For those lucky enough to have a ticket, “America’s Great State Payroll Giveaway” is right up there with the Powerball lottery. In California, the individual most profitably cashing in is all over the local LA media this week as a result of the first of a six-part segment of the ongoing Bloomberg News series.
Mohammad Safi, a graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, began working as a psychiatrist at a California mental hospital in 2006, making $90,682 in his first six months. Last year, he took home $822,302, all of it paid by taxpayers.
Safi benefited from what amounted to a bidding war after a federal court forced the state to improve inmate care. The prisons raised pay to lure psychiatrists, the mental health department followed suit to keep employees, and costs soared.
As a result of the article, Safi was suspended Tuesday for allegedly falsifying time records. On the Bloomberg end, there’s also a depressing sidebar confirming that California ranks number one in the nation for public service worker compensation.