A state agency deputy director who was replaced last June is still on the state payroll, drawing his full $87,000-a-year salary through Dec. 31 even though he hasn’t come to work since June 8.
That’s the highest-cost example this year of the use of paid administrative leave by the state – a type of leave that’s entirely discretionary, has no time limits and even allows the employee to continue accumulating state-paid vacation and sick leave benefits while on paid leave. Former state Agriculture Department Deputy Director Mike Everett has been on paid administrative leave since the day Gov. Jim Risch announced his replacement.
“I thought he was gone, period,” said Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of the budget-writing Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “If that’s the way the system is set up, it’s a disappointment to me. … It’s a heck of an amount of money.”
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, the joint committee’s Senate vice-chair, said, “I knew that Mr. Everett had been dismissed or relieved of his duties. … I find it very curious. … I know we have a surplus, but there’s always other needs that we could be funding.”
According to records from the state Controller’s Office, 1,291 state employees have received paid administrative leave since June. All but 60 of those received less than 40 hours of the paid leave. After Everett, the next highest paid leave totals were racked up by a Commerce and Labor employee who has been paid for more than 12 weeks of leave since June. Three employees at the Corrections Department and one at Juvenile Corrections each have received six weeks or more of paid leave. One employee each at the departments of Health and Welfare, Idaho State Police and Idaho Historical Society has received four weeks since June. Read the full story here in The Spokesman-Review.