BART Notices Comp Problems; Pours “Surplus” In
The San Francisco Examiner reports that the Board of Directors for BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit, has approved almost 9 million dollars to help pay for some 800 open workers’ compensation claims, citing increases in medical treatment costs and the growing trend of some employees padding their retirement with comp benefits.
According to the article, the directors were taken by surprise, having had no idea of the growing hole in BART’s workers’ comp program. Some problems, it appears, do not magically disappear from want of attention.
One director was quoted as saying “I sure would like to have a better understanding of what we’re doing. It seems like we’re funding a liability that should have been corrected.”
Just to put this in context, the BART directors also approved one million dollars for “pigeon abatement projects.” So, for every nine dollars to be spent on workers’ compensation, one is to be spent on abating pigeons.
In any case, dear readers, it looks like, inch by inch, workers’ compensation is creeping into center stage as one of the growing ills facing California entities, whether public or private. We must all be vigilant, lest we end up spending our board meetings discussing how much of a “surplus” should be spent on plugging holes in the workers’ compensation budget.
For my dear readers in the Bay Area, especially those familiar with BART, it must come as a particular bit of confusion that BART should experience a surplus. Perhaps this “surplus” could be used to keep trains from breaking down in the tunnel between Oakland and San Francisco; to operate a proper ventilation system on hot days; or to have trains that don’t go out of service because someone’s backpack was caught in closing doors. But take care of the pigeons first…