Who can make $98,000 a year for handing out pagers to fellow employees?Preach! Read the whole thing.
The answer is an Austin police officer who was fired for breaking the law and lying but then reinstated to the force through a civil service arbitration system.
His offenses and dishonesty make it risky to assign him to regular police work so he collects a fat paycheck for doing what is called basement duty.
Such is the broken system that permits arbitrators to substitute their decisions for those of police chiefs across Texas with virtual impunity. Until the Legislature fixes that, this community is stuck with bad decisions and cops who collect handsome salaries after they've abused their badges.
They're right that only the Lege could fix this problem, but unfortunately the issue in Texas is bad on a bipartisan basis, with members of both parties falling over themselves to curry favor with their local police unions, who years ago achieved a standoff with the Texas Municipal League (which represents Texas cities) over the contents of the civil service code, arbitration provisions, etc..
These are among the issues that first drew me into the criminal justice arena fifteen years ago and they remain among the most stubbornly resistant to reform. There's generally no public interest faction at the table in debates over the civil service code at the capitol, just the institutional players, and one thing I've noticed is that newspaper editorial writers seldom get to sit at the negotiating table over bills.