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Original post made
on Feb 15, 2012
Dear elected representatives:
Have the employees of the city increased the value of the services that they deliver to the public by the same 12% that their compensation has increased during the great recession?
Have they delivered so much value to this generation that it is worth weighting down the next generation with out-of-market pension benefits that far outstrip the private sector?
Should the private sector, the value-creating economic backbone of this country, continue to be asked to pay more and more to support a largely-unaccountable unionized workforce that has none of the onus to add value that the private sector does?
When is the last time an underperforming government worker has been fired? Did we not just have to hire more workers to bail our our perpetually underperforming planning department?
Stand your ground and be firm. There is little justification for the level of compensation and benefits that the unions will undoubtedly feel entitled to. Be the voice of the public, stop the giveaway of public money to politically connected union interests, and defend the public who that as been paying more and more to a privileged class of worker that has delivered less and less in return.
Signed, a concerned voter.
What raises? My friend is an employee of the City of Palo Alto and has not received a raise of any sort in the last five years. She cannot afford to live in this area, she pays for gas, bridge toll to come to work. She has taken on more jobs that other folks have done in the past and has not been compensated for it. However, they have had to pay much more for medical coverage, retirement, have had tution reimbursement removed. Everyone wants more from the regular working folk.
What about taking from the top? Why does the city manager need a car allowance? Why are departments advertising to hire Administrators when there are not as many workers as in previous years. You don't need more chiefs if there aren't as many indians to do the job. If you keep cutting from the indians pretty soon there won't be anyone to do the work.
I appreciate the work done by some of the council members to address the budget problems, but I don't think it is enough. The pension tsunami that is coming is going to overwhelm most local and state governments. I would suggest the following actions be taken:
1.) end all defined benefit pensions and convert to defined contribution
2.) advise the unions that PA is outsourcing all city services that exceed market rates. allow the unions to adjust their negotiation demands to meet market rates. for the one that refuse to bring costs in to line with the market, lay off the employees and outsource the contracts.
3.) for fire union employees the average salary should be $60K and age at which they can receive retirement pay (I don't care when they quit working) should be 65. this is the first group i would like to see outsourced
4.) police should not be outsourced as that type of service is unique (they maintain the social contract) and should be locally managed. but their their budget and benefits should be reduced.
5.) replace politicians who are beholden to the labor unions and value their relationship to the unions above their duty to represent their constitituents. Gail Price is the first one I would like to see removed from office.
I know it sounds really cool to lower the salaries and benefits for police officers, but here is the reality.
Even at current salaries and benefits, the police department has double digit vancancies and heading higher.
We can't find people who are willing to do this thankless job, get railed on by the public on a daily basis, and get routinely blammed for all the city problems by city hall.
Most of are applicants can't pass the most basic background check, hence the significant openings.
Were not the fire department. We don't get 600 "Qualified Applicants" for each opening.
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