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Footing The Bill: Latham To Stay On FSSA Payroll Until He Gets Well

FssaThe Star's Robert King has more on the Michael Latham situation:

"The state has eliminated a controversial chaplaincy program, but the man hired to lead it is receiving disability pay -- and will be until he is well enough to be fired.

"The Family and Social Services Administration said Wednesday that as of Aug. 1, it had discontinued the program, started last year as a way to help employees cope with the agency's difficult privatization.

"The Indianapolis Star reported in June that the program had cost the state $100,000 and had produced little in return.

"In nearly 18 months, the FSSA said the program had met few of its goals, including the setup of a network of volunteer chaplain counselors for FSSA offices across the state.

"The Rev. Michael Latham, the Fort Wayne chaplain hired at $60,000 a year to lead the program, suffered an undisclosed illness and was granted short-term disability status retroactive to July 30 -- two days before the program was killed.

"Latham, 46, can receive 60 percent of his pay until he recovers well enough to be officially fired."


So he gets $36,000 a year for doing nothing. Not as good as $60,000 a year for doing nothing, but still not bad. Does he at least lose his assistant and his state car, or are we the taxpayers required to continue funding these for him too?

He isn't going to get $36,000/year because short term disability can only last for up to 5 months. His short term disability benefits are prorated for such a "salary" and this entire situation makes sense if you think about it. Would YOU want to be fired just because you went on disability? Luckily federal law prohibits such a firing for that reason.

Don't blame FSSA for this, the outside company running the disability program made the determination retroactive to July 30th. FSSA has to follow their determination and federal law.

It pays to read the entire article.

But isn't the real question this: if you don't really work, how can you have a work-related disability?

And since this was essentially an appointed position -- it's not like he was hired into a well-established job -- why didn't they just ask him to resign? Why do they have to fire him? Are they trying to make it possible for him to collect unemployment next?

Or could the decision to terminate his position but backdate the disability determination all be a clever ploy to give him a "buy-out" package that couldn't have passed the smell test otherwise? Extremely cynical viewpoint? Perhaps. Doesn't mean it couldn't be correct.

Forgive my cynicism, but I can't help thinking that this supposed disablility arrived just in time to kick in before he was fired. Sure seems awfully convenient.

i heard he was in some financial trouble
is that true??

Okay, fine, so the do-nothing can ONLY get up to $15,000 because of his "illness". I did read the whole article, Wolfrham. I don't believe for one minute this is all above board. It stinks to high heaven. If you don't believe that the Daniels administration engineered his getting disability payments, then I have a multimillionaire gubernatorial candidate for you who is really, really just like we common folk.

Naw, 5:46. He's simply misheard and thought he was really like WEE common folk :-)

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