Letters to the Editor

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PAID LEAVE: Time for change

Letter by Lyle Laws, Puyallup on Dec. 28, 2010 at 4:42 pm with 11 Comments »
December 28, 2010 4:42 pm

In addition to eliminating the double dipping loophole which is costing taxpayers millions, when the Legislature convenes next month another action that could help reduce spending in these difficult times would be a reform of the paid administrative leave policy.

When law enforcement officers are involved in a situations in which they have to use their weapons, they are usually always placed on paid administrative leave until the details of the situation have been sorted out, and that is completely understandable. However, when public employees are removed from their jobs because they fail to do their work, pose a danger to others or have been charged with a crime, extended paid leave can become an abusive drain on public funds.

Some situations drag on for many months or even years, and all of the time taxpayers are paying not only the people on leave but those who are replacing them. So, how could the problem be solved?

If situations are so bad that employees have to be removed from their jobs, paid leave should be limited to two months with the understanding that if in the future it is determined that they were wrongfully removed they would be entitled to what they would have received.

Maybe it could only happen in New York City, but today I learned that a teacher there has been on paid administrative leave for 13 years.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. WarmNfuzziOne says:

    It only takes a single, groundless accusation to get some county and I presume, state workers put on admin leave. It happens regularly with juveniles and female offenders. For every substantiated case of employee wrong doing there are many multiples of innocent staff members being falsely accused, often because they did their job, enforced policy, became too effective in correcting bad behaviors, etc.

    So…should a vindictive resident of a state facility be able to impact the livelihood of an employee who has done nothing as well as harm reputations and possible promotions by simply fabricating a lie? There’s no means of retribution for false accusations of abuse or sexual harassment and that’s spelled out clearly in most policies and perhaps even RCW.

    A thorough investigation takes time.

  2. pazzo242 says:

    Lyle, so nice of you to allow 2 months of admin leave. So what happens after that—foreclosure, welfare, food banks, etc. But oh we have saved the county so much money because of false accusations and some vindictive criminal or in the case you cited, student.

    I am sure your letter was generated because of the recent case involving the Tacoma PD sergeant and DUI charge. Lets keep in mind that if a non-public employee is charged with a crime (such as DUI) they have the opportunity to bail out and return to work without telling their employer anything—no so for the TPD sergeant. Let us also keep in mind that as a citizen of the United States you are innocent until proven guilty, but I see you don’t want to grant that to the public employee. When one reads the blogs on that article of the TPD sergeant he was already guilty and your suggestion of only two months of admin leave is exactly the same. You have decided that if the investigation takes more then two months then too bad for the public employee (police officer) just fend for yourself. Not only that but you want to violate a union contract–does that mean you are anti-union?

    I’m sorry but you can keep you so magnanimous suggestion (heavy sarcasm).

  3. Lyle – so, after two months and non-conclusive investigation proving neither guilt nor innocence, the officer being investigated should be suspended without pay? Or, the investigation should be concluded without conclusion and an officer who may be guilty should just return to active duty?

    Think it through…….what is fair to the (presumed) innocent employee as well as protecting the interests/safety of the public?

  4. truthbusterguy says:

    There is a simple solution here. What is the normal practice for private businesses in WA state. Why should WA state employees be treated any different. One reason is these are deals put in place by the state worker unions that don’t care what it cost the taxpayers.

    These wasteful practices will not end until we decertify the state unions, have tort reform that require those that file frivolous lawsuits pay for the cost of defense when they lose in court and a drastic reduction in the stupid regulations that lead to these workers being placed on the sidelines for so long.

    Here’s an idea, for every new law the legislature passes they must get rid of 5 older ones. (they don’t enforce them anyway) The state’s rule books must be trimmed. It has become so bad that we break some law just by waking up each morning and getting out of bed.

  5. surething says:

    Is Lyle the only person able to submit on here? He is on here all the time.

  6. Lyle,
    You are right on. Too intelligent for Washington State citizens. Coy Christopher Clark, WSP arrested in March for DUI, for calling a subordinate who was on duty in King County to drive (while on duty in King County) down to 104th & Canyon in Puyallup to help him out of the ditch….yep, he sat forever on paid administrative leave. The idiots on here who claim private employees can go back to their jobs are wrong. A commercial driver, or anyone who drives as part of their job CANNOT return to work after a DUI arrest. Yes, treat these people like other citizens. When the evidence is overwhelming, place them on unpaid administrative leave, just like anyone else that cannot perform their job.

  7. freakwater says:

    The military is Socialism in the purest form. Our food and shopping is government-subsidized just like in the old Soviet Union; the U.S. tax payer is billed (bilked?) for our government medical care; our paychecks come from the tax dollars of citizens who work at real jobs in the private sector and industry; we receive guaranteed annual pay raises; and it’s nigh impossible to get fired from our jobs. We also get 30 days paid vacation every year. Good enough for government work!

  8. BlaineCGarver says:

    I doubt, Freakwater, that you have ever been in uniform.

  9. pazzo242 says:

    Freakwater if you really are in the military you are a disgrace. Nothing on this planet is keeping you there so when your enlistment is done you have the right to walk, just like I did when I finished my enlistment in the Navy in 1973. Or did you reenlist?

    If you are an officer you are even more of a disgrace but you have the option to resign your commission–given you think the military is so morally bad.

  10. ransteth says:

    How is it you are not subject to the same 30 day “Black-out Period” as other Letter to the Editor contributors? You just had a letter posted 5 days ago.

  11. sue1234 says:

    It is the teacher’s fault he is still on the books after 13 years. Nor is it the union’s fault. The fault lies completely with the school districts administration. They impliment the policies.

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