Skip to comments.Insight: Battle over police pensions in U.S. cities takes ugly turn
Posted on 01/18/2014 4:19:44 PM PST by Anton.Rutter
A drive by some American cities to cut costly police retirement benefits has led to an extraordinary face-off between local politicians and the law enforcement officers who work for them.
In Costa Mesa, California, lawmaker Jim Righeimer says he was a target of intimidation because he sought to curb police pensions. In a lawsuit in November, Righeimer accused the Costa Mesa police union and a law firm that once represented them, of forcing him to undergo a sobriety test (he passed) after driving home from a bar in August 2012.
That followed a call to 911 by private detective Chris Lanzillo, who worked for the police union and the law firm that represented it, according to the suit. Lanzillo is also named as a defendant, accused of following Righeimer home from the bar.
Disputes such as these have intensified as Detroit and two California cities, Stockton and San Bernardino, have gone bankrupt in the past two years. Police pension costs were a major factor in the financial troubles facing all three. Now large cities, including San Jose and San Diego, say they have no choice but to alter pension agreements lest they end up in bankruptcy too.
The suit by lawmaker Righeimer also said that an FBI raid of the law firm last October uncovered evidence that an electronic tracking device had been attached to the underside of the car driven by another lawmaker, Steve Mensinger, one of Righeimer's allies in the pension fight.
"What we are alleging is a conspiracy to gather information against political opponents", said John Manly, a lawyer representing Righeimer and Mensinger.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
"There was a time when no politician would dare to cut back on public safety, let alone their pensions," said David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a specialist in police and police behavior. "Now we are in a different age."
Cops these days are nothing more than tax collecting thugs with guns and badges.
“Cops these days are nothing more than tax collecting thugs with guns and badges.”
That’s what I always say. I’m related by blood to cops.
Chicago Police and Fire Retirees are told they are being dropped from Heath plans and must go on OBAMACARE.
I have friends that are SCREWED and they know it!
When did this happen or did you just accidentally create a FR exclusive?
By the time this is all over, almost all government employee pensions will be cut, sometimes drastically. People went into the government for security, but they will raped at the end. And the governments all knew it was unsustainable the whole time.
Double dipping (where the public employee retires at age FIFTY with full retirement then picks up another job) was rampant for awhile. Don't know if it still is.
Welcome to OBanana Republic.
No the taxpayers are the ones being raped to pay for it.
In MA, it used to be that if you put in 20 at the MBTA (transit authority), you could retire. So, if you were connected or bought a position right out of HS...at age 38, you could go on to other jobs...
True but there is only so much you can tax the people before they get up and leave. Then you default on your obligations, and part of those obligatin are to the employees.
A busdriver in Detroit accepts a job offer with promises for a pension at the end of working 30 years. He trusts the city because that generation trusts the government as being rock solid. He works for the city for 30 years. During that time, people start leaving Detroit, fed up with the policies and economic collapse, but he stays on, because of that promise. He has put in some years now, and can't cash in on that promise and walk away to a growing city. He is now near retirement, and Detroit goes bankrupt. The current offer from the city manager is to pay pensions 18 cents on the dollar. He can't sue to get his 30 years back so he can get a pension from another city. He believed a lie and at the end of his career, when he can't do anything to fix it, he has been raped by the city, through no fault of his own.
It is time to reform all government pensions at all levels and eliminate guaranteed pensions. They are the last workers to be put into a IRA/401k type of program. It is long over due.
The bus driver should have saved more of his $70,000 + a year salary. The pension system and salary system are both bloated.
Why bus companies and commuter rail lines can’t be privatized is beyond me. There is no reason why they are so heavily government subsidized. If necessary, they will be self financing and profitable.
It is because of the government subsidies that a bus driver can often make six figures with the full benefit and pension program to match that of a senior level executive.
Being from Chicago, I bet they voted to be screwed.
$70K for driving a bus????
He made his choice to invest in the government. Why should we have any sympathy for that?
I made my choice in my industry. I know the risks. And I have no pension.
I will use generalities here. A large part of the problem was that cronies were placed in positions that were in charge of those retirement funds. They played with other people’s lives and invested in junk bonds and high risk stocks. The cronies left town with their pot of gold before things went south.
( John Corzine types)
Pay them a market-based salary and let them invest for their own retirements, like adults. It’s really time for unionized government employees to stop hosing the tax base (most of which does not have a pension coming at all).
Without government subsidies almost all public transit systems would not survive. Anyone that claims otherwise is not being honest. It’s another redistribution of wealth. From affluent burb and rural dwellers to low income urban dwellers.
Once the government gets involved they overpay employees Because they don’t have to show profit.
Good summation of the issue.
Join the military at 17 learn a tech skill and achieve rank by 20 years you are eligible to retire, join the Fed Gov as a fed worker in logistics, you already have 20 years in the military added to time of service. Work another 20 years you will be 57 years old with 40 years of Fed Gov Service (you get max Fed Civilian Pension), get hired by a DoD contractor for another 8 years and retire at 65 with 401k, Military Retirement, and Fed Pension. Sell your home and move into a small empty nest house, add the capital gains from the home sale. One can do well if they know how to game the system. Most people out of college go private because the starting salaries are better, there is a chance to make it big and were taught that anyone who goes to fed gov service are risk averse people and will never mount to anything (ala losers). We all make life decisions and each decision point has risks and rewards. Private industry did not do well in the last 15 years. Off shoring jobs, H-1B replacement, automation, layoffs due to mergers/acquisitions and old age discrimination were eye openers for the ones who took the private industry route.
He drove a BUS for 30 years, he’s supposed to live like Rockefeller?
The whole concept of taxpayer funded pensions needs to be sh!tcanned
Let them get social security like everyone else
We took the private sector route because we didn’t realize the fed/state govs would conspire to create a Soviet style apparatchik at our effin expense
Enjoy it while it lasts comrade
I saw an interesting 60 Minutes episode about 25 years ago about this very subject. I don't know why I have always remembered it, other than how outrageous it was. The subject was how cities and counties are vastly over-promising pensions to new hires. The journalist interviewed various hiring managers in different cities, and asked them why they were giving such lavish benefits. "Because we want the best people. If we don't offer these benefits, they'll just go down the road to the next town." The interviewer asked, "But your own figures show you will go bankrupt if you have to pay these pensions." The answer, "Yes, but everyone is offering them, and I will be retired by then."
Well, the future is now. They never fixed the problem, and now that these people are starting to retire, the cities will go bankrupt.
” He believed a lie and at the end of his career, when he can’t do anything to fix it, he has been raped by the city, through no fault of his own.”
“You can’t cheat an honest man.” W.C. Fields.
State governments will also default (and consequently, county governments). Both investors and pensioners will take haircuts. Federal bond problems will make the situation even more interesting.
First of all corporate America offshored your job, corporate America hired the H-1B, corporate America want illegal immigrant amnesty and lack of enforcement on our borders, corporate America is the ones that fire workers when they hit late 40’s and early 50’s, it is CORPORATE AMERICA that fires people after they made record profits but want MORE, and it is CORPORATE AMERICA who got bailouts when they FAIL while the rest are TOO SMALL to SAVE. ALL this happen when Clinton was President, when GWB was President and it hit the fan and made worst under Obama. Big gov and big business are the enemies of America. Thirty years ago you would have been making fun of gov worker salaries. Who would start at such a low salary except stupid people. Who would join the gov and work a boring repetitive job for a stupid pension when the sky was the limit in private industry. Well each pathway has its rewards and risks. Wall Street crashes the economy and now many who thought private industry was all green grass were in for a shock. Fired at 50 years old because I was too old and do not fit the young image of my company and never to be rehired unless I am willing to work 1/3 less??!!! Grad from college and cannot get a job because IT companies want a specific few but hire tons of foreign H-1B. Loss my job because 10 years ago my company sent technicians overseas to teach Chinese and Indian workers to do my job??!!! Now old and not hired after 99+ weeks of unemployment and bitter at people who 30 years ago decided to work for the gov and now only ones that have good salaries and work. Gov worker made the same as thirty years ago based on inflation, it is the private salaries that went south. The gov did not set those salaries, corporate America did. Got a problem with your salary go talk to the CEO who lowered it, not the fed worker who made a good decision thirty years ago. If the avg fed worker salary is considered a fortune, then private salaries have gone south and big business really f**ked the private workers.
The Carthaginians in one of their wars with Rome had mercenary armies and when they lost they had to call all those soldiers home. When they got there they told the troops that they weren’t going to get paid. Guess what happened.
“People went into the government for security, but they will raped at the end.”
We can’t afford to make every Federal, Military, State, and Municipal retiree a defacto millionaire. We just don’t have the money
I'm not saying we should, but I don't think the pensions are going to get cut to something reasonable. I think eventually they will get cut like Detroit's, at about 18 cents on the dollar.
I see complete imbeciles at GS-11 to GS-13 stealing a paycheck every day
Its fair to say that the corporate greed monsters never miss an opportunity to screw their workers
That’s normal and can be regulated to some degree when it gets egregious as long as Congress isn’t bought and paid for
Unfortunately Congress IS bought and paid for and what’s different now is not only is Joe six pack getting screwed by the corporatists, hes getting eviscerated by a bunch of Cretin apparatchiks at all levels of government
The good news is that the end is near.
So did the employees. They’re just fighting over the loot.
A friend of mine works with government employees, state, county and local, who are in some form of financial distress. Every one of them whether they make $30K or $130K have the following in common: their total monthly costs: mortgage, car payment, etc. = exactly their take home pay.
They got in trouble when furloughs started. They couldn’t miss a days pay. No savings to speak of and a ton of debt. It’s a mentality from top to bottom in government: money grows on trees.
It’s worse than that. In Chicago if our Chicago Transit Authority abandons a bus line, no one can replace them. A private bus service is illegal.
One self-driving cars arrive, public transit is over.
“I think eventually they will get cut like Detroit’s, at about 18 cents on the dollar.”
I agree with you. You could save them if you don’t kill the private sector - but there is no political will to cut anything in America before disaster strikes.
Cook taxpayers owe $108 billion, county Treasurer Pappas says: Greg Hinz
The average Chicago household now owes a staggering $63,525 to cover local government debt, according to Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.
The First 10 City Pensions That Will Run Out Of Money :
#10 Fort Worth...Unfunded liability: $2 billion Unfunded liability per household: $7,212 Solvency horizon: 2023
#9 Detroit...Unfunded liability: $6.4 billion Unfunded liability per household: $18,643 Solvency horizon: 2023
#8 Baltimore...Unfunded liability: $3.7 billion Unfunded liability per household: $15,420 Solvency horizon: 2022
#7 New York City...Unfunded liability: $122.2 billion Unfunded liability per household: $38,886 Solvency horizon: 2021
#6 Jacksonville...Unfunded liability: $4 billion Unfunded liability per household: $12,994 Solvency horizon: 2020
#5 St. Paul...Unfunded liability: $1.4 billion Unfunded liability per household: $13,686 Solvency horizon: 2020
#4 Cincinnati...Unfunded liability: $2 billion Unfunded liability per household: $15,681 Solvency horizon: 2020
#3 Boston...Unfunded liability: $7.5 billion Unfunded liability per household: $30,901 Solvency horizon: 2019
#2 Chicago...Unfunded liability: $44.8 billion Unfunded liability per household: $41,966 Solvency horizon: 2019
#1 Philadelphia..Unfunded liability: $9 billion Unfunded liability per household: $16,690 Solvency horizon: 2015
14 Cities That Are Being Eaten Alive By Public Sector Workers
The reason why public-sector pension costs have not been addressed is that the full bill has never been revealed to taxpayers.
Top Ten Most Dangerous Cities in America (Each Led by a Democrat)