Ed Driscoll

The Million-Dollar Mail Room

OK, three quarters of a million dollars. That we know of:

The highest-paid state employee in California last year, a prison surgeon who took home $777,423, has a history of mental illness, was fired once for alleged incompetence and has not been allowed to treat an inmate for six years because medical supervisors don’t trust his clinical skills…

Rohlfing’s $235,740 base pay, typical in California’s corrections system, accounted for about a third of his income last year. The rest of the money was back pay for more than two years when he did no work for the state while appealing his termination. A supervisor had determined that Rohlfing provided substandard care for two patients, according to state Personnel Board records.

Rohlfing won that case before the board and was rehired and assigned to “mailroom” work in late 2009.

“We want taxpayers to know we had no choice in this,” said Nancy Kincaid, spokeswoman for the court-appointed receiver in charge of California’s inmate healthcare. “If you are ordered to bring somebody back to work, and you can’t trust them with patients, you have to find something for them to do.”

Stacy McCain and other conservatives have taken to comparing California with Zimbabwe, a nation ravaged by out of control hyper-inflation. But based on what the fellow above is pulling in while the state banishes him to the mail room, such a comparison may simply be taken as a salary guide by California’s ever-expanding civil servant class.