Mohammad Safi, a graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, began working as a psychiatrist at a California mental hospital in 2006, making $90,682 in his first six months. Last year, he took home $822,302, all of it paid by taxpayers.
Safi benefited from what amounted to a bidding war after a federal court forced the state to improve inmate care. The prisons raised pay to lure psychiatrists, the mental health department followed suit to keep employees, and costs soared. Last year, 16 California psychiatrists, including Safi, made more than $400,000, while only one did in the other 11 most populous states, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The jockeying between agencies for the same doctors demonstrates a payroll system run amok and chronic mismanagement, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at the Yale University School of Management and founder of a training institute for chief executive officers.
“Even though this all took place in California, such apparent recklessness is almost too over the top for Hollywood,” Sonnenfeld said. “These irresponsible public officials have artificially constrained the market with an unnaturally limited supply pool, either due to laziness, incompetence, corruption or all of the above.”
Read More at bloomberg.com . By Freeman Klopott, Rodney Yap, and Terrence Dopp.