One might assume that a “golden handshake” means goodbye for good.

After all, the payouts to departing employees are supposed to save organizations from paying high salaries to veteran workers.

In San Diego schools, there’s a different definition. Some employees get paid to leave and then paid to come back. Our investigation reveals that the phenomenon is continuing in the latest round of golden handshakes.

As our story puts it, “dozens of veteran workers who were paid to exit San Diego Unified two weeks ago, clearing out jobs and making way for less expensive employees, have already been rehired as hourly workers.”

The retained workers may actually end up being cheaper. But a former finance director — a golden-handshake revolving-door veteran himself — wonders if the district learned lessons from a similar buyout program in 2003.

Also in education news, we have late-breaking details from last night’s San Diego school board, where a dozen schools with smaller class sizes got some tentative good news.

Speaking of lessons, the city of San Diego is trying to figure out what it should glean from the scandal that struck Centre City Development Corp., the downtown redevelopment agency.

One thing is clear: A messy past, now seen more clearly thanks to a damning audit, won’t affect the mayor’s plans for an overhaul.

The agency, however, still has plenty to answer for. As we previously reported, a newly released audit “uncovered lacking oversight, poor contract management and employees who gamed the agency’s sole-source contracting system.”

In other government news, a county employee labor union is pushing a ballot measure to impose term limits on county supervisors.

A quick quiz: What made big news during the last year that a new person joined the board of supervisors: Berlin Wall falls, O.J. Simpson criminal trial begins, Monica Lewinsky scandal breaks, Beatles release “Abbey Road”?

Answer: O.J. Simpson trial begins, way back in 1995.

Assemblyman Marty Block hasn’t been in office nearly as long, but it looks like he wants to stay there. Revising his position of a day earlier — and potentially avoiding a voter revolt — he said he won’t accept a salary until the state budget impasse is resolved.

As we reported earlier, he’d made a crucial promise about budgets and paychecks during last fall’s election, but has an interesting interpretation of what he actually meant.

Elsewhere on our site, photographer Sam Hodgson shows us more views of the downtown “tent cities” that pop up overnight when we aren’t looking.

We’re also debuting a new feature for our Spanish-speaking readers. Veteran journalist Tania Luviano will write “Tania y Tú” exploring issues of interest to the local Hispanic community and beyond.

Finally, a U-T columnist weighs in on the fight between City Hall and the paper over the latter’s controversial decision to publish a database of city salaries. No surprise as to which side he supports.

A key sentence regarding salary details that were misleading: “[Mayor Jerry] Sanders’ office claims we were too cheap to pony up $1,900 for a better database and that it wasn’t about to use taxpayer money to do it. I say the city blew it by not going the extra mile itself.”

Either way, it was a case of mutually assured inaccuracy.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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