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Quality of Life

Staff Turnover Costs At North County Transit Higher Than Reported


In a story last week, inewsource reported that staff turnover at the North County Transit District has cost the agency nearly $300,000 in severance agreements since Jan. 1.

Since then, a number of sources have reached out to tell us that the total is even greater, and the severance agreements confirm that.

The $300,000 was the total amount of the severance payments — money handed over in a lump sum after an employee signed a contract ending his or her employment. What inewsource didn’t take into consideration is the amount paid to employees who were no longer physically working at the district but who were kept on-call for their services, sometimes up to six months, at full pay.


Take the senior contracts administrator at NCTD, Larry Frum. He signed his severance agreement on Oct. 31, but the language in the signed contract shows he was to be kept on full pay for another six months, until May 15.

According to the State Controller’s Office, Frum’s position paid more than $10,000 a month. Receiving full pay for six months after signing the severance agreement would amount to another $61,000 — at least — on top of severance pay. NCTD also continued to pay Frum’s health benefits through June 30 and his life insurance plan through May 31. In total, that one employee cost the district around $100,000 when he left.

In total, NCTD awarded 17 months of full pay (like Frum’s) to 12 employees who left the transportation district between Oct. 30 and May 20.

For comparison, inewsource requested the last 10 severance agreements between San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and its employees, not including security officers.

MTS provided the severance documents the next day, and it showed the agency has spent about $81,000 in severance payouts since July 31. None of the agreements included any language about continuing on-call pay.


MTS has 1,452 full-time employees.

NCTD, according to its documents, employed 127 in fiscal 2013.

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