Monday, December 15, 2008

48 percent raise for Utica school attorney - Absurd

48 percent raise for Utica school attorney
This is totally absurd. Particularly for someone who is -- allegedly -- an employee, entitling them to retirement benefits.

If the school attorney IS an employee, then for $80,000 he should be a full time employee, and not be limited to 80 hours a month. . . . and not be qualified for overtime. His office should be in the administration building, where he will be available on call for consultation during all business hours.
“We did some checking with schools and districts of a size comparable to ours …,” Dawes said. “We’re still quite a bit below them.” . . .

Superintendent Marilyn Skermont said Gerace’s pay worked out to $83.33 an hour. She said law firms in Syracuse quoted rates of more than $200 an hour, while rates through BOCES were $185 an hour.

“You’re not going to get anybody at $83 an hour,” Skermont said.
Well, is Mr. Gerace an employee or not? If he is an employee, then why is Ms. Skermont getting quotes from Syracuse firms? Firms are not employees.

Mr. Dawes, and school districts in general, need to check beyond school districts, and check what full time, "in house" attorneys in government service make . . . such as state service. The pay is considerably below $83/hr -- a trade-off for steady work, good health and vacation benefits, retirement benefits, no beating the bushes for clients, no midnight calls from clients, no malpractice insurance, no furnishing and maintaining an office, no pesky employees to pay and keep happy, etc., etc. The job rate (the top salary level reached after 10 years) for most state attorneys is below $100,000. . . This is for a full time salaried position that does not qualify for paid overtime (though many in state service do put in overtime). And there never seems to be a lack of qualified candidates to fill these positions.

UCSD's hiring arrangement is strange.
while rates through BOCES were $185 an hour.
This raises another issue . . . If they have in-house counsel that they are sharing with a school district, then the rate should be considerably less than that, for the reasons stated above. If they are billing as though they were a law firm, then there may be a serious breach of the Cannons of Ethics. BOCES IS NOT A LAW FIRM and is not licensed to practice law.


Anonymous said...

Just like all the disgruntled county social services workers, the attorney knew what the job paid when she accepted it. If you want a raise that exceeds inflation, go somewhere else and see what you can get. Only in Utica/Oneida County can you see such ineptitude in government.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Green gets $120,000 per year for a part-time job with the Town of New Hartford.

Greens and Beans said...

What do other government Attorneys make?

New York State Department of Civil Service
PEF Negotiating Unit
Starting Annual Salary $78,098
Job Rate (Top Rate) Annual Salary Rate $95,011

Anonymous said...

Haha... Although I'm appalled by the pay increase, I don't blame them. If I were a young professional, I wouldn't stay in this dumpy, crappy-ass county unless I was paid very well.
Actually, I'm paid fairly well as a single young professional, and I still want to leave this boring, crappy region. I'm surprised that they were able to hire an attorney at all.

Anonymous said...

This is, as usual the old boy network at work as practiced by the UCSD. If your a pal of one, or all of the school board members or the supt. then thay find a way to give you a raise & a way to justify it to the taxpayers by quoting bogus figures to the press, who don't question anything. Apparently, it hasen't yet hit the UCSD that the state funded gravy train is about to run out of steam. But, they can & will hit the taxpayers over the head with another tax increase as a way to pay for wasteful spending.