Ohio taxpayers are on the hook for more than $444 million owed to state employees for unused vacation and sick leave payouts, a benefit available to few in the private sector, a Journal-News investigation found.
Tens of millions more are owed to county, city and other government employees, some of whom are able to cash out five-figure payouts.
Middletown police Sgt. Richard Bowling cashed out $79,720 when he retired last year, bringing his total pay last year to $150,147. Another Middletown police sergeant, John Newlin, took $71,047 on retirement. Each oversaw a platoon of patrol officers.
“You’re looking at 25 years of time,” said Middletown Police Lt. Jim Cunningham of Bowling’s service, noting 480 hours he cashed out was overtime he accrued throughout his career and cashed out on retirement.
Middletown city employees — unlike at many local governments — can also cash out some of their unused sick and vacation leave on an annual basis. Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw received $3,680 for unused sick and vacation leave last year, boosting his gross pay to $115,498.
Hamilton, Middletown, Butler County and Warren County each have a total liability of more than $5 million for unused employee sick and vacation leave, according to each government’s most recent comprehensive annual financial report.
The Journal-News examined payouts for these governments and non-university state employees. The examination found 105 employees who were paid in excess of $40,000 for unused sick and vacation leave last year — 98 at the state level, three each in Hamilton and Middletown, and one in Warren County.
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