Stifled coughs can add up

Workaholics, alert: It pays to stay healthy.

Just ask a Springfield state government employee who decided to leave his job and cash in on all his previously unclaimed sick pay.

David Mizeur, deputy director for audit and finance of the Illinois State Lottery, quit his high-paying job and got $20,219.84 for his sick leave and vacation. Five days later, he returned.

Now, Mizeur still has his nearly $67,000 job plus $20,000 more. And his employers approve.

Lottery spokesmen say Director Sharon Sharp authorized the project because it didn’t violate any state laws. What’s more, the signature that appeared on the final form was Mizeur’s.

If it’s not bad enough that Congress occasionally gets a blank check to hike its own take-home pay, it’s disgusting that someone from the lottery should be given the same latitude.

The state should go after Mizeur rather than quietly ignoring his mischievous scheming. If everyone followed Mizeur’s lead, the state would be out a lot of money … and a good deal of respect. He never should have been rehired in the first place, especially to stroke taxpayers out of more money.

Although it’s encouraging to see a worker total thousands of dollars of sick leave, quitting to cash in on it is disturbing. The state should be embarrassed to have let this happened – and even more so to close its eyes.