Giving public employees raises disguised as bonuses

Posted by: Phineas on June 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Here’s an interesting (and maddening) video from the California branch of Americans for Prosperity that shows how city governments disguise raises for public employees as “incentive bonuses,” often given for meeting the basic requirements of their job. For example, a licensed veterinary technician can get a $3,132 bonus for… being a licensed veterinary technician, which is prerequisite to even getting the job.

Oh, and it gets better than that:

Now, I usually have nothing against public employees (1), except when they try to treat the public treasury as a piggy bank. However, I reserve the bulk of my ire for public officials who are supposed to be responsible stewards of the public’s money (2) and instead use that money to buy votes, favors, and election help. And I have no respect for the dishonesty required to disguise a pay raise as a bonus because the elected official is too scared to honestly ask his bosses, the voters.

While this video is local to Los Angeles, we can be sure this dishonest graft-by-another-name goes on in other cities. It’s wrong at any time, but it is especially galling in an age when many municipalities are facing bankruptcy. And who would be surprised to find similar shenanigans at the state level?

The age of pigs-at-the-trough is coming to an end, and it’s past time to treat a public trust –the power to spend the people’s money– as a trust. Los Angeles can start by putting a stop to its ridiculous bonus system.


(1) Being one myself, that is. But I do have to wonder how I missed out on the gravy train. Must’ve picked the wrong agency to work for. Danggit.

(2) Yeah, I rolled my eyes at that one, too.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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6 Responses to “Giving public employees raises disguised as bonuses”


  1. maddogg says:

    California is so far down the road to Boned that a light touch on the brake pedal won’t mitigate the crash. They would have to go into full blown, both feet standing on the brake while screaming their lungs into the next time zone mode to do any good. Adios, Peoples Soviet Socialist Republic of Boneifornia.

  2. Great White Rat says:

    Meanwhile, out here in NJ, the public employee gravy train is losing steam: LINK.

    The really interesting part about this is that the state legislature is controlled by Democrats. Fortunately the Democrat leadership in both houses has enough sense to understand the magnitude of the financial crisis we’re in, and they’ve been able to ignore the union screaming and work with Gov. Christie to do something about it.

    In other words, this is a bipartisan effort.

    Remember not so long ago when calling something “bipartisan” meant it was all glowing, patriotic, cute-fuzzy-bunny wonderfulness? Not any more, according to the libs.

    And before you ask, Phineas, NO, you can’t have our governor. :d

  3. Phineas says:


    And before you ask, Phineas, NO, you can’t have our governor

    Selfish! :p

  4. J.P. Travis says:

    Would it surprise you to learn that most federal employees also get bonuses? I have yet to figure out why. If they do the job they were hired to do, then most likely their supervisor will be so delighted at the end of the year that they will put in the paperwork for a one to five thousand dollar bonus… or more. Just one of the ways that the bureaucrats pull the wool over our eyes.

  5. captaingrumpy says:

    Time for a few audits. The purse strings should be cut except for a few who have authority to spend.That’s the problem…..Too many people are allowed to authorise spending.

  6. Carlos says:

    Butcha see, Phineas, politicians don’t consider it “the public’s money.” To them (and where I am, public “servants” in general) it is the government’s money that they are gracious enough to let us use occasionally, provided what we “use” it for is within the bounds of what’s acceptable to them.

    They have no concept of “production” or “producers” but can quote chapter and verse of why socialism is a good thing.