It’s A Good Job if You Can Get It: Full Pay and Perks for 1/4 Time Work

() judgeHere’s a situation that occurs more often than you think. You will probably glow with envy hearing about it. You may think it is not true. But it is so pay close attention. Imagine that you are into your middle to late sixties. You feel yourself getting worn down and wanted to ease up a bit. You decide to do something about it.

You go into your boss, Smiley Goodfellow. You tell him the work is getting a little too much and you’d like to spend more time away from the office. Smiley listens and sympathetically suggests perhaps this is a time for you to retire. He says: “You know having worked here 15 years you are entitled to get 100% of the pay you are making. You can go off into the wide blue yonder and do what you damn please.”

You say to Smiley: “Yeah, boss, I know that. But I don’t know what I would do in retirement. What I’d like is this. I want to keep my title. I’m sort of fond of it now and I like the way people squirm in front of me. I want my full pay, I want to keep my office,secretary, clerks and all the other perquisites I now have. I want nothing to change but I want to only work no more than a ten-hour week.”

Smiley Goodfellow is a nice guy. Some call him “Uncle Smiley” thinking him an easy touch. Others call him “Uncle Sam.” He’s set it up that with time off for vacation and educational trips and personal matters and holidays that you actually work only as many days as the kids go to school, 180 days. Now you are telling him that you want to keep all that stuff you have including full pay but only want to work 45 days a year.

He gets up from behind his desk. He walks over to you and puts his arm on your shoulder. He says, “if that’s what you want, it is fine with me.”  He walks you to the door and pats you on the back.

I suppose you’d wish that you found Smiley Goodfellow early in your career. You would have if you became a federal judge. There is a program for judges who want to do this. It is called the Senior Judges program and it works out exactly like I pointed out. You cut your work load down to a quarter of what it was, get all the perks of the office, the same pay but apparently more deductions for taxes, and continue to decide the future of people even though, as one 68 -year-old senior judge put it, “It’s not easy to give that up. And if you don’t have to give it up completely and can still leave time to yourself to travel, spend time with your family, that’s a wonderful solution to an internal conflict.” That judge by the way “explained the benefits in a recent interview between publicity stops for his first novel, . . . “

Recently I’ve written about two other judges who are senior judges. One is Mark Wolf who took the time to spin out a 114 page document explaining why a reasonable member of the public will think he is impartial even though one of the main witnesses in a case which he will hear he invited to a lobster lunch at his Martha Vineyard home. That his senior status gave him all that time to write so much on so little a matter is quite telling.

The other is the notorious Richard Berman who made up a new principle of law that you cannot punish a person for an evil act unless the person knew he could be punished for that act. He then with time hanging heavy on his hands went to a Labor Day bash with people who would be pleased with his decision.

The problem with these part timers is their judgment seems to suffer. I’ve also shown how Justice David Souter, another part-timer, made-up something not in the record  to justify his decision. The idea that a person on the public payroll who has reached up into his or her late 60s or early 70s who goes part-time can perform as well as a full-time person doing the job on a daily basis seems self-contradictory.  Fortunately we do not have senior generals.

The people are entitled to full-time judges. We are ill-served by those who want to squeeze in the work between their vacations or novel writing.



  1. Matt- In Fall River,Ma we recalled our last Mayor (Flanagan,William) he pulled a gun on a young city councilor on a “Midnight Ride” for signing the Recall petition, Now he is gone and being the first mayor in Massachusetts to be Recalled is huge. Now we have a former DA who has a retired judge named JOE MACY making 92G’s per yr by law he can only work 18.5 hrs, Same with his Chief of staff Retired Taunton police chief Lou Pacheco 18.5 hrs a week for 70+G’s. We have retired judges and police chiefs ripping off taxpayers for 18.5 hr work week. The Mayor is now C. Sam Sutter. Sutter mysteriously dropped out of the AARON Hernandez case to be Mayor of Fall River. Sutter got his ass handed to him in the Preliminary last Tuesday, by who you ask??? The Same City Councilor that Flanagan pulled the gun out on Jasiel Correia. If you were to look into this little whopper of turmoil about 1hr south of you, it well tell you alot about what is going on in Massachusetts. Here is a little preview….. 22 windows go in City Hall …No contract,No procurement laws followed, No one knows anything until it was revealed that a guy who owes the city 1million dollars in back taxes had done it hush hush… except he subcontracted it out to some poor fella and wrote him a 50 GRAND bounced check…Still no one has been held accountable…My city is choking on CORRUPTION…Sutter is the one who did not prosecute those people who blocked a coal ship if you recall…

  2. Matt:

    You may be correct in your assessment of a general and unwritten policy on judges.

    However, based on what I know about the legal process, you have selected two judges who have demonstrated a respect for the “rule of law.”

    Both judges have rebuked what lawyers commonly refer to as “gaming the system” and or “legal manipulations” in certain cases, and their decisions establish that they have the courage to do what judges are supposed to do when issuing a “fair and neutral” decision based on the evidence.

    Where am I wrong?

    Perhaps you should write a column on the rigged Hastert plea deal and the use of millions of taxpayer dollars to cover up egregious crime? Would a “regular” citizen skate for the crimes Hastert committed?