Lacking a Sensitivity Chip

If you've been following the local news, there's a couple in our region, living in a $1.2M lakefront home, and the woman has been collecting welfare for a couple of years.  She claimed she and her two children lived on $5,000 a year and her husband was the "landlord."  They've collected over $100,000 and, of course, live pretty well.  (To her credit, she did put down their real address but no one checked it.)

Now, naturally, we all feel disgust especially in this time of economic crisis when so many REAL poor people are suffering.

But now we get the poster child for this kind of nonsense. 

You may recall that the former head of the Philadelphia school system, Arlene Ackerman, was ousted earlier this year.  Private donors even helped pay for her $900k severance package (she says she only got $400k after taxes and lawyer fees). 

She had the nerve to file for unemployment benefits and based on her former salary of $350k, she was receiving $573 a week. 

Yes, I know that she paid taxes into the system like everyone else but I can't believe a person with her opportunities could actually have the nerve to do this when she knows the financial crisis her own district faces.

I should quit being surprised at anything. 


Patrick said…
Only $400,000 after taxes... poor dear.
Anonymous said…
On KING 5 last night, it was shown that HUD inspectors HAD visited the house—annually—and noted that it was "above average, on the lake, had a view and a jacuzzi." Apparently, they were just there to verify that the home was not too run-down, etc. Not a one questioned how someone receiving welfare could be living in such luxurious accommodations.

When our system makes it this easy to scam it, it's not surprising that some eagerly will.

Solvay Girl
Anonymous said…
The District must be doing somethings right. I'm seeing less scathing posts on this log the last week.

RosieReader said…
I disagree strongly with your suggestion that collecting unemployment compensation demonstrates the absence of a sensitivity chip. Unemployment compensation is an insurance program we pay into throughout our working lives. Everyone should take advantage of their right to collect those funds, just as folks should take advantage of workers' comp for qualifying injuries. Honestly, of course, if we qualify based on truthful answers to whatever questions are asked.
mirmac1 said…
If Pennsylvania's unemployment works like in WA, then Ackerman's employer paid the unemployment tax. So she's stuck it to taxpayers again.
Fremont Troll said…
Melissa, posts like this just make you seem petty and churlish. Why on earth should a person of ANY income bracket not be free to collect back on THEIR OWN MONEY?

I hope that you and others who agree with you plan to refuse social security, unemployment or worker's compensation, etc. when or if you qualify because you aren't "poor".
mirmac1 said…

My snarkiness is somewhat subdued : ) because I have renewed confidence in a new Board with a strong leader who is interested in real progress, not snappy talking points.
Anonymous said…
I'll tell you who lacks a sensitivity chip. Korsmo at LEV. I still remember her tantrum on Seattle Channel. Now we get a crap-on-them quote in The Seattle Times.

The woman needs a mirror when she talks about unprofessionalism.

And I say that agreeing that Peaslee was far from professional in her first outing. She needs a primer. She comes from a better philosophical place than Maier IMHO, but she needs to get up to speed fast.

District Lurker
hschinske said…
Wow, $573 a week? I've had full-time jobs that paid less, even adjusted for inflation. I can see how it sticks in one's craw, even though it's less than 3% more than she would have gotten anyway. The rules for whether one can collect unemployment when one has a severance package in hand vary from state to state: as far as I can make out, it would not be possible to do what Arlene Ackerman did in lots of states. So while I agree with RosieReader in principle, I do see Ackerman as exploiting a loophole in Pennsylvania law.

Helen Schinske
Anonymous said…
District Lurker - We all have our favorite Tin Ear ed person. I'd put the Sara Morris - Jon Bridge "teachers don't matter" duo at the Alliance ahead of Korsmo. Bridge is a volunteer, but a payout and buh-bye for Morris while collecting WA unemployment would be worth every penny in this reader's opinion in getting some better collaboration going between school employees and Seattle residents.

Also, it is possible to get a payout and collect unemployment in WA. Happens all the time. The payout has to be for services previously rendered vs. payment for future services not being received.

But there is a difference between being ethical and being lawful. Arlene Ackerman never appeared to be in tune with the former during her horrible tenure. And she was supposed to be part of the new business-perfect breed of Superintendent. Blech.

I didn't say what the superintendent did was illegal or that she wasn't entitled to it. I'm saying that she might look around and see who needs it more.
Chris S. said…
OMG if these payouts are coming from MY tax/insurance inputs, I might have to join the tea party. If this is legal, that is a systemic problem. And we wonder why there's not enough to go around to people who need it...
mirmac1 said…
I see Ms Ackerman DID pay a portion of her SUTA (rules are a little different in Penn.) Let's see .90 cents per $1,000 in wages, at roughly $330K for 3.5 years. Okay, she paid for two weeks of unemployment...

I saw this from an earlier Ackerman story:

"It has been widely rumored that Ackerman is on her way out as superintendent. The Inquirer reported Thursday that high-ranking business leaders had received calls asking them to donate to a charitable education organization that would contribute money to help buy out Ackerman's contract"

Now why couldn't Jon Bridge have done that for our winner of an ex-Supt MGJ's severance package? Shoot, the Alliance wrote her a letter of recommendation! Why wouldn't they give her a going-away present too?
Anonymous said…
"Everyone should take advantage of their right to collect those funds" Sorry, but I totally disagree.

My family qualifies for food stamps, but we've made the decision not to apply. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Anonymous said…
Right on J! I remember attending Stanford in the 70's with both my parents and me leveraged to the hilt, while my classmates from Scarsdale and La Jolla took out low interest student loans that Daddy could invest for higher returns on the stock market. Because they could.

Anonymous said…
if you're 1 of the tens of millions of little people making 20 or 30 or 40 grand a year, and you get "ousted", you'll be living under a bridge with your worldly belongings in a stolen shopping cart before an unemployment office will approve your claim.

Let her eat cake.

The Bottom 75%.
Wanda said…
Arlene and her husband (another thread would be needed for him)swept through SSD during a period when the "boorish sense of entitlement" era was in full bloom.

This is what happens when employees like them are taught that they are "royalty" and need not care a whit about the rules that apply to everyone else.

Talk about Adminocrats!

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