California Dreamin': 'Fired' Prison Doctor Gets $777K to Shuffle Paper

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prison doctor What's it like to make three-quarters of a million dollars just to shuffle papers? A California doctor knows, but he's not talking about it.

Dr. Jeffery Rohlfing, a prison surgeon, was the Golden State's highest paid employee last year, despite a record of incompetence and a history of mental illness. Further, as the Los Angeles Timesreports, Rohlfing hasn't been allowed to treat inmates because medical supervisors don't trust his medical skills.

The 65-year-old state employee has mostly been locked out of his job for the last six years. During that time he has been on paid leave or fired or fighting his termination, according to the Times.

Nevertheless, Rohlfing remains on the state's payroll working in a capacity that prison doctors call "mailroom" duty.

Rohlfing, who couldn't be reached by the newspaper for comment, raked in a healthy $777,423 last year, which included $235,740 in base pay. The remainder is salary that he earned while appealing his termination but doing no state work, the Times notes.

The revelation is bound to anger many Californians, especially since Rohlfing isn't the only doctor earning big money to shuffle paper. Dozens of others have been relegated to paper-shuffling chores in recent years, a standard assignment for physicians whose abilities have been challenged.

At 11.9 percent, the state has the nation's second highest unemployment rate, and lawmakers recently pushed through an $86 billion budget that trims state services. No doubt there will be many calling for Rohlfing's job to be sacrificed in the name of cost-cutting, if not common sense.


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