THE state has handed almost 150 bludging public servants a bonus of $10,000 each to quit and get a real job.Good, eh? But even better when you can say no.
The $1.4 million worth of handouts are on top of their usual entitlements.
Astonishingly, a further 250 "unattached" public servants - some being paid $100,000 a year to do nothing - have knocked back Premier Barry O'Farrell's generous $10,000 payout offer.Why would they? Ten grand's a decent lump sum but if they're getting that every six weeks or so and not having to do anything for it then a lot of people aren't going to take you up on it. That's not surprising, really. What is surprising, if not downright astonishing, is how long some of these people have been on a payroll and not been doing anything for it.
A TAFE worker, who has been pulling a wage for 16 years despite not actually having a job to do, and two RTA workers without a position for a decade are among the state employees refusing to take the handouts to quietly get off the state's books. Taxpayers are paying $16 million in wages each year to 390 public servants on the notorious "unattached list" - those who have had their positions axed but, incredibly, have held on to their jobs because the previous state government refused to order any forced redundancies.I don't want to encourage stereotyping here, and anyone who reads my stuff a fair but will know that I'm not much of a fan of the Australian Liberals, but for completeness of information I'd like to point out that the previous government of New South Wales was a Labor government, and that it had been Labor from 1995 all the way up to the election four months ago. The guy who's been paid without having any work to do for 16 years could well have had his position eliminated in 1995 just after Labor took the state, and he stayed there through no less than four Labor governments and leaders. Make of that what you will.
Those who do not accept the cash incentive before the end of the week will be given three months to find a job or have severance payments cut.And yet nearly 400 have said no. Make of that what you will. Even more interesting:
The longest time spent on the list by a staffer taking up the offer is 6.4 years.So the longer they've been getting money for nothing the less keen they seem to be on taking the ten grand. Gosh, another huge surprise.
Another seven departing public servants have been on the list for more than five years, while 35 have been displaced for two to five years.
The figures show 54 employees taking up the offer have been on the list for less than a year.
A government source said many staff were still hoping to find a permanent role before choosing to accept the offer.I'm sure they are, I really am. Let's face it, if the public service in New South Wales is anything like the UK's there are probably no shortage of jobs that pay pretty well and do actually exist but still produce roughly two fifths of fuck all. It's not as good as sitting around doing nothing on full salary but it's not a bad result all the same, and if you've spent 16 years without being asked to do any work it probably looks a hell of a lot better than heading into the private sector.
What's a real shame is that this kind of thing makes it tempting to tar all public servants with the same brush and treat them all as feckless and lazy. I do know a couple in the Victorian public service who work quite hard and are not bludgers, and I don't doubt that they're as appalled by this kind of thing as I am. However, governments waste money and rather than be seen as nasty bosses sacking workers they're as happy to waste it on needless staffing as they are anything else.