Sick Bonuses No Good in an Ailing Economy

The new Hummel report on sick bonuses kind of changes the whole discussion about the state cutting $125 million in local aid, doesn’t it?. Scott Avedisian, the mayor of Warwick, was among those who decried the proposed reductions, calling them “unacceptable.” Now, he is on camera explaining why his city is paying out  $358,000 in sick bonuses to 162 people. In an extended interview, Avedisian goes into detail about the contract negotiation process and airs his fears that a management union might form if the city tries to cut $1,600 to $2,000 sick bonuses to managers who in some cases are earning around $100,000 or more. As Hummel points out many communities in the state offer cash payments for unused sick time at retirement, which leads us to wonder how much of the $125 million aid reduction could be offset by eliminating these bonuses. Check out the contract in your community by clicking on the RI Data section of our Transparency Train. Visit the Hummel Report for direct links to excerpts from the contracts and payrolls in Warwick. The experience of another state suggests the savings would not be insignificant. In New Jersey, a state commission found that eliminating payments for unused sick and vacation time payments, certain severance deals, and other goodies, like paid time to go Christmas shopping would save a total of $39 million in 566 towns and cities. Read the more here.

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