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State worker: I get paid $2,200 for 5 minutes work
COLONIE -- For five minutes of work each week, state executive Michael Cunningham earns $2,200 -- unless his employer, the Department of Labor, imposes penalties for things such as reporting to work too early or places him involuntarily on sick leave.
Cunningham performs his duties, what few there are, from his suburban home with an eye on the clock, because he's docked a day's pay if he doesn't call the office at precise times twice daily. That's the way it's been for most of the past 19 months, since his boss designated his residence as his office.
The home alone situation follows a period in which Cunningham was investigated and found guilty of misconduct -- for taking off early three times -- with investigators taking extraordinary measures such as getting his E-ZPass records and securing a tracking device on his 2006 BMW.
"He's on house arrest," said Joseph Sano, executive director of the Organization of Management and Confidential Employees, which represents state managers and support personnel who are not in unions.
Cunningham's boss at the Department of Labor expects the $115,000-a-year work force training manager to manage no one. He must get permission to leave his house during normal work hours. That's in case someone might try to contact him from the office, which, until a reporter began inquiring recently, has been rare.
"I have no work," Cunningham said. "When you check and double-check the facts, you're going to be outraged. A whole lot of people are going to be outraged."
In May 2009, his supervisor made Cunningham's house Cunningham's official work station, DOL letters show. He's been directed only to make two calls a day to a secretary. Each takes about 20 to 30 seconds.
A reporter observed his workload last week: Cunningham dialed seven digits from his cordless phone from his kitchen. "Hi, is this Linda?" he asked during a call on Monday morning. "I'm checking in. OK, Linda. Have a good weekend? OK. I'll check in with you this afternoon."
After hanging up, he said: "With that, I'm officially on duty," a nervous smile appearing.
What will $115,000 buy?
A year's worth of groceries for 15 families of four
A modest bungalow and used car in Schenectady
Half a ticket to outer space on Virgin Galactic (you could cut costs by going one way)
What can taxpayers get for $115,000?
Keep two visitor centers open most of the coming year in the Adirondack Park Agency's Newcomb and Paul Smiths sites.
Reopen the Empire State Plaza skating rink for two winters.
Keep the Schoharie Crossing Historic Site in Montgomery County open.
Read more: www.timesunion.com...
Originally posted by earthdude
my friend went to the state building when he moved to California. He wanted to work for the state. He told them he was looking for work and they gave him some papers to fill out and told him to stand in a line. When he got to the window they gave him a bunch of cash. He asked where he would be working and they told him he could not work and get this cash at the same time. They told him to come back for more money next month. He thought California was great but came back home because he was tired of just sitting around and drinking beer with the free money.
I thought this story was relevant.
He (Kenneth Varley, the lawyer) alleges Cunningham is being retaliated against for a U.S. District Court suit filed in 2005 against the Labor Department in which Cunningham claimed he was subjected to discrimination because of his race.