On Tuesday, we used this forum to discuss Michael Covert, who is earning an excess of $1 million in compensation per year as the top official of a public agency serving health-care needs in Poway and Escondido.

We posed the question: Is $1 million too much for any public employee? Or is his salary completely justified?

Here are a few of the responses:

I don’t think the answer is black and white. The bigger question is: can a public employee’s salary be quantified with the service he or she provides? If the answer is yes, well then, the million dollar salary is justified. Having said this, I don’t believe there are very many public sector jobs, if any, that justify paying a million dollars. That’s my two cents worth.

– Margaret Casarez, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital

I know plenty of medical  doctors who are very successful.  They don’t earn that much but yet provide much more services.  This is just another tax payer RIP OFF!  Taxpayers are sick of those abusive individuals who should be put in jail. 

They were just operating under the auspices of the public’s unawareness to the salary and retirement dollars involved.  They are no better than a thief and should be penalized.

Kathryn Hirst-Wanser, California Taxpayer

Obviously, 1 million dollars is excessive for anyone in the public sector. I bet you can find someone as qualified for 1/3 the price.

– Craig Weintraub

Wow, is $1M-plus too much in public employee compensation?  I don’t know.  Maybe the question should be why is the public engaged in an “industry” where private business engaged in the same industry would pay $1M plus in compensation for their top executive?

Anna M. Herrera, Manager, Clovis Cemetery District

In the private sector, top officials are tied to the shareholders.  If the corporation is poorly managed, the top officials are replaced or put on notice. This is not the case for public sector. 

A person’s salary should be based upon what they bring to the position. Experience, education, knowledge. (If, for example, Palomar Pomerado Health has displayed top health coverage for it’ serving residence.) Also if Michael Covert has been able to keep the facilities running during these tough times and is doing it better than other public healthcare facilities, than Michael Covert is earning his salary.  Ultimately, it is for the people of those cities to decide if they believe they are getting their money’s worth.

Ann Macaulay

Where did we get the idea that any public employee has to match or beat the private sector?

The world is becoming upside down on who produces in the economy and who is the servant.  No public employee is worth or should get $1 million per year.  Not even the president of the United States.  

– Mike Rothschild

Let him go to the private sector and see if he can earn that much after expenses. It’s time we cleaned up the public employee sector.

Chuck Beattie