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Public Employee: Retire at 57, get $94,000 a year
Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 11/24/2012 | Tom Gantert

Posted on 11/27/2012 6:07:41 AM PST by MichCapCon

When Flint Community Schools Superintendent Linda Thompson made news that she was going to retire, what was missed was the fiscal impact of her leaving the school system.

Thompson worked 36 years for the Flint school district and will be 57 when she retires. A public school employee who worked 36 years for Flint schools and made Thompson's average salary of $175,649 the past three years would earn a pension of $94,850 a year.

If that 57-year-old retiree received a pension for the 26 years of his or her life expectancy with a 3 percent cost of living annual increase, it would grow to $204,552 a year.

"They are getting lavish benefits from an underfunded pension system,” said James Hohman, a fiscal policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "But the terms are the terms. The problem with the pension system is the politicians don’t put enough money aside for it. It's not her fault that politicians can't be trusted to manage a pension."

Thompson's benefits are part of the guarantees written into the contracts she worked under in her time in the district. The generous terms highlight the need for serious reform of the taxpayer-funded teacher pensions systems.

The Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System’s unfunded liability has reached $22.4 billion. One reason is the state tacks on a 3-percent annual cost of living adjustment to many of the pensions of public school retirees.

The state law was changed in 2010 so that public school employees hired from July 1, 2010 and after do not get the 3 percent cost of living adjustment.

A 2010 study done by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy found that only 6 of 24 major private companies in Michigan had a defined benefit pension plan similar to what teachers are offered. And none of the 24 private companies offered cost-of-living increases.


TOPICS: Education
KEYWORDS: pension; schools
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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1 posted on 11/27/2012 6:07:45 AM PST by MichCapCon
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To: MichCapCon
It's not her fault that politicians can't be trusted to manage a pension.

Its not my fault my wife & I are doing reasonably well in our business, either, but the president says we must do 'our fair share' and put some 'skin in the game'. Up our taxes go.

So I don't see why Linda's 'lavish' retirement salary should be off the table.

2 posted on 11/27/2012 6:15:29 AM PST by skeeter
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To: Springman; Sioux-san; 70th Division; JPG; PGalt; DuncanWaring; taildragger; epluribus_2; Chuck54; ..
Their day is coming and it ain't gonna be pretty.

If anyone wants to be added to the Michigan Cap Con ping list, let me know.
3 posted on 11/27/2012 6:19:53 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: skeeter
Presumably she continues to pay taxes ~ and will be putting "skin" in the game ~ if you consider taxes to be "skin" (which I don't).

However, if she was some sort of sparkling star of an administrator, and competition for the best people was tight on the hiring agencies, then they made a deal for the use of her talents for that period of time she was a superintendent.

Once you make the deal and sign the contract and then use someone's peak earning years in their working life doing your stuff, rather than her doing somebody else's stuff, the contract stands.

We had a top administrator who was, himself, a dud. He was gay too, which is relevant. His wife, though, wasn't gay, but she had several boyfriends in the House and the Senate and whenever the agency really needed some relief from foolish regulatory laws she could be depended on to deliver the package.

So, what was the proper salary for that manager? What about his retirement? Did he earn it? What about his wife?

The couple were, in the end, worth billions of dollars!

We really don't know enough about this woman ~ she may well be worth every penny she gets in her retirement ~ or, maybe she was the dud!

4 posted on 11/27/2012 6:25:09 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: MichCapCon

Seems to me she’s been fleecing the taxpayer for long enough.

Those poor poor teachers, only making $175,000 a year.


5 posted on 11/27/2012 6:30:10 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: MichCapCon
After 36 years she is retiring at 53% of her average base pay for the past three years? On the surface this sounds like a bad example to illustrate the problem of runaway pension funding.
6 posted on 11/27/2012 6:32:52 AM PST by Michael.SF. (Obama lied, Stevens died.)
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To: muawiyah
Presumably she continues to pay taxes ~ and will be putting "skin" in the game ~ if you consider taxes to be "skin" (which I don't).

In this case I consider 'skin' to be part of a full salary, with COLA increases, for life for doing nothing.

As far as the contract is concerned, I suspect a judge might ultimately decide whether or not it stands. But as judges are eligible for their own pensions hell will freeze over before this woman's 'lavish' benefits are touched.

7 posted on 11/27/2012 6:33:01 AM PST by skeeter
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To: MichCapCon

The fact that the teacher gets a big pension is not due to her “boss” thinking she was worth it. Her pension is due to the union bosses who stacked the school board with their own people. These are not people who own a business and have to look at the bottom line. This (the school boards) is how we got into this mess. We, the taxpayers, have no say.


8 posted on 11/27/2012 6:36:08 AM PST by MondoQueen
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To: MichCapCon

(yawn)....your average bus driver in Pittsburgh gets a sweeter deal than that.


9 posted on 11/27/2012 6:44:55 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: MichCapCon

Nice work if you can get it.


10 posted on 11/27/2012 6:50:13 AM PST by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: MichCapCon

Parasite.


11 posted on 11/27/2012 7:04:06 AM PST by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: skeeter
So I don't see why Linda's 'lavish' retirement salary should be off the table.

I agree. If it's money going out, it needs to be on the table and admit their agreement was wrong as they/unions lacked foresight while embracing greed. She needs to take a 10% cut.

One can see how SS is a rip off!

12 posted on 11/27/2012 7:04:48 AM PST by presently no screen name
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To: muawiyah
Presumably she continues to pay taxes ~ and will be putting “skin” in the game ~ if you consider taxes to be “skin” (which I don't).

You seem to miss the point.
Whether she pays taxes is irrelevant Her extravagant pay and benefits, including early retirement, are fully funded by the Michigan taxpayers. Any taxes paid comes from taxes paid to fund her.. It's past time that the people (taxpayers) being asked to fund the out of whack contracts sit on a committee and have a say in what these people are to make.

We have a system where politicians use taxpayer dollars to fund unions in a vote buying scam.

13 posted on 11/27/2012 7:07:53 AM PST by Joshua
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To: skeeter

If her plan was a defined contribution plan then she would be carrying the risk of investing her pension. Since it is a defined benefit plan then the firm,in this case government, carries the risk of investing the money she has contributed towards her pension.

Just like many firms may have over or underfunded DB plans, they are required to meet their obligations. If the pension funds were poorly managed, then blame needs to be put on the people managing those funds


14 posted on 11/27/2012 7:20:45 AM PST by hannibaal
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To: MichCapCon

“They are getting lavish benefits from an underfunded pension system,” said James Hohman, a fiscal policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Wow! Thanks for recognizing that now. Where were you 36 years ago. It is NOT the woman’s problem that she worked 36 years and this is what she is getting in retirement. Most people today working for government are not going to get these type of retirments....had she started after 1981, she would be getting 36 percent of her final 3....much lower.


15 posted on 11/27/2012 7:21:24 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: driftdiver
Those poor poor teachers, only making $175,000 a year.

She is NOT a teacher. She is equvalent to a CEO of a company. Not making millions that is for sure like CEOs do.

16 posted on 11/27/2012 7:22:56 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: dangerdoc

Nice work if you can get it.

We ALL had the same opportunities she did. Is it her fault that she made wiser decisions that some of us did?


17 posted on 11/27/2012 7:25:18 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: hal ogen

Parasite.

She isn’t. She didn’t have a say in the rules whatsoever.


18 posted on 11/27/2012 7:26:10 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: napscoordinator

Did we all have the same opportunities?

I submit that public knowledge of a person being a conservative would preclude them from attaining her position.

I have a friend that was fired as a history teacher and subsequently black balled from teaching at other schools for being a conservative.


19 posted on 11/27/2012 7:32:17 AM PST by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: MichCapCon
Lost in all of this sturm undt drang over public education in this country, perhaps, seems to be the salary difference between the teachers in the trenches and the administrators who serve the system. And I'm speaking in pure anecdotal evidence, here, as my wife's family has a ton of teachers in it, especially special ed teachers. It seems that a standard "line" teacher gets about, oh, I don't know, anywhere from 40% to 75% of the salary as a standard administrator, especially a high level administrator.

Is that the case throughout the nation? Are the budget busters here, really, the pensions owed to administrators - who top out (best three years) at $100K+? Or do line teachers eventually climb the ladder to become administrators themselves?

20 posted on 11/27/2012 7:36:58 AM PST by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: skeeter
Its not my fault my wife & I are doing reasonably well in our business, either, but the president says we must do 'our fair share' and put some 'skin in the game'. Up our taxes go. So I don't see why Linda's 'lavish' retirement salary should be off the table.

A contract is a contract - if you don't want to honor it, you shouldn't have entered into it. If you let people purchase your businesses' services/goods on credit, you have every right to expect them to pay you. Unless you think that if times get tough, their responsibility to pay you should be put on the table...

21 posted on 11/27/2012 7:46:11 AM PST by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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To: hannibaal
Just like many firms may have over or underfunded DB plans, they are required to meet their obligations. If the pension funds were poorly managed, then blame needs to be put on the people managing those funds

Yup, and this is precisely why companies that offer retirement plans favor DC over DB. DB plans are relics of days gone by, but public sector DB plans will haunt taxpayers for generations to come.

22 posted on 11/27/2012 7:47:22 AM PST by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: napscoordinator

” Not making millions that is for sure like CEOs do. “

No making millions like the CEOs who generate hundreds of millions. ahh I cee


23 posted on 11/27/2012 7:51:49 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: trebb

Except this “contract” was negotiated by & between two union entities. Making your comparison invalid.


24 posted on 11/27/2012 8:03:34 AM PST by skeeter
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To: trebb
When your union is subsidizing the campaigns of the public officials who are negotiating the contracts, can you say that it is fairly negotiated?

And when those contracts break the backs of taxpayers, should the suffering be one sided all the time?

25 posted on 11/27/2012 8:17:53 AM PST by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: skeeter
Except this “contract” was negotiated by & between two union entities. Making your comparison invalid.

Not so much invalid when put in context - you seem to assume she decided to become a teacher specifically for the union support. Many union members are just working schmucks who wanted a job and had little or nothing to do with what deals the union management made. Who do you know, that when told that someone was "fighting for their benefit" would tell them to just stay out of it and leave me with lower wages and benefits? I get ragged all the time because I'm a retired AF DOD employee and that means I'm a drag on the country - some of us have solid work ethics and provide a service just as cheaply or cheaper than most contractors could (since the hourly rate that contractors get is much higher than the actual wage due to them being the "provider of benefits") and the money comes out of the same tax pot - lumping us altogether is naive and simplistic. Unions need to go, but it's not the fault of all the workers that they have busted so many banks. I will concede that those who decide to organize and protest, like the Chicago teachers, are a big part of the problem because they don't care if it busts the bank - they'd rather be put on welfare than save their jobs by allowing common sense into the mix - the only time most of them even care about the unions is when the unions tell them that the other guy is screwing them.

26 posted on 11/27/2012 8:19:05 AM PST by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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To: trebb
When a business makes a contract and their financial reality changes, they have the ability to go out of business. These public contracts are treated like the Bible and it is blasphemy to change them when the finincial reality changes.

Face it financial reality has changed.

27 posted on 11/27/2012 8:21:22 AM PST by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: driftdiver

No making millions like the CEOs who generate hundreds of millions. ahh I cee

Who do you think she hired to ensure those CEOs were ready to hire people? Her has the CEO of the School District had to be methodical in hiring great teachers in order to educate future CEOs who in turn hire more people. It starts with this little underpaid individual!!!


28 posted on 11/27/2012 8:25:44 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: napscoordinator

I don’t care if she gets 3 million a year. If that’s what she contracted for, then every penny of it is due her. She completed her end of the contract and now it’s time for the state to complete its end of the contract.

I know a young woman who became a teacher just this year. She did 2 years of college while she was in highschool which turned out to be a farce. The credits didn’t transfer and she had to RE-DO those two years and then add the remaining two for her bachelors in education degree.

One week before graduation, they decided she needed yet another year of school. Why? For the extra tuition they’d receive. She’s no dummy and she addressed the issue, she won. That’s how the scam was discovered. She wasn’t the only one, and it’s been successfully done to several students over the last 10 years.

She gets her first teaching job and in order to receive the college tuition assistance she contracted for, she has to work in low grade education systems for the next several years. Her starting salary is $30 grand per year. From that salary, she has to pay union dues, medical insurance, retirement, and taxes which are higher for her because she’s single. Additionally, she does have to return some of the monies used for acquiring her education.

That all comes out even before her rent on her house, utilities, car payment, insurance, groceries, gasoline.. can be paid.

What exactly DOES she have left to live on to pay those basic living expenses? Pretty darn little. She ALMOST qualifies for food stamps.

Furthermore, she doesn’t work her 40 hours, go home and her time is her own. She’s also a sports coach (primary coach) plus she has meetings upon meetings, PLUS she has to take work home with her..several hours worth a night which means even her weekends aren’t her own! And all for $30K/yr.

The system gets TWO positions filled for the price of one, and she had to contract that way to even get a teaching job.

Does she HAVE to pay union dues? Yes. Because the political structure of education is demanding performance from teachers which can cost you YOUR job if someone before you didn’t do theirs. And she’s a first year teacher with several students from seriously troubled homes who didn’t even get to go to school, but because of their ages, had to be placed in her class.

Their lack of education means they have to be brought up to grade level. It takes more than one year of school to make up the difference in 8 years of no education, but their low scores WILL impact her grade as a teacher. Somebody has to cover her butt and the only one to do that is a union.

I am a homeschool supporter over public education. It’s what I prefer, but I’m not without empathy for the bureaucratic BS that educators must contend with. There really ARE natural teachers out there such as this young woman I’m using as a real life example, but I also know that if I were in HER shoes? I’d burn out PDQ. I’m sure many have.

The political pressure takes time and energy from a teacher, and leaves little for the students to thrive on.

“Poor teachers” indeed...

But what’s REALLY creepy and I do believe Americans in general with Freepers in particular need to guard against is the hint of perversion that comes with the mention of a decent salary.

Watch out for that folks!! I’m seeing a LOT of it in a lot of places right now.

Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, includes the right to make money AND get rich if that’s what you so desire.

And now we have a wind of disdain for those who’ve busted rump and are now living decently in their old age? While in the same breath denouncing those who need to collect public assistance???? You can’t burn this candle on both ends and come up with a good result..

Beware!!


29 posted on 11/27/2012 8:32:23 AM PST by PrairieLady2
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To: napscoordinator

Yes I’m sure dozens of CEO’s come out of the Flint Michigan school district. Hundreds even


30 posted on 11/27/2012 8:34:41 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: napscoordinator

LOL @ School superintendent = CEO


31 posted on 11/27/2012 8:39:23 AM PST by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: Joshua

I don’t know how 36 years in counts as early retirement. If you get into a system early and stay long you get to retire at a young age. You can do the same thing in the private sector without a union, but you have to put in the time in the same company and pay into retirement system.

She did 36 years in and retired with a little over half her salary. What part of that is so wrong? The fact that she’s “only” 57?


32 posted on 11/27/2012 8:50:33 AM PST by discostu (Not a part of anyone's well oiled machine.)
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To: dangerdoc

You can do the same thing working in a lot of different places. I have a number of relatives who put together similar deals by lifing in the military. Join when you’re 18, retire at 43 with 25 years in with a significant percentage of your ending salary and COLA adjustments. My father-in-law retired as a Lt Colonel in his 40s then jumped from the military to Hugh’s, put in 15 years there and got another solid retirement plan.

It’s really about buying into a retirement plan and STAYING. If you make the right choice as a young adult you can retire young with good money. But you need to make that choice young. To retire at 57 with 36 years in means she started at 21 and worked up the food chain.


33 posted on 11/27/2012 9:02:10 AM PST by discostu (Not a part of anyone's well oiled machine.)
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To: trebb

Of course I don’t blame individual union members. Much less so military pensioners, who rendered as far more important service to ths country, IMO. But the facts are facts - generous union contracts are breaking us.


34 posted on 11/27/2012 9:11:18 AM PST by skeeter
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To: napscoordinator

She supported her union in their “negotiations”...parasite, yes. Posing as if having no responsibility...yes.


35 posted on 11/27/2012 9:25:35 AM PST by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: skeeter

Judges have consistently ruled that municipalities have to live up to their end of the contract.


36 posted on 11/27/2012 9:29:54 AM PST by wiggen (The teacher card. When the racism card just won't work.)
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To: dangerdoc
When your union is subsidizing the campaigns of the public officials who are negotiating the contracts, can you say that it is fairly negotiated? And when those contracts break the backs of taxpayers, should the suffering be one sided all the time?

Please don't misunderstand - I agree it's a dirty deal and both the unions and the officials they support need to go. Most of the workers are just there and had a choice of joining the union or not getting a job. While many come to love the "perks" there are many who just stay quiet and go along for the ride - I don't fault them for having chose a career path that gave them expectations that they used to plan for their retirements. My wife doesn't belong to a union but her retirement perks are pretty good due to other union folks negotiating deals that have become "standards". She had no idea of how plush the deal was until she started looking into her retirement.

37 posted on 11/27/2012 10:01:01 AM PST by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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To: skeeter
Of course I don’t blame individual union members. Much less so military pensioners, who rendered as far more important service to ths country, IMO. But the facts are facts - generous union contracts are breaking us.

I agree - unions have destroyed more than than just companies - they have taken whole States and much of the country for a ride. The only way to fix it is for companies to go into bankruptcy to renegotiate deals (if the Feds will let them) or for the People to start electing officials/reps who understand what a cancer unions have become. They also need to approach it like some of the Social Security reform plans that have been offered; grandfather those of a certain age group and decrease the perks for the younger folks who have time to make long-term plans, else, a lot of people who aren't at fault will end up on the dole. The continuance of what has gone on is very persistent and hard to break and it's also to overcome people's fears when they will be affected - it's like trying to pour only a little out of a spittoon; it all comes out in one strand.

38 posted on 11/27/2012 10:09:08 AM PST by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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To: Joshua
School system superintendent is a top level job ~ her retirement deal looks rather flimsy compared to what the real reapers get.

It's like this, in our system people are paid different salaries, and if a retirement system is based on that salary, then that's what some get ~ not everyone ~ but some.

She's getting much more than Jesse Jackson Jr.

39 posted on 11/27/2012 11:44:11 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: wiggen
Judges have consistently ruled that municipalities have to live up to their end of the contract.

Of course they have. And this is the best definition of a 'conflict of interests' I can imagine.

40 posted on 11/27/2012 11:56:46 AM PST by skeeter
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To: trebb; skeeter
If you want to talk about union plans, this isn't the thread to do it ~ this is about a MANAGEMENT RETIREMENT PLAN.

Unions don't do that!

Which raises a good question ~ how many folks on this thread have the slightest understanding of how management deferred payment plans and retirements work and why?

41 posted on 11/27/2012 12:06:33 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Joshua

I’ve long argued that many of our problems lie at the most local level, with school boards, citizens associations, etc.

I had served on several boards in our county and noticed I was heavily outnumbered by liberal Dems. One thing I’ll give them credit for is putting in their time to go to those board meetings and become involved in the decision-making process.

In the meanwhile, Republicans are at home, working with their own kids and doing their own jobs, running their own businesses. But they are not out in the community, taking part in how their assets are being spent.


42 posted on 11/27/2012 12:09:08 PM PST by EDINVA
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To: driftdiver
There are a good 7 million CEOs in this country. Most of them lose money had over fist. Some manage firms more successfully.

I doubt there are more than about 5,000 school superintendents.

43 posted on 11/27/2012 12:09:41 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

“Most of them lose money had over fist. “

Most companies make money or they cease to exist, unless you are talking about the Post Office of course. Now they take losing money to a whole new level.

So the fewer number of school supers makes them rare and apparently worth more because they can’t get anyone else to take a gravy govt job for less than $175k/yr with a $100k retirement plan.

yeah boyyy!


44 posted on 11/27/2012 12:15:22 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: muawiyah
If you want to talk about union plans, this isn't the thread to do it ~ this is about a MANAGEMENT RETIREMENT PLAN. Unions don't do that! Which raises a good question ~ how many folks on this thread have the slightest understanding of how management deferred payment plans and retirements work and why?

Point taken - the story didn't make it clear (at least to me), but the salary itself should have raised a flag. Are you saying that this employee wasn't union-related or that it didn't really matter due to the difference in how the different retirement plans are negotiated/handled? This curious mind really wants to know and the Enquirer is fresh out of stories about the topic.

45 posted on 11/27/2012 12:29:01 PM PST by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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To: muawiyah
this is about a MANAGEMENT RETIREMENT PLAN.

This is about union retirees getting lavish benefits from an underfunded pension system.

Personally, I think the question of management/mismanagement of the plans is a union red herring.

46 posted on 11/27/2012 12:31:09 PM PST by skeeter
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To: PrairieLady2

Did someone put a gun to her head...and force her to become a “teacher”?


47 posted on 11/27/2012 12:38:12 PM PST by Osage Orange ( Liberalism, ideas so good they have to be mandatory.)
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To: driftdiver

ROFLOL!!!!


48 posted on 11/27/2012 12:40:25 PM PST by Osage Orange ( Liberalism, ideas so good they have to be mandatory.)
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To: MichCapCon
57 when she retires. A government school employee, Thompson's average salary of $175,649 the past three years would earn a pension of $94,850 a year.

Bewahahaha....The joke is on the private sector...They're 100 percent screwed by government at all levels.

49 posted on 11/27/2012 12:42:41 PM PST by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: napscoordinator; driftdiver
She is equvalent to a CEO of a company.

Bewaahahahaha...She nothing but a tax paid school administrator...lol

This site is teaming with big gov hacks who try to rationalize this out of control corrupt government insanity.

50 posted on 11/27/2012 12:47:32 PM PST by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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