The phrase quoted in the title of this post ought to make Rhode Islanders’ blood boil. It’s the excuse rolled out for government employees’ abuse of taxpayers on a small scale, and it’s the central complaint of those who fear that the impossibly generous pension system will ultimately not pay out as well as they’d hoped.
As Ted Nesi and Tim White report, in this case, it’s the statement of former Democrat Representative Frank Montanaro Jr. of Cranston, son of labor union poobah Frank Montanaro, Sr., as he addresses questions about his own sweet little deal. Under the aforementioned contract, he was able to leave his lucrative job with Rhode Island College (RIC) and try out an even more lucrative job working for the General Assembly while RIC held his job open for him for three years — which is long enough perhaps to act as insurance if your political patron loses office in the next election.
As a technical, though not active, employee of RIC, Montanaro kept (under his contract) the benefit of free tuition for his son and somebody else whom he’s calling “a guardian.” Nesi and White peg the value to the Montanaros of that benefit at just under $50,000.
To some extent, Montanaro’s got a point. What’s he supposed to be — a saint who refuses this $50,000 gift despite the $73,000 raise he secured by moving from RIC to the Joint Committee on Legislative Services?
On the other hand, as with pensions, Montanaro may be the poster child for how labor unions abuse our government in order to negotiate these deals for themselves, their families, and their cronies. In that light, it looks more than a little like a racketeering scheme out of Crimetown.