Readers React: The gender inequality at the heart of L.A.'s refusal to stop DROP program abuse
To the editor: Recently, the Los Angeles Times has published articles about teachers taking action in order to get salary increases and about Los Angeles’ Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), which effectively permits veteran first responders to take extended injury leaves at nearly twice their usual pay.
Sadly, both of these situations can be largely attributed to traditional gender bias.
Public school teaching is a female-dominated profession, and teachers have been targets for exploitation. They have been easy to ignore until this year, when they have taken it upon themselves to secure compensation that reflects their duties, high levels of education and experience.
Police and fire departments tend to be male-dominated; many have histories of corruption and nepotism in hiring, yet politicians treat them like sacred cows. As it is, police officers and firefighters can retire at age 50 with a large pension if they have worked for 25 years. With DROP, they can collect their pension and salaries for up to five years if they choose to continue working.
Thomas Saito, Burbank
To the editor: I am disappointed that our elected officials are doing nothing to curb the abuses of the DROP program. I hope The Times will continue to cover this story about firefighters and police officers collecting double or triple their salaries by claiming injuries and going out on medical leave.
It seems that a lot of our “heroes” have no qualms about bilking the taxpayers out of millions of dollars.
Jay Shapiro, Woodland Hills
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