Society

Manhattan Judge Earns $193K A Year In Sick Leave Pay

| by David Bonner

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Daniel McCullough hasn't worked for almost three years, but he's still getting paid $193,000 per year.

McCullough has been on sick leave with an unspecified illness since April 2014, reports the New York Daily News.

New York has unlimited sick time policy for its judges, and over the past 32 months, the 65-year-old McCullough has reportedly been paid his full salary because he has declined to retire or go on disability. Based on his 43 years of public service, he could retire now with a pension of about $143,000 per year.

Few details of his illness are available.

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An anonymous friend said he has been confined to a wheelchair since undergoing spinal surgery. The superintendent at his apartment building described him as being “very sick.”

His attorney, Roger Adler, confirmed that his client had surgery in the fall of 2016. “He’s a proud man and he intends to complete the commitment of the appointment that brought him to the bench,” Adler said. “No one I know has ever said to me or to him that he was malingering or that he was not dealing with legitimate issues.”

Courts spokesman Lucian Chalfen said McCullough “has been suffering from several serious medical ailments,” and it is “still uncertain when or if he will be able to return to work, depending on his prognosis.”

Although judges taking sick leave is not uncommon, the length of McCullough’s absence is rare. The only way he can be forced to retire is if New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct finds he is abusing the system.

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The judge was appointed to the bench in 2010 by former Gov. David Paterson, who became nationally famous after being regularly impersonated on comedy sketch show "Saturday Night Live."

Sources: New York Daily News, Observer / Photo credit: New York Daily News

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