Cost of turnover at NCTD much higher than reported

Last week, we published a story about the continuing turnover at the North County Transit District and the cost in severance agreements — nearly $300,000 — the agency has incurred since Jan. 1, 2014.

Since publication, a number of sources have reached out to tell us that the total is even greater, and the severance agreements themselves show that to be true.

The $300,000 was the total amount of the severance payments — money handed over in a lump sum after an employee signs a contract ending his or her employment. What we didn’t take into consideration is the amount paid to employees who were no longer physically working at the district but were kept ‘on-call’ for their services, sometimes up to six months, at full pay.

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For example, the senior contracts administrator at NCTD, Larry Frum. He signed his severance agreement on Oct. 31, 2013. But the language in the signed contract shows he was to be kept on full-pay for another six months, until May 15, 2014.

According to the State Controller’s office, Frum’s position paid more than $10,000 a month. Receiving full pay for six months after signing the severance agreement would amount to another $61,000 — at least — on top of severance pay.  NCTD also continued to pay Frum’s health benefits through June 30, 2014 and his life insurance plan through May 31, 2014.

In total, that one employee cost the district around $100,000 when he left.

In total, NCTD awarded 17 months of full pay (like Frum’s) to 12 employees who ‘left’ the transportation district between Oct. 30, 2013 and May 20, 2014.

On a side note, we requested the last 10 severance agreements between San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and its employees — not including security officers — for comparison.

We received the severance papers the next day, and it showed MTS has spent about $81,000 in severance payouts since July 31, 2013. None of the agreements included any language about continuing “on-call” pay.

MTS has 1,452 full time employees.

NCTD, according to its documents, employed 127 in FY 2013.


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About Brad Racino:

Brad Racino
Brad Racino is a senior investigative reporter and assistant director at inewsource. To contact him with tips, suggestions or corrections, please email bradracino [at] inewsource [dot] org. You can contact him securely on Signal (845-553-4170).