Friday, February 06, 2009

Government Employment Practices Resemble Situation Comedy

From the Albany Times-Union, portrait of Randall Hinton, government employee:

As he tells it, Randall Hinton is paid $93,803 a year to do nothing. He spends much of his workday at the State Insurance Fund donning headphones, listening to rock 'n' roll, blues or classical tunes and his superiors are cool with that.

His work agenda involves placing his feet up on his desk, staring out his office window and counting cars on the New York State Thruway. He arrives at 7:30 a.m., leaves at 3:30 p.m., sees no one and talks to no one. He never does any work. It's been this way for Hinton for most of this decade.

Since February 2002, Hinton has been director of investigations for the Insurance Fund, but he said he has never been allowed to investigate anything. Instead, he builds up pension credits, year after year, but is unproductive at work because his superiors are blackballing him, he and his former boss say.

Which kind of reminds me of another guy who couldn't be fired, George Costanza, in the Seinfeld episode, The Voice:

Thomassoulo: George, I've realized we've signed a one-year contract with you, but at this point I think it's best that we both go our separate ways.

George: I don't understand.

Thomassoulo: We don't like you. We want you to leave.

George: Clearer

(Scene: At Monks Cafe)

Jerry: So you're staying at Play Now?

George: Why not? Pay is good. I got dental, private access to one of the great handicapped toilets in the city.

Jerry: But they know you aren't handicapped, aren't you ashamed?

George: They're the ones who should be ashamed. They signed me to a one-year contract. As long as I show up for work every day, they have to pay me.

Again, from the Albany Times-Union:

Hinton contends he is without portfolio as retaliation for suing Gov. George Pataki's administration 10 years ago, alleging discrimination then, too. That was after getting stuck in a storeroom for two years for refusing to leave his post at the Department of Environmental Conservation heading investigations to make room for a Republican appointee, he said.
From Seinfeld:

Jerry: So, what's going on?

George: Siege mentality, Jerry. They really want me out of here. They've downgraded me to some sort of a bunker. I'm like Hitler's last days here.

Jerry: So, are you going to leave?

George: Oh no! I'm vigilant. They'll never get me out. I'm like a weed, Jerry.

Jerry: I thought you're like Hitler in the bunker?

George: I'm a weed in Hitler's bunker.

(Hat tip, JB)

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