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.