Monday, October 10, 2011

Where's 'Occupy City Hall' when you need them?

There’s plenty for taxpayers to be concerned about in today’s Courier-Journal report about the deferred compensation package that apparently awaits Bud Schardein, executive director of Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District? Which bothers you the most – that:

• Schardein, whose salary is $181,147, will get $200,000 in deferred compensation if he hangs around for another 15 months. Apparently, this was a benefit designed to keep Schardein from leaving the MSD?

• All of this is happening while customers’ rates have been going up by 5 percent to 7 percent annually – increases the bureaucrats claim are needed to pay for renovations?

• Other Louisville government agencies – including the Louisville Water Co., Transit Authority of River City, Louisville Regional Airport Authority and even metro government itself – “don’t provide anything similar to encourage their leadership to stay?”

• Schardein likely will, with his long tenure and high salary, receive a six-figure government pension?

• MSD Chief Engineer Mark Johnson, who’s also getting hefty taxpayer-financed raises and bonuses – has, according to the Courier-Journal story, “retained business ties with the owners of his former consulting firm while the firm contracts to secure no-bid MSD contracts.”
• Jefferson County Public Schools is generously contributing $35,000 of Louisville taxpayers’ salary into an annual annuity for new superintendent Donna Hargens – even before she has proved whether she can turn around one the failing school district?

• Former JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman, whose annual salary approached a quarter-million dollars, received $80,000 in such special annuity payments even as he presided over a district with five of the lowest-scoring high schools on the most recent ACT test?

• Mayor spokesman Chris Poynter seems to think there “may have been very legitimate reasons the MSD board” would allow an agency head to enrich himself as the expense of tax- and rate-payers?

• Metro Council President Jim King doesn’t want to get involved?

The Occupy Wall Street crowd cries “foul” when private-sector CEOs get such golden parachutes. But where, exactly, is that foul-smelling crowd now?

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