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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love cops and firefighters as much as anyone. But taxpayers are on the verge of a permanent drowning in retiree payments negotiated by public employee unions. Here is an example from todays Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
This is about local politics, but this is becoming a problem across the country that most people don't know about.


"To understand why Fort Worth's pension system is such a financial disaster, look at one month's list of recent retirements.
In January, a 53-year-old policeman retired with an annual benefit of $90,312 for life, plus $256,000 in a lump sum payment. Another policeman, 57, got almost $74,000 annually, plus $313,000 in a lump sum. A 54-year-old firefighter got an annual pension of $90,130, plus $178,000 in cash.
These are not typical cases, but they're not rare, either. The shocking takeaway from the 22 retirees is that they stand to earn significantly more from their pensions than they earned on the job.
With an average age of 50 for the police and 54 for the firemen in this group, they're likely to spend more years in retirement than they worked. An analysis for the City Council, presented in July, projected that the retiring policemen would collect $3.1 million in pension pay. That's a stunning number, almost twice as much as their career earnings, and it more than compensates for the fact that city employees don't get Social Security or a 401(k)-type account. It's worth stating again: In retirement, many will get more money than they made on the job, and for more years."

More: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/09/04/2445012/fort-worth-pension-bubble-will.html
 

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and people dont see the problem with unions....:huh:
 

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Can't be allowed to happen.

I don't care if there were contracts and committments.

There has to be equity that is commensurate with their regular pay. A correction towards fairness must be accepted or enforced. Either way.
 

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This is a Union scam that has been played for decades. Only now have some come forth and made the public aware.

They give a "retroactive" raise to the recipients start date. This is how they are able to get away with it. This sort of greed... is becoming even more hated by some in the blue-collar sector of unions... as they will never achieve these wages and it is their dues that enrich the elite. So much for progressivism and the case for equality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can't be allowed to happen.

I don't care if there were contracts and committments.

There has to be equity that is commensurate with their regular pay. A correction towards fairness must be accepted or enforced. Either way.
Unfortunately, it seems TX law prohibits that. We taxpayers will have to come up with it one way or the other. What we must do immediately is change the rules for future employees. The unions resist this to the death, but otherwise, our localities will go bankrupt trying to support these retirees. What regular employee expects to receive benefits like these? Why should these people retire at 50? I realize it's a tough job, but, in any other job if you tried to retire at 50, your benefits would be minimal.
 

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im not going to fault anyone for retiring at 50, i plan on being retired by 42-44, giving me 22ish years in the army, and will be drawing my retirement pay right away. I will be getting about $9000 a month, but that is with social security and 100% disability pay (which is a good portion of my retirement pay). say what you will, but given i will be 100% disabled due to my service i deffinately earned that pay lol.
 

· Grey Squirrel
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Unfortunately, it seems TX law prohibits that. We taxpayers will have to come up with it one way or the other.
Civil service workers were always underpaid but had job security. When the market is flying high no one says boo about retirement payments because most municipalities rake in millions of dollars by skimming from the pension funds. Now that times are tough these same municipalities are the first to complain. The truth is, these muncipalities negotiated these deals because in the long run it works out finacially for them.

What we must do immediately is change the rules for future employees.
I have no issues with negotiating new pension tiers.

Why should these people retire at 50? I realize it's a tough job, but, in any other job if you tried to retire at 50, your benefits would be minimal.
I have to be honest with you, if I ever have to call the police I don't want a 57 year old man rolling out of the car to protect me. Let them retire and hire younger people who get paid less and can do a better job physically.


These lump sum payments are usually the result of unused sick time which is a pretty standard practice across most employment fields. I think we should be thankful that these people were able to stay healthy during their careers in order to protect us.
 

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If it were just police and fire... I would tend to agree. It's not. It's rampant in every federal and state agency. From USDA to DMV to EPA... and everything in between. None of those put their lives on the line the way you do. Meanwhile... our soldiers receive a pittance.
 

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What happens when it comes to the endgame? When the municipalities are bankrupt? How do they expect to get paid? Look at California. They end up getting furloughed. My brother-in-law works for the State DPW there. He's down to 4 days a week with 2 more days that 'float' per month. No pay for those days. It's effectively cut his salray by 30%. And they still can't balance the budget.

When Shwartznegger gets replaced they're all talking about voting in a governor that will re-instate the work, and may even give them raises and the back pay. It's insane!
 

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Brown can promise that all he wants to... we're broke. The most likely outcome will be retirement plans being sold to pension corporations for pennies on the dollar. American Pension Corp has already perused talks with many state agencies here in California.


http://www.megwhitman.com/ :thumbsup:
 

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If it were just police and fire... I would tend to agree. It's not. It's rampant in every federal and state agency. From USDA to DMV to EPA... and everything in between. None of those put their lives on the line the way you do. Meanwhile... our soldiers receive a pittance.
i know many people retiring from the army as an e-7 who get about 3k a month, its really bad on the enlisted side.
 

· Grey Squirrel
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And that is the crux of the problem.

Re-negotiate the contracts. Happens in the business world and with several unions everyday.
I never said they should re-negotiate the contracts. Both sides must honor the contracts they both negotiated on in good faith. Negotiating new pension tiers means that future hirees will be under different pension rules than current workers. You just can't go around saying we should throw out this contract because it doesn't work for us now. When the current contract expires then a new one is negotiated and they can ask for whatever they want in givebacks. Government contracts don't last that much more than 3-5 years any way. Just like many defend Obama by saying he can't change things over night with the economy you can't change government contracts overnight either.
 

· Grey Squirrel
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Time to eliminate public unions who soak the taxpayers..
Many places have elimnated public unions.... those so called right to work states. The government still negotiates a contract and must adhere to it. I'm no big fan of unions but let's not pretend that government unions are the 100% fault here. Government has long been skimming those pension funds to balance budgets during fiscally prosperous times with out ever thinking about how they'll make ends meet in less prosperous times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have to be honest with you, if I ever have to call the police I don't want a 57 year old man rolling out of the car to protect me. Let them retire and hire younger people who get paid less and can do a better job physically.


These lump sum payments are usually the result of unused sick time which is a pretty standard practice across most employment fields. I think we should be thankful that these people were able to stay healthy during their careers in order to protect us.
I agree about not wanting cops too old to do their job. My point was that that job requirement is no excuse for mega-retirement benefits in early 50's. As for the lump sum, the article says that the last few years they work, they can start drawing retirement benefits and plow them back into a bigger retirement fund --- while working! Who passed this stuff? They also now get to base retirement pay on their highest earning years --- including overtime! They can pile a bunch of overtime in their last couple of years on the job and increase their lifetime benefit by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Someone has to pay for this for 30 years or more for every retiree. Not one cent of it goes to current public safety. As the public becomes aware of this and other public employee mega-retirement benefits, there will be a huge battle between public employees and all others. Those public employees - including teachers - obviously think they deserve their benefits, but as individuals, they aren't thinking about the cumulative cost of this largesse. Mark my words, you will hear much more about this in the next five years after cities, states and the feds have to face these unfundable benefits and taxpayers balk at paying more.
 

· Grey Squirrel
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I agree about not wanting cops too old to do their job. My point was that that job requirement is no excuse for mega-retirement benefits in early 50's. As for the lump sum, the article says that the last few years they work, they can start drawing retirement benefits and plow them back into a bigger retirement fund --- while working! Who passed this stuff? They also now get to base retirement pay on their highest earning years --- including overtime! They can pile a bunch of overtime in their last couple of years on the job and increase their lifetime benefit by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Someone has to pay for this for 30 years or more for every retiree. Not one cent of it goes to current public safety. As the public becomes aware of this and other public employee mega-retirement benefits, there will be a huge battle between public employees and all others. Those public employees - including teachers - obviously think they deserve their benefits, but as individuals, they aren't thinking about the cumulative cost of this largesse. Mark my words, you will hear much more about this in the next five years after cities, states and the feds have to face these unfundable benefits and taxpayers balk at paying more.
Which is exactly why new pension tiers need to be negotiated. Don't blame union members for the benefits they receive when the local government negotiated them and agreed to them in good faith. Those ocntracts are made public, every member of the community has access to it and no one ever complains until they see an article in the paper. Again, I'm no big fan of unions but don't put the blame squarely on them here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Which is exactly why new pension tiers need to be negotiated. Don't blame union members for the benefits they receive when the local government negotiated them and agreed to them in good faith. Those ocntracts are made public, every member of the community has access to it and no one ever complains until they see an article in the paper. Again, I'm no big fan of unions but don't put the blame squarely on them here.
Abslolutely agree, and I don't blame them for benefits negotiated. My problen with unions is their general utter unwillingness to negotiate lower benefits for future employees. American Airlines mechanics just did that in Fort Worh last week. They had a really good contract for current employees with reduced benefits for younger and future employees (the future numbers for current benefits are completely unsustainable). Even with the union reps recommendation to pass it, it was voted down 2 to 1. Retirement benefits in general are killing our national competitiveness. Most private companies saw it coming and either negotiated or imposed a switch to 401(k) type retirements. Government just has not been able to do that. As taxes go up, the public will balk.
 

· Grey Squirrel
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My problen with unions is their general utter unwillingness to negotiate lower benefits for future employees.
I wouldn't totally agree with that statement. Here is one article I found after 2 minutes of looking. I also seem to remember some years back New York City negotiated with their police and fire departments to lower starting pay to $25K with reduced vacation for a number of years.


PALISADES PARK — The borough and police union agreed Wednesday to a new contract with a 6 percent salary increase over five years.

In exchange for what both sides said is a modest pay raise, officers will get a few perquisites. Those include two extra personal days and an agreement to fold officers’ annual clothing allowances and holiday pay into base salaries, effectively boosting their state pensions.

“The cops understood the economic conditions, and they worked with us,” said borough Administrator David Lorenzo, who negotiated for the borough. “The taxpayers should be happy.”

A majority of the 29-member police union voted to approve the terms of the contract, which will run from 2011 to 2015, said Patrolman Rory Tennant, the head of the collective bargaining unit. The Borough Council still has to formally approve the contract, Lorenzo said.

The average senior patrolman in the borough currently makes about $101,000 after six years, Lorenzo said.
Under the new contract, annual percentage pay raises over the next five years will be: 0, 0, 1, 2, and 3. Lorenzo said that matches the salary increases in four other union contracts the borough has agreed to in the last month.

The starting salary under the new police contract was reduced from $41,472 to $27,472. The new contract also improves the benefits of the 17 officers hired after 1995, who got fewer vacation days and less longevity pay than their previously-hired counterparts under the old contract.

Now, all officers will get 24 vacation days after their 20th year of service and will get a maximum longevity pay increase of 12 percent — not just those hired before 1995. Personal days also increased from two to four.
 
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