October 18, 2007

Who's bluffing in Red Bluff?

This is going on all over the country. Wake up you stupid taxpayers before your future is mortgaged. Your retirement will be taken to pay for these guys. It used to be thieves used guns. Now they use public employee unions. At least this city council has the guts to at least tell the taxpayers that the robbery is taking place. Not sure they can stop it. These people that support this BS union payouts and sweetheart deals are like the lame people that sit on juries and award million of dollars to people for no other reason than its not their money and they don't feel responsible for the outcome. I could care less what extortion money GM pays to their union employees as I will never own a GM car (each GM car has about $1,200 in union health care benefits built right into the cost I hear!) Unfortunately I have given control of all my tax dollars (against my will) to some lame elected official with a low IQ with no guts and who wants to scratch the back of public employees knowing he will get the same when his turn comes. All with my money. I may need to move to China where at least the corruption is out in the open and the rules are clear.

Red Bluff CA City Council OKs letter on issue
Special to the DN
Red Bluff Daily News
Article Last Updated:10/18/2007 08:43:18 AM PDT

The letter approved Tuesday night by the Red Bluff City Council, addressed to the residents of Red Bluff:

"Many residents have called on the Council to reply to the Red Bluff Firefighters' public campaign regarding their compensation. We have not done so out of respect for our long tradition of not negotiating with our employees in public. Our goal has been to maintain a positive and business like relationship with the Firefighters Union, by not participating in a media debate.

"Now the Red Bluff Firefighters Association is circulating a petition and asking residents to sign it without telling the residents how much they are currently paid nor the full cost of what they are demanding from the City. Therefore, as you consider whether or not you want to support the Firefighters and their compensation demands please consider the following facts:

1. On the average, each firefighter's total compensation annually costs the residents of our City over $87,000. ($69,145 in salary and overtime plus $17,876 to fund their retirement and health insurance benefits.) Excluding the City Manager, the firefighters as a group earn on average higher wages than any other group of employees in the City, including management employees.
2. Between January 2000 and July of 2006, firefighters received the highest percentage increases in pay of any other represented group in the City:
* Miscellaneous Employees - 27.8 percent in increases.
* Police Employees - 29 percent for officers, 27 percent for sergeants, and 29.5 percent for dispatchers.
* Fire Employees - 32.5 percent (or 35.5 percent if you include the 3 percent turned down in Jan. 2006)
3. Currently the City pays both the City's and employee's share of the retirement system costs. Retirement costs the firefighters nothing.
4. Currently a firefighter can retire after 33 years of service, as long as they are age 55 or older, and receive 90 percent of their single highest year salary (plus annual increases) for the rest of their life (90 percent is the maximum allowed benefit under PERS).
5. Firefighters are demanding to be able to retire at 90 percent of their salary at age 50, with 30 working years.
6. In simpler terms, Firefighters are now eligible to receive 2 percent of their highest year salary for each year worked at age 50. They want to increase this to 3 percent for each year worked at age 50. This is a fifty percent (50%) improvement in the benefit - 2 percent per year to 3 percent per year.
7. It will cost the City an extra $190,000 per firefighter to fund just the increased retirement cost of the demanded enhanced benefit. For current Firefighters, the City will be required to borrow the added cost of the added benefit from the State and will be paying off this new debt long after the employee has retired.
8. Our Firefighters have turned down more than 9.5 percent in raises and improved health benefits offered by the City over the last three years.

"Over the last several years eight different City Councilmembers and three City Managers have concluded that our Firefighters are very adequately compensated and that it would not be fiscally prudent to increase our firefighters' already generous retirement benefits. We try to use both our hearts and our heads in making decisions for the City. While our hearts may want to reach an agreement with this group of dedicated and valuable employees, our heads and sound judgment do not see this as a financially sound course of action.

"This dispute is not about public safety. It is about how much we should pay for fire protection services and about acting in a fiscally sound manner for the whole City. We repeatedly see news stories of other cities struggling under the burden of public safety retirement costs. We are concerned about the long term financial consequences of this added expense.

"Negotiations with our Firefighters will begin soon. If the Union can set aside their demand for an enhanced retirement package, we are confident that a reasonable agreement on salary and health insurance benefits can be reached."

(signed) Wayne Brown, mayor; Forrest Flynn, mayor pro tem; Dan Irving, councilmember; James Byrne, councilmember.
Councilmember Jeff Moyer recused himself.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™

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