The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has been taking off every Wednesday to hop a flight to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend classes at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in order to get a master’s degree in public administration.
Calley defends this paid time off to go to school, saying, “I’ve got no scholarships or help by the state or any other groups, I’m personally financing it 100%” and “I’m just like a lot of other Michiganders. I’m a full-time worker who’s pursuing higher education.”
That sounds nice. We all want to better ourselves. But that’s really not the question here. Imagine if Calley’s secretary wanted to skip out of work for an entire day each week to go to school with full pay. Or any other state worker, for that matter. Does Lt. Gov. Calley expect us to believe that this would be tolerated? Of course it wouldn’t.
Progress Michigan’s Executive Director Lonnie Scott issued this statement:
While we’re certainly not opposed to people bettering themselves through higher education, we think it’s highly inappropriate for the state’s second-in-command to be jet-setting across the country on a weekly basis while still earning a taxpayer-funded paycheck. We wonder if legislative leadership knew about this arrangement and are curious as to why the Lieutenant Governor never informed the public about his decision to leave the state every week.
The average Michigander doesn’t have the luxury of taking this much time off work and I am sure they would not be happy to know that their tax dollars are paying the Lieutenant Governor to take a day off each week.
As Progress Michigan points out in their press release, Calley makes over $2,000 a week paid for with out tax dollars. According to the Free Press article, Calley has missed 62 days session days even though other state employees are only allowed between 15 and 35 vacation days, according to the Michigan Civil Service Commission. And I’d be willing to bet Calley didn’t take these as vacation days.
But Lt. Gov. Calley works in the Snyder administration and when you work in the Snyder administration, the normal rules don’t necessarily apply to you. Close association with Rick Snyder earns you perks not enjoyed by the average person or even the average state worker.
It’s a great gig if you can get it.
[CC photo credit: Michigan Municipal League | Flickr]