George Zoley is America’s highest paid “correctional officer”, raking in $22 million in personal compensation between 2008 and 2012. David Steiner is America’s highest paid “sanitation worker”, making $45 million between 2006 and 2012. Ron Packard is America’s highest paid “teacher”, pocketing $19 million between 2009 and 2013.
These people are not your ordinary “government workers” who have been much maligned and vilified by pundits and politicians. Rather, they are corporate executives who took over public services and made themselves instant multi-millionaires subsidized by taxpayers.
According to a new report released this week by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), Zoley, Steiner, Packard – who are executives of private prison giant GEO Group, Waste Management, and K12 Inc. respectively – and three other CEOs of government contractors raked in more than $100 million in personal compensations during the past few years. No wonder these companies have long pushed for privatization of various public services. And the way they make money would make Frank Underwood of House of Cards proud.
GEO Group, for example, write in many of its contracts language that requires the state to keep prisons full and bills taxpayers for empty beds. As a result, there has been an increase of more than 500% in incarceration and detention in the U.S. over the past three decades. The firm is a supporter of the notorious corporate bill mill, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and participated in its task force that pushed bills that lengthened time in prison.
The company makes big bucks through various cost-cutting measures like low pay, understaffing, and inadequate training. It has been subject to many lawsuits ranging from inmate death and abuse, excessive force, and medical neglect.
“Given these astronomical salaries, and evidence of higher prices, poor service, and at times outright malfeasance, taxpayers have every right to be concerned about how their outsourced dollars are spent,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of CMD.
Read more about the highest paid 'government' workers at PR Watch.