.

And so many other things.

Guest
Guest

Some how I think this isn't our friend Virgil's style of writing. Could this be a poser ?

Guest
Guest

I don't like Rick Scott. Florida elected a dishonest man for Governor period. I'll keep an open mind, but I can't help but think this is not a favorable measure for many people.As I was reading Pulp's above article I started tho think the guard was doing a humane hing for the inmate giving him a sports drink, some batteries and a picture of the inmates girlfriend, When I read further and it was revealed he took money for this that's when I agreed with the bail.

herbcaenentertainmentaward
herbcaenentertainmentaward

Bravo to Gov Rick Scott. He might end up our States hero. If States start filing for bankruptsy there will be a bigger lose of pensions. This is a win win on both sides.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

You cannot look at these austerity measures in a vacumn, which I believe the Pulp is doing today. There would be no reason for any of these cuts if the following was not occurring simultaneously:

1) The ultra-wealthy are getting away with murder and are not paying their fair share of the taxes. Many are taxed at the much lower level of capital gains, and many set up tax shelters in foreign countries. I am not referring to many of you here who delude yourself into thinking you are in that category (Those making a few hundred K per year) I am referring to whales, the liquid wealthy.

2) In 2009, 2 of every 3 American corporations paid NO income taxes to the IRS. That's right. I said 2 of every 3 companies paid zippo to our Internal Revenue Service. (Google it if you don't believe me)

In fact, in 2009, Exxon made 247 billion dollars in revenue and paid 47 billion in taxes, not a penny of it to the IRS, because they set up over 20 subsidiaries in countries known as tax havens. There are other househould name Mega Corporations that have done the same and we are losing hundreds of billions of dollars per year on this activity alone.

4) Over the last several decades, the U.S. has lost trillions of dollars in investment capital and jobs that has been sent overseas by the corporatists that would rather do business with communists so that they can pay slave wages. This has resulted in the decimation of the middle class and our tax base, which could be used to pay our public employees.

5) The deregulation of the activities of the human filth on Wall Street led directly to where we are today, which is a record number of foreclosures, which has lead to an enormous decrease in our tax base.

THEREFORE, by arguing that since the private sector "indentured servants" have taken it on the chin, so should the public sector employees, you have fallen prey to precisely what these elite pieces of garbage want.

Of course, that is to divide and conquer.

"There's a sucker born every minute". PT Barnum

Virgil Is A Douchebag
Virgil Is A Douchebag

More stupid communist propaganda from starkwell. we got your number moron. we can see through your bullshit. Just be honest for the bloggers here. Admit your card carrying membership in the Communist Party.

The problem is that your ideas have been tried many times in many places and the end result is always MISERY.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

P.S. Suggesting that the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes is akin to communism?

The only douche bag is the one you look at in the mirror.

Guest
Guest

Can you be more of a dope? I think you're the poser.

unowho
unowho

What next Bob ....Spoelstra is an A - OK B- Good C Great basketball coach ?....... Just the beginning of Guvner Scotts achievements to put the "a" back in Floridah !!! .....With all the corrupt pols LE etc in prison or on there way, we have created our own gov employment and as Parkland man would say, clients for the greedy fn lawyers!!!..... .Lets Get To Work!!!

OMGClayAiken
OMGClayAiken

Virgil just lost his tiny little erection reading that headline--he and the Bob are broken up now!

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

The teacher payscale in Broward tops out at 65k over 30 years there are some degree incentives that bring that pay up maybe another 10k. They only get 1.5 % multiplier. Judges get 3.3, Cops and firemen 3.0% So teachers who are the lowest paid of the bunch, have to pay for materials out of their owns pockets, and have the worst pension are going to get slammed again.

There are way more cops and fireman making 6 figures than teachers.

Every teacher has a degree, most cops don't.

We need to put our money where our mouth is regarding education. If we truly believe our children are the future, we need to invest in that future and those who educate them.

Entelechy
Entelechy

Agree. Teachers get the shaft. Cops and Fireman give it. Being a teacher is a more dangerous job than being a cop. Most cops milk the system and are on the dole - not all but most. I know one guy that does everything possible to avoid any type of work. the guy is unbelievable and brags along with his buddies abou 20 of this friends haow the milk the syatem get side hobs paying 50.00 an hour. How anyone can compare the two is beyond me. Just imagine having cops being in charge and educating your kids, Scary thought.

Stupidisasstupiddoes
Stupidisasstupiddoes

Tell that to the families of the three St Pete cops that were killed recently.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

DF3 Right on!!! We'll never develop a non-tourist related economy if major firms don't move here. And, major firms won't move here if education stinks. Most teachers, (as most cops, lawyers, waitresses, etc.), do their utmost to actually teach our children. That small percent of every group are only there for a guaranteed salary. When we pay people what their efforts are worth, perhaps things will improve. I am in awe of the patience of most teachers. Every adult should spend a day in a classroom. Thank you teachers!!!

Goldilocks
Goldilocks

I'm surprised about the low bond amounts required of the government officials. Most have resources and can easily skip town. Anyone remember Joe Gersten?

therealyaz
therealyaz

It does seem that money and power win over some stupid peon that doesn't have a pot to piss in.

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