Skip to comments.CA: 'Chief's Disease' rife at CHP
Posted on 09/10/2004 9:57:51 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
After 33 years on the job, Deputy Commissioner Ed Gomez was ready to end his career with the California Highway Patrol. He was so disabled by workplace stress and physical ailments, his doctor said, that he could no longer work as a CHP commander. The doctor's report said Gomez must "avoid more than ordinary stress in further occupational endeavors." In 2000, the 57-year-old was awarded a $39,000 settlement, medical care for life for his injuries, and a state industrial disability pension of $106,968 a year - half tax-free.
Barely two years later, Gomez was hired by the federal government to be security director at San Francisco International Airport, a position described as "on the front lines of the war on terrorism." It's a job he holds today.
Gomez is a prime example of a widespread practice documented by a Bee investigation: top-tier CHP officers aggressively pursuing injury claims, often near the end of 30-year careers, that hike their retirement income. Like Gomez, some go on to demanding second careers while collecting their state disability pensions. Inside the CHP it's known as "Chief's Disease."
Of 65 high-ranking CHP officers who have retired since 2000, 55 pursued workers' compensation settlements within two years of retiring. These injury claims formed the basis for disability settlements and medical pensions.
Rank-and-file officers complain that this behavior among many of the 150 or so chiefs and captains at the top sets a bad example for the 7,000 officers they supervise, in a department that pays the highest rate in state government for injuries and medical pensions.
(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...
This abuse was well known in the CHP.
There was a hypocritical approach to on-the-job injuries. If you were an Officer or Sergeant, and you reported an injury, you were immediately the focus of scrutiny. Your story was checked and re-checked. Often, you had to go to where the incident and,if able, re-enact the scenario.
However, if you were a Chief, and you alleged an injury, it went unchallenged.
I personally reveiwed a Quarterly Injury Report. An Officer and a Chief both allegedly twisted ankles while running. The stoies were virtually identical. The Chief's injury was permitted as a compensated injury, while the Officer's injury was denied, i.e., he did it off-duty, and so his bills would not be paid.
This is really important, as Sergeants and Lieutenants constantly have pressure on them to "reduce industrial injuries".
Also, Chiefs considered this practice as " the thing to do" as if you claim a " disability retirement", you do not have to pay taxes on your retirement.
You do NOT want a " stress retirement". You lose your privilege to carry a gun.
What a scam.
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