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Where State Troopers Can Make Nearly $500K Per Year

Accumulated vacation and overtime can lead to big bucks


A retired highway patrol office can pull down nearly a half-million dollars in California.

That’s what Jeff Talbot, the now-retired California Highway Patrol division chief made in his last year on the force, Bloomberg reports. When he was cashed out for his leave and vacation time and his first year’s pension, Talbott brought in $484,000.

Talbott took advantage, perfectly legally, of a system in California where a combination of union-negotiated benefits and a lack of controls on accumulated leave allows officers to more than double their expected pay. There’s also overtime pay for officers that comes in at double their standard pay rates.

But that may not last in the cash-strapped state. “I think some of our rules were negligent, and I think people were allowed to build up overtime pay who shouldn’t have been, who accumulated leave time and furlough time,” Marty Morganstern, Governor Jerry Brown’s secretary for the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency.

Despite Morganstern’s strong words, however, Brown hasn’t done anything to limit overtime pay or controlled the amount of leave a state employee can accrue. During Brown’s first term in the 1970s, the governor granted collective bargaining to California’s state workers.

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