California: Afghan doc paid $822,000 by state now under investigation

via $822,000 Worker Shows California Leads U.S. Pay Giveaway – Bloomberg.

Payroll data compiled by Bloomberg on 1.4 million public employees in the 12 most populous states show that California has set a pattern of lax management, inefficient operations and out-of-control costs. From coast to coast, states are cutting funding for schools, public safety and the poor as they struggle with fallout left by politicians who made pay-and-pension promises that taxpayers couldn’t afford.

“It was completely avoidable,” said David Crane, a public-policy lecturer at Stanford University.

“All it took was for political leaders to think more about the general population and the future, rather than their political futures,” said Crane, a Democrat who worked as an economic adviser to former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. “Citizens should be mad as hell, and they shouldn’t take it anymore.”

The story of one prison psychiatrist shows how pay largesse has spread.

Mohammad Safi, graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, collected $822,302 last year, up from $90,682 when he started in 2006, the data show. Safi was placed on administrative leave in July and is under investigation by the Department of State Hospitals, formerly the Department of Mental Health.

The doctor was paid for an average of almost 17 hours each day, including on-call time and Saturdays and Sundays, although he did take time off, said David O’Brien, a spokesman for the department. In a brief interview outside his home in Newark, California, Safi said he’d been placed on leave for working too many hours and declined to comment further. An increase in the number of beds at the facility where Safi worked forced him to cover more shifts, and he was allowed to do some of the work from home, said his lawyer, Ed Caden.

Safi and other psychiatrists employed by the state benefited from what amounted to a 2007 bidding war between California’s prisons and mental health departments, after a series of federal court orders forced the state to improve its inmate care. Higher pay in the prison system was matched by mental health, and as psychiatrists followed larger salaries, the state’s cost to provide the care soared.

Last year, 16 psychiatrists on California’s payroll, including Safi, made more than $400,000. Only one did in any other state in the data compiled by Bloomberg, a doctor in Texas. Safi earned more than twice as much as any state psychiatrist elsewhere, the data show.

More on California’s demise on the backs of taxpayers:

“I made so much because I work a lot,” Safi said in a brief interview at his Newark, California, home.

Last year, he took home $822,302, all of it paid by taxpayers.

6 thoughts on “California: Afghan doc paid $822,000 by state now under investigation

  1. After reading thought. I have never been to prision but I have been to jail alot (not something I am proud of) anyway, I remember there always was a psych on call. My question is, were all these logged hours needed!?!? I mean, the imates were not going anywhere. I am suspecting something a little more devious is at foot. I think (and don’t think it is a stretch) this MD was actually using his talents to maybe try and convert some of the imates. It would be interesting to get a hold of the prision logs and see between 2006-2011 how many imates converted and what the precentage was….I am betting you won’t be surprised…oh-yeah, we paid for it

    • Billy, I agree suspicious. I worked Mental Health for 1/2 of my career. Never in a prison though. Most men don’t seek out therapy usually. If you have a serious mental health or substance abuse issue you are not with the general population.So what kind of therapy was the good doctor doing?

      OT Jesus will forgive you for your jail time sin if you choose to have a relationship with him. Just ask. Merry Christmas.

  2. he sure learned how to use the system and did a good job of it; put him up there with rest of the frauds in government; hope he gets fired and deported; they could use some psychs there to help the women, !! we know that won’t happen

  3. well, well, well…do we have another major nidal malik hasan [the fort hood murderer] on our hands? someone should be monitoring his e.mail contacts w/ terrorist imams. we don’t want a repeat massacre [oops, i mean “workplace violence”] to happen again!

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