Here’s a follow-up to a story I reported on in December, when it turned out that a deputy director of the state Agriculture Department who was replaced last June was still on the state payroll, and was drawing his full $87,000-a-year salary through Dec. 31 even though he hadn’t come to work since June 8. The final chapter: Deputy Ag Director Mike Everett is no longer a state employee. He retired On Dec. 31st, according to the department’s human resources manager, Ken Miracle.
Everett was 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. According to records from the state Controller’s Office, 1,291 state employees received paid administrative leave from June to December. 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 was paid for more than 12 weeks of leave.
Then-Gov. Jim Risch announced Everett’s replacement on June 8. Lawmakers were surprised to find out in late December that he was still on the state payroll.