Buying votes might be illegal, but Rhode Island’s politicians have a long tradition of innovative and expensive ways to ensure loyalty: Offer a group of state or local employees a raise or a better contract, with the expectation they’ll be grateful. Remember Buddy Cianci’s Cost of Living Pension Blowout? It’s the gift that keeps on giving in the form of Providence’s ginormous pension liability.
In July, Providence teachers got a $3,000 signing bonus to ratify a new contract, and Providence just pitched a 4% annual raise to city firefighters. The fact that these are five-year contracts good for two election cycles is just a coincidence…
The latest? The state’s $3,000 bonus to union workers who got their COVID-19 vaccines.
Wait, what? Three grand for getting a shot that anyone with a brain knows improves your chance of living to see the New Year and is actually required for most employees to do their job?
The Providence Journal reported the union’s president calling it “…the most overwhelming ratification I am aware of.”
We at The Squid’s Ink applaud our public employees, and think they deserve more money. Hell, we all deserve more money.
With the more than $1 billion in federal COVID aid still banked, our hackers found plans already in the works for vote-buying… er signing bonuses for workers in other fields.
The Pothole Prize – City and state road and highway workers get $3,000 now for agreeing to fill potholes… eventually. Probably. Some day. Maybe.
The DMV Deal – Still in negotiation, our sources say that Department of Motor Vehicle employees will receive $100 for every person still in line after closing hours.
Preschool Payoff – Early childhood workers clean up with $1,000 per year for changing diapers, wiping tears and snot, and scrubbing vomit.
Plowers Plunder – This winter, “snow removal vendors” will bank an extra $100 for every driveway they block when clearing streets. $250 if you’ve just finished clearing it.
Bus Driver’s Benefit – For $3,000, all RIPTA employees agree to open the front door of their busses, and “kneel” the bus for the disabled and elderly. They are still permitted to snort and roll their eyes when cyclists ask to use the bike rack.
Birth Lottery Bucks – Starting January 1, every mother who successfully gives birth will receive $100 in scratch tickets.
Medical Marijuana Moolah – Weed workers and budtenders will toke home $420 “hazard pay” for sampling their product. Beer brewers are still working out details for distribution of “Hops Improvement Funds.”
Dollars for Donuts – A “reverse debit card” for city and state police will add $50 per swipe at Dunkin’ [last name redacted] to the officer’s bank account. Cops will get $75 per cruller at “artisan” shops like Allie’s, Knead and PVDonuts.
Docs’ Dollars – Physicians, nurses and phlebotomists are often neglected in the payoff game. This year, they’ll get $2,000 just for filling out required insurance papers. $3,000 if they do it while meeting with patients.
Morality Money – our elected officials will reluctantly take $1 matching funds from state coffers for every $1 they decline from lobbyists and special interest groups. This rises to $10 per dollar for cash offered in brown paper bags.