Medical Workers At California Prisons Paid Six-Figure Salaries

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Thousands of employees of the state of California made over $200,000 last year — with the vast majority of top payouts going to prison medical workers, according to newly-released data.

Controller John Chiang posted the salaries on his official website on Tuesday night, making the salaries publicly available for the first time, but without revealing the identities of the employees.

Of the 1,400 top earners in the state, 790 were prison doctors, dentists, or nurses, while 300 more were psychiatrists and other health care professionals employed by the Department of Mental Health.

The biggest factor behind the top salaries: payouts for unused vacation and sick time that sometimes doubled an employee’s base salary.

The Los Angeles Times reported one prison psychiatrist, Fong Lai, was paid $594,976 for what amounts to over two-and-a-half years of unused sick time.

San Francisco Chronicle political columnist Phil Matier told KNX 1070 the overspending should be blamed on the state’s lax oversight.

“Basically, what we have is bad management going on here,” said Matier.

California law limits the amount of time workers can accrue to 80 days of vacation or sick time.

Many of the employees listed in the database had up to three years of accrued time.

“How do you manage to work that much, not take a day off, in that amount of time?” asked Matier. “But so far, lawmakers don’t seem to be too much interested in this.”

  • TT

    just a thought ? do we have students doing internships in the prisons to offset these costs ?? just wondering …Anybody know ?

  • Chris

    Well, Now we know why this state is in a financial mess! The funds are not being monitored….Dirty politics! No wonder people like me cant get Grants for creative projects! They all go into the pockets of dirty politics!

  • geeM

    And you’re going to say that doctors, dentists, or nurses, and psychiatrists in the private sector make less than 100K ?
    Prisons are just a joy to work in. I’m sure there is a line of degree’d professionals just waiting to work there.

    • upyours

      Right, and there are never any applications to be a whiny incompetent overpaid a$$wipe cop because the job is so dangerous, dumba$$.

  • Karen

    A psychiatrist should know better. That shrink needs to use his/her vacation. Work-life balance right?

    I do NOT agree that nurses be paid six figures.

    And what is with the paid sick time being translated into CASH when not used. Where else but with CA government can an employee get cash for sick time. I HAVE NEVER RECEIVED MONEY FOR SICK TIME.

    I am glad these salaries were posted. We need to tell our legislators – ENOUGH@!

  • f cali

    all the sob who allowed this should be arrested and locked up in the prisons they work

  • upyourd

    Any whiny pu$$y voter that listened to the sniveling alarmist legislators and voted for their tough on crime agendas so they could get re-elected under “public safety” interests can f*ck off. You guaranteed these outrageous salaries, and hey, the inmates will be getting better health care than most of you since the feds took over. And, now there is the a$$wipe governor that drops his pants and bends over every time the prison guard union sneezes.

  • Kobe

    We need an uprising real bad. Even worse than the Middle East. California is way worse than Egypt or any other corrupt country. We need to drag these politicians out of their office and hang them. That is the only way California can go on. Only a few people will be able to eat in a few years. Something or someone will spark an uprising very soon.

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