Chicago College Official Gets $500,000 Windfall For Unused Sick Days

Wayne Watson $500,000 sick days payoutThe Great Recession and subsequent fragile recovery have shifted many Americans' view of taking time off from work. Fearing that they won't have jobs upon their return, plenty of workers leave paid vacation and sick days on the table -- and lose them because their employers require those days to be taken within a specified time.

In Chicago, however, the former chief of the city's community college system, Wayne Watson, will be paid for most of the 500 paid sick days he accrued during the last 10 years of his three-decade-long tenure, netting him an extra $500,000, Chicago News Cooperative reports.

Watson, who stepped down in 2009, has already received $300,000 of that amount, and is due two more annual payments of $100,000, the website says.

Watson may be the biggest beneficiary of a policy that permitted employees to cash-in unused sick days, but he's hardly alone. Another 140 City Colleges of Chicago employees have been paid at least $3 million during the last decade and are due another $4.2 million.

When asked about the $500,000 he's received for unused sick days, Watson told the News Cooperative, "You're asking me about three years ago and a different institution," and declined further comment.

The former community college chancellor is now president of Chicago State University, where he earns an annual salary of $250,000. He also draws a $140,000 yearly pension.

Policies revised last fall that took effect Jan. 1 now prevent nonunion employees from cashing out sick days when their employment ends.

The change was made to "save taxpayer resources," City Colleges Vice Chancellor Laurent Pernot said in an email to the news organization.

Under the old system, certain nonunion employees were able to set aside 80 percent of their unused sick time and be paid for them upon their departure, with no cap on how many days could be accrued.

During the last decade of his 31-year-long tenure, Watson only took 11.5 sick days while at City Colleges and was permitted to convert some unused vacation time into sick days. Further, he was paid $37,000 for other unused vacation days that hadn't been converted.

News Cooperative reports that at least 15 other former City Colleges administrators were owed $100,000 or more in unused sick time payments during the past decade, according to documents.

Next: Americans Leave Average Of 11 Unused Vacation Days On The Table

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at last weeks s.o.t.u. address everytime barry said put it on my desk and ill sign it .....this is what came to mind another bill filled with pork to ensure re-election.....

January 30 2012 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The post office does the same thing. Check it out! And they wonder why they're having problems?

January 30 2012 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As with most managers in a large ready-mix concrete company I work for, as long as they show up for a 2-3 hours they are allowed to leave without being docked for a sick day. cemex

January 30 2012 at 1:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The irony here is that thousands of citizens of Chicago, who paid his city government salary, his $500,000.00 sick leave windfall and $140,000.00 annual pension, will only have Social Security to live on when they retire. When scores of city officials are made millionaires by taxpayers at retirement thats a clear signal to the common folk of every city that its time to demand an impartial audit of employee benefits and post those findings in their local paper or other local news outlet web site.

January 30 2012 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is amazing at the theft of taxpayer $$ that occurs under the guise of education pension and/or benefits in the state of Illinois. It matters not if it is at the elementary, high school or college level of education these sycophants create a system that employs politicians and local school board members to create loopholes in contracts then abuse the h*ll out of the taxpayer.
If a private company allows their employees to retire with this type of arrangement, so be it since it is there profits that are being affected, however this guy is in a public system where YOUR taxes are being collected to support an "administrator". Why is this goof getting this payout when local police and fire departments continue to have funding issues? The state of Illinois politicians that set this guy up for life and continue gaming the system deserve a cell next to ex-Gov Blago!

January 30 2012 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Education pays. Educators are too free to receive your money in ways most beneficial to them. However, this proves that going into administration is far more lucrative than acutally being a low-life teacher. Don't forget to send your children to school with TP and other essentials once provided by schools so as not to diminish their future retirement pay and benefits, especially their while at they're at a new job and collecting a pension from the old. This happens in many states, the double-dippin' , for which nothing can be done to immediately rectiify the situation other than point out, while seeming to be unfair, that's what has been agreed upon and is legally binding. Occupy everything...

January 30 2012 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They sure know how to arrange themselves some super benefits in those late night meetings that no one else attends now don't they? Not sure if that's where the Milwaukee County board got their ideas or if it was vice versa.

January 30 2012 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OCCUPY COLLEGES--->Now! Lets see if the mush heads (most) attending college get out and protest this! Most of their "educators" in college teaching/admin jobs are WAY OVERPAID compared to other schools and private sector. 30 years ago the head of the depratment worked about 12 hrs a week and made $30k or better - oh, and he fished offshore the rest of the week!!!!
They are never sick, because they have a cushion job, not need to lie(yes lie) off!

January 30 2012 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Most companies use to pay for unused sick time. Usually it was only 50%, but paying is nothing new. It actually was a smart move. A lot of people did and still do feel oblegated to take sick days so they did not "loose" the benifit. When they knew they could recieve a partial payment, they were less likely to take the time off. I even had managers ingurage people to take sick days. However, it was usually limited to the calander year.

January 30 2012 at 1:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Kat Fiessinger

Must be nice to get sick leave at all!! My employer only hires and trains disabled people. Yet, we're allowed NO sick leave! Now, the able-bodied "supervisors" are given sick leave, but the disabled people who they exploit, get none!

January 30 2012 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Kat Fiessinger's comment

And people wonder why the middle class worker is rebeling.

January 30 2012 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Frank's comment

We need to rebel at the voting booth. And very loudly at that.

January 30 2012 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

You knew when you took the postion that that was the policy. So why aren't you saying YES I have a job?

January 30 2012 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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