Friday, December 21, 2012

Cruiser-Caper-Corruption

Corruption and/or outright rip-offs of the taxpayers on all levels of government are legendary in this state and city though to probably no greater extent than in other states. The recent appointing by the governor of his constant thorn-in-the-flesh, the State Senate president, to a judgeship and golden parachute pension-wise, as well as two other opposition senators previously given the same treatment, is a good example, though this bit of skullduggery has backfired so far. This was blatant corruption.

Teachers and law-enforcement/safety personnel can retire in their early fifties and draw full pensions for the rest of their lives, now close to an average of 30 years. Nearly a third of all retired Lexington policemen and firefighters have added to their already sizeable pensions a “disability” enhancement, meaning extra thousands. The people responsible to the taxpayers for negotiating contracts with these people or their unions know a good vote when they see it and, believing the state’s pockets have no bottoms, give away the store, something that can’t happen in industry, in which competition requires a realistic accounting.

The latest example in Lexington is a case in point. A policeman arrested a lady a few months ago for cause but apparently decided to let her forego the rap in exchange for a “quickie” in the back seat of his cruiser. She must have thought it over later, got mad, and accused him of rape, of which he has just been cleared in a trial but convicted on lesser stuff. He was on duty, apparently unhurt in the “payoff” and the whole lurid mess was consensual.

Latest news: This policeman, on the force for just ten years, has just resigned and filed for a disability pension, which means that, if awarded, will grant him up to 75% of his current wage, untaxed, for the rest of his life. Apparently, he’s just discovered this terrible injury acquired on duty though he was suspended last July and hasn’t been on duty since then. Most likely, it will be a back injury (the usual), but probably not incurred in the little escapade in the cruiser.

Based on the 2010 record, this policeman – on the basis of a 40-hour week – earned about $70,720, not accounting for overtime. If he gets the 75% rip-off, he can collect over $53,000, untaxed, until he dies, meanwhile working at anything else he chooses. If he’s stuck with the lower limit of 60%, he will get only get about $42,000 or so until he cashes in.

The odds are, though it will take a few months, that he will collect, though he was physically able to do his job (not injured, in other words) on the night he decided guilt or innocence in the backseat of his cruiser. One can only wonder if a sexually transmitted disease would qualify him for such a great pension, an attack of gonorrhea, for instance, on the 60% level, or (gasp) syphilis, that might require the 75% payout each month.

Sound harsh? Of course, it does…until one considers that this was a grown man, an officer of the law and apparently not suffering unduly. More to the point, the taxpayers should not be subjected to this kind of larceny. With the right amount of money spread around, most anything can be bought and sold in government, the place where the treasury belongs to everyone, meaning that it belongs to no one and is subject to being rifled at will.

The corruption/rip-off infiltrates every aspect of state endeavor. Just recently, two assistant football coaches (called coordinators but they’re just assistants) at the university were awarded yearly contracts for $550,000 and $500,000. The head coach makes millions per year. None of the men have anything to do with academics, supposedly the main concern of the university, where a newcomer to the faculty might knock down $60,000 or so if he/she is lucky.

Over the last considerable time, people in the far reaches of the county have been paid mega-millions for promising not to “do business” on their land, though their farms are businesses and though both Planning-Zoning and the City Commission already completely control land-use. This is a classic example of rip-off, with the taxpayers being the collective patsy. Disgusting!

Stay tuned for the results of the “cruiser caper” and potential injuries.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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