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Unfunded pensions

Original post made by Concerned about hidden debt, Castlewood, on Jan 10, 2011

Residents...I received this information via an email last week. Pleasanton has a reputation for responsible fiscal management (for the most part). Can anyone with a true understanding of the situation please comment?
__________________________________

The current unfunded entitlement liability incurred by the city is estimated at $290 Million. We need to know how the city plans to address this issue.Today's entitlement expenses consumes approximately 18% of the entire general budget of Pleasanton . In 2002 this was approximately 1% of budget.Employer contribution costs for entitlements are expected to go up 31% over the next 3 years. The fiscal problems are only getting worse!Pension and medical plans for Pleasanton workers have now reached severely underfunded levels....well below the 80% critical funding levels needed to be considered healthy. Again, this foretells severe increases in future expenses for the city and the $290M in unfunded liabilities.Since 2002, the Pleasanton city budget has grown by 47%, however, the portion of that budget allocated to entitlement obligations has grown by almost 400%. This growth is projected to continue and is unsustainable. The city is currently negotiating the city worker's contract with the union. It is unclear whether the city is negotiating with the upcoming fiscal challenges in mind. This is why we need public hearings on the fiscal situation before any future contracts are signed. Please sign the petition urging the city to hold public hearings on the issue here: Web Link



This petition is just asking for public hearing on the issues, so everyone is properly informed! Once the city outlines the fiscal situation, then we can all work together and figure out how to best solve the problem.

Thank you!

PTP and Tri-Valley Patriots

Comments (102)

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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:34 am

Hi, here's a link to the longest conversation about this topic so you can get more info. You can also contact the mayor / council and talk to them about it and get some facts and figures from them.

There have been more recent discussions online talking more specifically about the unfunded $290million, just scan back a few pages and you'll find them.

Web Link


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

Do we really need a new post about this every few days? This is the same "news" that was posted on Jan 7. The last post/thread was doing a perfectly adequate job of re-hashing the same points over and over.


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Posted by Fix it now
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Well b, the problem hasn't been solved, so it needs more discussion. I've heard nothing from our leaders that indicate it getting solved and corrected.


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Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I see the City has released their tentative contract with the union on the website for the council meeting on Tuesday. They City is punting again! Their report says we do not have a problem now so no changes are being made but the city is "proactive" and will continue to monitor it. Excuse me. I don't think having a $290M unfunded liability is "not a problem". The report says they want to make changes gradually. Funny but they did not want to make all the increases to the pension and salaries gradually. They gave out a 8 year 35% guaranteed increase in pay to all workers (costing us over $50M in the last 8 years and the increases stay so it is still costing us) and did a significant increase in their retirement plan and made it retroactive to the day they started at the city and told the employees, the taxpayers will pay the complete bill for the pension and cover any market fluctuations so that you can have your guaranteed retirement pay of near 90+% of your highest salary and retire at age 55. Oh yes, we will pick up your medical insurance after you retire early.

They also said they have heard from the public recently on the concerns so they will have a budget workshop to go through all the issues; AFTER THEY SIGN THE 2 YEAR UNION CONTRACT! The only thing negotiated in the current contract was to keep everything the status quo except the taxpayers will be paying 6% of what should be the employee contribution towards pension instead of 8% from the last contract. It is because of negotiations like this that the public has a real distaste for public employees. These people can be doing a good job but they are taking advantage of the taxpayers and since the unions contribute to the elected officials, the elected officials let it continue. The elected officials would rather give the store away during their term and let the future elected officials have to deal with the issues. Just like the State is today.

I hope I see people at Farmers Market starting this weekend collecting signatures for an initiative to force the city to address the unfunded liability and have a employee benefit system that is fair to both the employee and the taxpayer. The contract our elected officials have "negotiated" with the union shows their either do not "get it" or they do but have complete contempt for the taxpayers.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Big solutions don't happen in a few days or weeks. Posting the same rhetoric over and over every few days doesn't solve the problem.


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Posted by ddt
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 14, 2011 at 12:44 am

This video explains the situation:
Web Link


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Posted by momof2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 8:56 am

Simply put...... the pensions are under funded. The city needs to spend more on pensions than the pension funds are earning. More people are taking out money than putting in money. The long term......those city worker that are planning on receiving their pension.......get a plan B in place ASAP. This goes for teachers pensions as well.


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Posted by Gettin Hosed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 9:13 am

Here it is in a nutshell - no need for long debate - even a 10-year-old can grasp it. TAXPAYERS ARE GETTING HOSED BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. You can howl about it, or you can fix it. If you want to fix it, vote for candidates that are dedicated to fixing it. (Clue - they will be candidates that are not professional politicians or lawyers).


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Posted by comment
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

momof2,

Teacher's pensions don't come from the city. It is a different pool of money. It isn't the city's problem.


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Posted by Bill Fazakerly
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 14, 2011 at 10:03 am

Dear Gettin Hosed,
Yes, we are gettin' hosed. The government (Social Security) is promising us 76 cents on the dollar for our retirement, raising the retirement age, and taking more and more of our income to fund the bankrupt system thereby making it more and more difficult for us to fund our own retirement. Meanwhile the public employees of PTown can retire at 55 with 90% of their salary. That is NOT public service, that is public theft.
Bill Fazakerly


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Posted by Another side
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Not ALL public employees of the City of Pleasanton retire at 55 and collect 90% of their salary...I retired from the City last year, but after working there only 9 years, I am most assuredly NOT receiving 90% of my salary! Not even 50% of my salary. The formula for receiving 90% of salary usually requires one to work 25 years or more for the City. AND, City workers do not benefit from social security contributions so their pension is all they have, unless they are able to sock away some money in savings. This has been stated before, but conveniently gets omitted when new threads are started.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

My latest letter from the Social Security Administration tells me that I will get "about" 13.4% of my salary after working for 40 years - and it makes it clear that Congress can make changes in that at anytime. And there was no one ensuring that my contributions to this wonderful retirement plan would be subsidized by anyone else. Public employees should be getting the same treatment as the private sector: work until you're 66 and then get "about" 13% of your salary at retirement. AND, make 100% of your own contributions to your retirement plan.

Bill


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm

"Not ALL public employees of the City of Pleasanton retire at 55 and collect 90% of their salary...I retired from the City last year, but after working there only 9 years, I am most assuredly NOT receiving 90% of my salary! Not even 50% of my salary."



Not a very interesting or logically reasoned argument. Nobody would expect you to receive 90% for 9 years, and your claim that you don't benefit from social security is disingenuous at best. The truth is, at least during your 9 years in Pleasanton, you didn't contribute a single penny toward SS so why would you benefit. You didn't even contribute to your own pension but you will probably receive more retirement benefits from your 9 years of city service than private sector employees receive for a lifetime of contributions into Social Security. And unless your entire career was 9 years working for the city, or your entire career amounted to government work, you will receive social security.

While you aren't receiving social security for the Pleasanton years, and didn't pay into the failing system, you did get to keep that 6.2%, that the rest of us contribute as part of our social security & Medicare (7.65% total), and that effectively increased your take home pay by that same 6.2%.

Assuming you retired at 100K, and contributed zero dollars to your pension or SS during those 9 years (nice take home pay); you will probably be receiving something close to the maximum SS, while receiving retiree medical benefits from the city, and receiving a pension.

So what does your pension look like? Given 9 years of service, and assuming you were earning 100K, it would look something like this: 100K + the 8% employee pick-up (what the taxpayers/city pays on your behalf) = an adjusted salary of 108K. 108K * (9 years * 2.7%) 24.3% = 26,244 dollars per year. That's about what I can expect to get from SS for a lifetime of contributions, and I will probably have to wait until I'm 67 to collect while your pension begins at 50, or 55. You will also receive social security - I'm guessing at 62, so for you it will amount to a raise in your retirement funding.

You didn't contribute to my social security in the 9 years my taxpayer dollars have gone to contribute to your guaranteed pension, and you didn't even help to contribute to your own pension either - only the taxpayers did that. Why am I paying toward 100% of your pension when I'm worried about my own retirement? Now, as I understand it, the Pleasanton pensions are funded at less than 60% (not good). So that really means that your pension is only funded for less than 60% of your retirement years. To make up for the 40%+ shortfall in your pension plan us taxpayers get to fund that ADDITIONAL amount over the next 30 years, for someone that retired last year. In other words, we are spreading the cost for past service to the year 2040. It can't continue!

City employees offering up a 2% pension contribution when the taxpayer cost is increasing 4% this year and probably 3% next is an insult. City employees have received 4% raises (more for those receiving 5% step increases on top of that) during the entire recession. If city management, the mayor, and city council can justify this contract I'll find it very difficult to accept the notion that they are working for, or even representing, the taxpayers.


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Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Arnold, well said!

You also forgot to state that he will be receiving lifetime medical benefits which he did not contribute a cent to and is paid 100% by the taxpayers also.

And don't forget pension spiking for unused sick pay and vacation pay.

I have to believe that there are city employees who realize the current system is not really fair even though they have benefited greatly. This is the time for them to speak up and do the right thing. That is if they truly care about the city. Those who go along with the unions can be categorized as those who only care for themselves and not about the city or the residents.


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Posted by wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Please be informed. You could sink a boat with the misinformation here.
Do your homework.

Have you flushed your toilet? Used water to make a pot of coffee? Driven on any road in town. God forbid if you have needed a police officer of fire fighter. . .

The instigators have cherry picked their understanding of the issue and left out a bunch of facts.

The poster above is right, contact your council yourself and ask!



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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm

"Please be informed. You could sink a boat with the misinformation here.

Do your homework."

Instead of saying nothing at all maybe you can join the debate? I think your differing opinion would be healthy for all, but only if you are able to articulate your point(s).

"Have you flushed your toilet? Used water to make a pot of coffee? Driven on any road in town. God forbid if you have needed a police officer of fire fighter. . "

It is very difficult to take your comments seriously. What information is misinformation?


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Fortunately we don't have the spiking issue in Pleasanton. The only thing employees can do is convert 1:1 unused sick days for pension time credit.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

"Fortunately we don't have the spiking issue in Pleasanton. The only thing employees can do is convert 1:1 unused sick days for pension time credit."

We don't have the severity of spiking issues that are common in Non- CalPERS pension funds, but to say Pleasanton doesn't have spiking issues isn't accurate either.


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Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

We actually had a form of spiking that the Council actually did. After our City Attorney announced his retirement, the City Council voted to give him a raise and make it retroactive to the beginning of the year in order to increase his pension payout. If raises are intended to keep employees motivated for future employment, why would you ever give a raise after somebody announces their retirement? Our retired city attorney is listed on the other pension thread as now making $161,340.60 per year in retirement. I believe he retired at 55 years old. In addition to receiving his retirement he said he planned to also work part-time for a private law firm. So he retires at age 55, get a very generous retirement pay paying him close to 90% of his highest salary (which was increased by council just before he left), health insurance for life, and he also will continue to work in the private sector.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm

For real?! You can give a raise retroactively?

The more I hear about this kind of thing, the more I just can't believe what's happened in CA and to the people who lead us. The things that have come out in the last few years have really made me wonder who is working for us. And who is going to fix it - if it's fixable.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

two cents wrote: "You can give a raise retroactively?"

Yea, why not? If someone's annual review is delayed, a raise is given retroactively back to when the review was supposed to occur. That's not a bad thing. It's just fair.

What's not fair is when retirement benefits can be increased retroactively but not decreased on future earnings.


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Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm

To "two cents", things are so far out of whack with the union control. I think the only real solution is to unilaterally fix the salaries and benefits, let the employees strike if they do not like it. If they strike, fire them and hire a new staff. Worked for Air Traffic Controllers. With the unemployment rate plus a fair salary and benefit package we will be able to rehire qualified people in no time.

Pretty drastic but the employee unions are forcing this to occur.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm

"What's not fair is when retirement benefits can be increased retroactively but not decreased on future earnings."

What's even more disconcerning is the notion that if you hire an employee today under a 2.7@55 formula, or 3@50, you can't change that persons pension benefit tomorrow - or ever. They effectively become "grandfathered in" in the arcane world of California Union Contracts. Fortunately that notion is beginning to be challenged.

On a side note, it appears that retirement health care is not a vested entitlement as the unions would like everyone to believe and Pleasanton city management seems to have accepted. I say that because there is wording in one of the council agenda items to that effect. There has also been a judges ruling in a case between the city of San Diego and their employee unions that states compensation other than base pay is not a vested right as it relates to pensions. That would include educational pay, bilingual pay, bonus pay, and holiday pay.

Just because the unions say it is so doesn't mean it is true.


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Posted by J
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 15, 2011 at 9:45 am

Wow: sour grapes really do make a heady wine!


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Posted by W Ron Sutton
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

I truly enjoy being enlightened with facts and factual challenges and clarifications and corrections. If there is a place, a link, to an ACCUMULATION of these organized facts, such as SJ updated wiki database, THAT would be a great public service. Has anyone done that?, does anyone know how to create and post such a wiki?


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Posted by W Ron Sutton
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

Updating my post of 2 min ago."an" became "SJ" in error.
The Weekly would be doing a great public service if it "sponsored" wikis on subjects this complicated, so that readers could see accumulated facts, instead of reading through many threads, some of which are not helpful.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Just to let you know that those of us who do the work and are out there everyday making Pleasanton what it is don't make 100K a year. Its mote like 50K - 80K. Its the people behind the desk that make 100K or more. Also the majority of us who are out doing the the work can't even afford to live in this city that we make look so beautiful. We have to go over the hill to Tracy, Stockton, Modesto, Hayward, Fremont or San Jose. That tells you a lot about how dedicated these employees are to make a city look the way it does and get the ratings it does year after year and these employees can't even live here to enjoy it. In the first place, why should these employees really have that kind of dedication for a place that can't even enjoy. If the citizens get there way, I hope changes start to come on how well this city is kept up. Maybe graffiti will stay visable much long instead of being taken care of that day or the parks start looking run down. You citizens can't have it both ways.


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Posted by Perplexed
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Trying to get a common sense fiscal conservative elected is more diffucult than getting a man on the moon.

What about a city wide ballot initiantive?

Voters could be asked 2 questions.

From now on, taxpayers are no longer liable for any shortfalls in public pension payouts. Yes or no.

Public employees pension formulas will ber rolled back to 2% at 62. yes or no.


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Posted by to P
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm

"In the first place, why should these employees really have that kind of dedication for a place that can't even enjoy"

Because it's the job they signed up to do and they have every right to work somewhere else like Tracy, Stockton, Modesto, Hayward, Fremont or San Jose if they choose to. And someone unemployed will be more than happy to take this job, do the work and get the benefits. This will save you lots of gas money too.

I do appreciate your point that it's the top tier in the public sector that are causing most of the problems, but making threats about not doing the job you are employed to do isn't really the way ahead.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm

To the person that responded, "I do appreciate your point that it's the top tier in the public sector that are causing most of the problems", I appreciate it very much. I think that gets lost in all of this because all the talk I've seen is "The employee that makes 100K". For most of us, making 50K - 80K is not living large. I pay $300.00 a month alone just in gas (that's just to work and back)and we know those prices will be way up by this summer. I have to say, I love what I do and how I'm just one person of many that helps make this city a beautiful place to live.


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Posted by to P
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I agree with you. There is a lot of talk about the 100k+ers. I know that the people who are not behind the desks are not getting huge salaries and pensions spiked and you're right to raise this.


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Posted by City Worker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm

From a City worker's perspective, it is starting to feel like a scene out of a Frankenstein movie, with residents coming at us with pitchforks and torches demanding our jobs and/or retirement.

I have worked for several different jurisdictions in my career, and up until recently, morale was never higher than here in Pleasanton. Employees were happy to provide services and residents usually were appreciative of our efforts. But now it feels many on this board are jealous and resentful of us, demanding that we also suffer the pain and discomfort the economy has brought upon some of them. We did not cause the economy to change, nor did we revel in others suffering through it at that time, but if seems we are now the target-de-jour. Happiness in our job is not mandatory, but the workforce is feeling the effects of this. Many departments are working with as little as half the staff level of a decade ago, and it is only getting worse. Those who say many in the City are not working hard should come in to visit an office before making statements like that.

The vast majority of City workers do not and cannot make over $100k, have not worked for the City for 30 plus years, and simply cannot afford to retire at 55 or with a $100k retirement, period. Most of us took jobs with the City when the economy was booming, knowing we were trading less income than those in the private sector for job security, benefits and a good retirement. The nature of this business is that we are a bargaining group and are represented by a union, but again the majority of City workers are actually politically and fiscally conservative and not the proto-typical thoughtless, Democrat backing union member most people think of.

Most of us paid our retirement until the City offered to pay it for us in lieu of pay raises, because they believed it was a better deal for them at that time (the City did not even have to pay its share because PERS investments were doing so well). Who of you out there would not have accepted that offer at that time? The 8 year length of the previous contract was also a City proposal, not an employee requirement.

Upper management, Police and Fire are the people at the top of every City's payroll, every year. Police and Fire are there because of the overtime they work, largely but not exclusively due to reduced staffing levels, but overtime is not included in the retirement formula. They are the ones putting their lives on the line and are the only employees with the 3% @ 50. Many PD and Fire people do start their careers early and can retire in their early 50's, which is very young to retire, without argument, but that was the payoff for the risk. The rest of us must work well beyond 55 in order to have enough to retire on, in my case it will be not before I am 65. Also, despite paying into Social Security for 15 years before government service, they will penalize me dollar for dollar because I am in another government retirement program for up to 90% of my SS payments.

We understand that PERS is different than a private retirement system, and shortfalls will be covered by taxpayers (including us). The retirement system is unsustainable and needs to be change, and City workers know that. But even with the most dire projections, there is time to make changes incrementally, and that is what we need to happen. Most employees do not have opposition to a two-tier system for new hires (whenever that may be). The calls to immediately cut pay and have employees pay all the retirement cost immediately would have as traumatic an effect on current employees as pay cuts and furloughs have had on those affected in the private sector.





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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Good post city worker. It's good to get your perspective on this. So if a two tier system is possible, perhaps that is something that we can work on implementing right away? You're right that we need to be careful about stereotyping too.


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Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm

"From a City worker's perspective, it is starting to feel like a scene out of a Frankenstein movie, with residents coming at us with pitchforks and torches demanding our jobs and/or retirement. "

This is what happens when the public is upset with unfair salary and benefits that the "public" worker receives. If the workers do not make an effort to be reasonable and produce a fair system (fair to both workers and the taxpayer), that can actually be paid for, you will see more of this. Because of the union power out there, if the unions do no become reasonable, the public has no other recourse than to take this into their own hands.

A few facts:
1) The workers received an eight year contract in 2002 that gave guaranteed raises which ended up being significantly more than the average wage increases of the private sector.

2) The workers received a dramatic increase in pension benefits, Changing the pension formula so that they can retire earlier but more important giving them significantly more retirement pay when they retire. The kicker is they were given this new pension increase retroactive to the day they started with the city. This was done because CalPERS, who is managed by government workers with a vested interest, told cities this increase would not cost anything. We know that was done on some seriously faulty math. At the same time the taxpayer has been told that the retirement age for social security, the pension system for the taxpayers, will increase.

3) The workers do not contribute to the pension system at all. Non-city workers contribute to social security and the company they work for contributes a share. Nobody has every worked at a company where the company pays the employee share. In this city, the employer (i.e., the taxpayers) are paying the company share plus the employee share.

4) The workers have a defined-benefit retirement system. This means that if there are any shortcomings in the investments, the taxpayers are on the hook to make up the difference. This while the taxpayers have social security as their "guaranteed benefit" but really have to rely on a 401(k) defined contribution plan where the employee takes all of the risk.

5) The workers can retire and have the taxpayers pay a large portion of their medical insurance for life. Does not matter if they retire at age 50 or 65. The workers do not contribute at all into this plan and there is no cap on the costs so the taxpayer is on the hook no matter how high medical insurance goes.

6) The workers receive medical insurance paid for that includes coverage for their whole family up to the cost of the Kaiser Family plan. The worker does not pay at all for this; the taxpayer pays it all. There is also no cap. If medical insurance goes up, and it has gone up significantly as most of us who pay for our own insurance know, the taxpayer has to keep paying. The worker is completely insulated from any increases.

"City Worker", plus elaborate on which of these facts you feel is not correct.

There were some in the past who did not really care about the fairness issue but said that if we can afford it we should just give these benefits out. The issue is we cannot afford these benefits now and in addition to service cutbacks, we keep putting the costs for these benefits on the "city credit card" and keep charging. Right now there is approximately $290M on the credit card and not only are we not starting to pay it down, we are adding to the debt.




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Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I see a typo above. The next to the last paragraph should state:

"City Worker", please elaborate on which of these facts you feel is not correct.


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Posted by bart_hughes@yahoo.com
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 9:37 am

City Worker - I can appreciate that going from 0% to 8% contribution in one year is not feasible and would put hardship on employees.

But can you please help me understand why the union rejected the two-tier pension proposal this go around? And I'd be curious to get your justification for why a 2% employee contribution rate is adequate and fair to taxpayers. Especially after you got a 35% bump to retirement benefits in 2002, got raises every single year from 2002 to 2009 resulting in a 41% increase in income, and were shielded from the ravages of the recession?

You deserve to be adequately compensated for the value you provide to the community. You do not deserve to continue to benefit from the 2002 gross pension planning mistake without significantly contributing to fix it. And taxpayers do not deserve to continue to pick up the majority of costs associated with the mistake.


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Posted by City Worker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

First of all, I am not on the PCEA board, nor was I on the negotiating team, so I am not speaking for all City Employees, only myself. I wish the City and the union would have published an official response by now, but obviously that has not happened. I am trying to give people some understanding of how many of us feel about this situation, and not trying to debate point by point about this as "S" has asked.

The negotiations occurs as scheduled in the months leading up to the end of the previous contract in October, and concluded with an agreement that has was ratified by the employees in early November. I was told the two-tier system was discussed, but I cannot provide any background regarding the discussion because I was not there. I have discussed many of these issues with other employees, and most do consider the two-tier system will be implemented at some point.

In 2002, the City negotiators were the proponents of the 8 year term, not the employees. Many other cities had or were planning on changing to the 2.7 tier, and it was felt necessary to retain the levels of service here. This was published in all the local papers at that time, including this one: Web Link.

The employees accepted the deal, but many of the now controversial issues were not driven by the employees, but the City negotiators.
While the length of time was significantly longer than most, the terms were specified in advance, just as contracts with other bargaining groups are. Obviously if the negotiators had the ability to predict the economic changes of the past few years, it would have been quite different. Everyone put their faith in the actuaries at that time, and we now know how wrong the analyses were.

I will again point out employees did pay our portion of PERS up until the City wanted to change that, in lieu of raises because they believed it was a better deal for the City at that time.

I do not dispute that without changes, the system will lack enough funds from contributions and investments, but no taxpayer funding of PERS has occurred or is likely to occur for several years to come. Mr. Hughes statement that "taxpayers do not deserve to continue to pick up the majority of costs associated with the mistake" is misleading. The City currently makes contributions to PERS just like it pays all other bills and debts, from the revenue it receives from many different sources including property tax, sale tax, fees from services provided, contracts with vendors such as Pleasanton Garbage Service, etc.

The new contract does not contain any increase in pay, increases co-pay and deductibles for health coverage and the 2% contribution for our PERS is a reduction in pay that we accept. This was achieved in negotiations, and if it was acceptable to the negotiation teams, why not hear from all parties at the next City Council without any more accusations on this or other forums, or spreading videos that are clearly biased?


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Posted by to city worker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm

"I will again point out employees did pay our portion of PERS up until the City wanted to change that, in lieu of raises because they believed it was a better deal for the City at that time."

What year was that?


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I don't understand your statement "but no taxpayer funding of PERS has occurred or is likely to occur for several years to come".

Isn't it true that the city has made 100% of both employer and employee contributions for many, many years? Where does the city get its funds? Taxpayers. So please help me understand why my statement is misleading. Did your contributions go up by 35% when you got the 35% bump in pension benefits? I think not.

And given the actual costs of this pension give-away has been 4x orgininal estimate (and still climbing), most reasonable people would label this as a planning mistake.

Rather than throw out general acusations that my statements are misleading, it might be more constructive for the debate for you to get specific about where you feel I have been misleading. I have attempted to be very dilgent with using the city's own data to prove my points.

I still would appreciate your perspective on why the union didn't approve an obvious fix of a two-tier pension program. I am still chuckling about your suggestion that many of the elements of this 2002 give-away was thrust upon you by the city ... ;-)


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Posted by City Worker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I only tried to make it clear that the proposal to have the City take over the employee payment came from the City, not the employees. "Thrust upon" is your phrase, but who would not have accepted that offer if given the choice?


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

A two tiered system would only work if the city was actually HIRING people which it is not. Even so the savings is negligible.

I smell a political rat. Didn't we hear at a previous council meeting that we had ADDED to the city reserve???? Which means there is no deficit.


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Posted by it is hopeless
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Bart, Appreciate all the work you are doing and letting the public know the facts. But we all know this council will just rubber-stamp this proposal. Two council members either are, or has a spouse, that belongs to the teacher's union so they would be afraid to make any changes at the city level as the schools could follow the lead and affect them directly. Then you have the mayor who received many contributions from the unions and even had one of the unions work for her during her campaigns.

To "to City Worker", the city started to pay 7% of the employee share in 1982. In the last contract, 2002, it was modified again to pay all of the employee share and to also call is "special compensation" which translates that the employee getting an 8% increase in their pension pay because the 8% that we are paying will look like an additional 8% of salary when computing pension payouts.

This last contract in 2002 was criminal and a taking of public funds. The City Council members and the city manager at that time should be sued for misuse of public funds. This contract makes the City of Bell look more reasonable.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Even with the raises we have recieved over the past 8 years, I'm still not making anywhere near what the "private sector" makes. The same job I do for the city would be making $40.00 - $60.00 an hour in the private sector. I make under $30.00. The reason why the city pays these beneifts is because they don't pay top dollar for the job itself. If you can afford to live in this city, you're doing fine. I can't even afford to live here on what the city pays me and yet I still do my best to make it a great place you "you guys" to live in.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Correction on the post I just sent, it should say "I still do my best to make it a great place for "you guys" to live in.


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Posted by to p
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm

"The same job I do for the city would be making $40.00 - $60.00 an hour in the private sector"

What do you do, that is not behind a desk that would make $40-60 an hour + medical and full pension with no contribution in the private sector?


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Posted by insider
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm

To Bart Hughes and Kay Ayala,

It's obvious to this quiet, yet attention-paying long-timer that you two are in cahoots. Bart sounds smart - either he's whipped or he's not very smart at all. Mini me behind Karla Brown.

I hope the Council continues its course toward real pension reform. I hope these weirdos quit tearing down employees and let them do their job, and let the Council do its job, which is to address the long term health of our town.

I saw them gathering signatures at Farmers Market. People, get smart. These folks are fools, just stirring up the dust.

My family's been here a long time. Never seen such blatant animosity for the Council and for the community. Shame on these people.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Thanks for letting us know where to go to sign a petition about this. So, Sat at the Farmers Market?


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Posted by get over it
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Bart Hughs is a rich man that will never have any problems again and Kay Ayala always thinks she can put everything to a petition if she doesn't like something. I think she still may be sore for losing her run at mayor.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm

No, we're not going to "get over it". This is a real problem that needs to be addressed.

And calling people names doesn't give you a lot of credibility.

Why don't you or insider try disputing any of Bart's facts if you feel that they are not true.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm

City worker says: "Most of us paid our retirement until the City offered to pay it for us in lieu of pay raises"

s said: "The workers received an eight year contract in 2002 that gave guaranteed raises which ended up being significantly more than the average wage increases of the private sector."

Bart says you "got raises every single year from 2002 to 2009 resulting in a 41% increase in income"

So who is telling it to us straight?

I guess this is why we need a public discussion about this asap.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm

City Worker said: "The calls to immediately cut pay and have employees pay all the retirement cost immediately would have as traumatic an effect on current employees as pay cuts and furloughs have had on those affected in the private sector."
And just why are you so special that you should feel no pain from this recession? My pay was cut by half and my pension plan was thrown out -- but you are so very special that you should never have to feel any pain?
Your clear entitlement mentality is why your pay, benefits and pension will continue to be attacked. There is a recession going on! City workers have sucked the well dry, and I care not whether you asked for it or the council "forced it on you". You have had nearly 10 years of guaranteed raises, no increase in health costs and taxpayer contributions to your obscene pension. Get over it, you people killed the goose with the golden eggs.


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm

See section 6.1 on p7 and then you will be able to determine the truth yourself.

Web Link

Through this entire discourse, I've tried very hard to speak only the truth. I've found in my professional career that better problem solving comes from openly acknowledging the truth.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

You citizen of Pleasanton make me sick. Pleasanton citizen are always known for their complaining. I live in Hayward and most of us here would die to be able to live in a city like Pleasanton. It's kept up great, parks are beautiful, streets are clean and crime is nothing. Why is it that way? The CITY WORKERS make it that way. We have city workers here that don't keep our city like yours. You guys should be lucky for what you have.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 7:37 pm

City worker - care to comment?? Looks like a 4% salary increase in 2002, 5% in 2003 and 2004 and 4% each year after. This sounds like a very decent salary increase schedule - better than I've ever had.

This conversation isn't about salaries I know, but I just don't see how the pension change could have been made in lieu of salaries increases.


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Posted by it is hopeless
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 9:08 pm

To "p", you obviously do not feel your salary and benefits are equal to the private sector.

The city was directed by council to do a survey several years ago comparing the public and private sector salary and benefits. Funny how they never reported the outcome of that survey. It must have shown that the city workers were making more than the private sector so they did not want that survey released to the public.

Anybody can go to the city website and see the salaries at: Web Link

There are a handful of jobs paying less than $30/hour but most are way above that, and that does not even get into management positions which are even higher.

Along with this
- we pay your complete retirement which is supposed to be 8% of your salary so you should consider that an additional 8% of salary,
- 100% of your medical, dental, and vision insurance for your family is paid for,
- you can retire after 25 years and you get paid medical insurance for life (you get 4% of the retiree medical premium paid for each year you work),
- if you work for 25 years, you can retire at age 55 with 73% of your highest salary plus cost of living adjustments each year. 30 years working gives you 88% of your highest years salary and you can retire starting at age 55.
- 14 paid holidays per year (3 of them floating)
- 5 years of service you get 15 days of vacation per year, 10 years of service you get 20 days of vacation per year, 20 years you get 25 days of vacation per year. Vacation pay can be accumulated and paid out when you retire at your last year's salary; not when you accrued it.
- Life insurance and disability insurance paid by the city with no cost to the employee.
- 2% pay increase for receiving an AA degree, 5% for a BA/BS degree.
- Educational tuition paid for up to the Cal State tuition, plus books of up to $300 per year,
- Employees have access to city exercise facilities free of charge
- one day of sick leave per month with no cap on accumulation which can be cashed out at retirement to spike pensions payout.

I challenge you to find private sector jobs that have a benefit plan even close to this.

If as an employee you are looking for a fair compensation (salary + benefits), lets do a salary survey in the private sector to figure out what you should be paid, and the benefits that are typical, and move you to social security and no retiree medical. At least at this point it would be fair, we know the real cost, and we only pay the employees while they work here and not like today where the taxpayers are taking all the risk in the retirement and medical system. I am all for a fair compensation.

If this cannot be agreed to, I suggest we contract out all the services we can (like the city of Dublin). Get bids from companies every 4 or 5 years for each of the services and pick the best deal (price and quality of work) for the city each time. Just about everything can be hired out: administration, IT, park maintenance, facility maintenance, engineering, planning, accounting, payroll, central services (duplications, postage, etc.)


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Posted by to two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm

"Two Cents", your numbers are a bit off in salary increases. You have understated it.

5% 2002 (4% for salary increase plus city picked up another 1% of employee required contribution to their retirement)
5% 2003
5% 2004
5% 2005
4% 2006
4% 2007
4% 2008
4% 2009




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Posted by Perplexed
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jan 17, 2011 at 2:22 am

Hey City Worker,

You don't understand why we are so upset?
You are taking our money from us. That makes people angry.

Next time you are walking downtown, walk up to someone, mug them, and steal their wallet. Chances are the person you mugged is going to be upset. Get it now?


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Posted by momof2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

Teachers pensions (I know they do not come from the city duh!) are severely underfunded as well.


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Posted by Jason
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:01 am

P (and every other "underpaid" city worker):

If you are being paid less than market value by Pleasanton then you should quit and get a job in the private sector or with another city.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 17, 2011 at 10:13 am

City Worker said: "Most of us paid our retirement until the City offered to pay it for us in lieu of pay raises"
Were does the "in lieu of pay raises" account for your significant pay raises over the term of that contract? Do you begin to see why those of us who PAY your salaries and benefits have had enough? You sat out this recession with your guaranteed raises, your guaranteed for life pension and medical benefits and you now cry that we are being unfair by asking you to give back anything? I think your new contract should START with your pay and benefits in 2002 and then cut from there since you have enjoyed 8 years of excessively high pay and benefits.
As for you and your fellow workers having to suffer the commute to work here -- don't. Work where you live and enjoy half the salary and benefits that we have been coerced into paying you.
I have often gone into city offices for business reasons. What I have seen astounds me. Clerks "working" on computers (wanna bet they are pretty active on Facebook?), people having obvious personal conversations on their cell phones (you cannot help but overhear them, they make no effort to be quiet or discrete), the endless wait for someone to even acknowledge that a customer is waiting. For this you goudge the taxpayers for a lifetime pension, starting as early as age 55?
Your free ride is up. If the council stupidly ratifies your contract then the initiative will begin.


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Posted by W.E.
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm

How come nobody cared or said anything from 2002 - 2008 when the economy was good? If the deal is bad now, it was bad back then. Seems like the people complaining are the ones that might be out of a job. Just because you had bad luck in the economy doesn't mean you have to make somebody else (who keeps Pleasanton a great place to live) suffer.

To the person who wrote, "Your free ride is up. If the council stupidly ratifies your contract then the initiative will begin." So tell me, If that happens and the citizens win, are you still going to expect Pleasanton to be kept up the way it is, i.e. well kept up parks, streets, buildings, etc.?


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Posted by to W.E.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

"are you still going to expect Pleasanton to be kept up the way it is, i.e. well kept up parks, streets, buildings, etc.?"

I believe it looked OK prior to 2002. There is huge unemployment. I reckon yes.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I also want to know why none of you people are complaining about the firefighters or police officers. They get to retire at 50 and get 3%. With the salaries they get and all the overtime, they are the ones that are part of the problem. You citizens don't talk about them because you need them to protect your million dollar homes and your gas guzzling SUVs from being broken into. They are the problem so GO AFTER THEM as well.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Even with the raises we have recieved over the past 8 years, I'm still not making near what the "private sector" makes. The same job I do for the city would be making $35.00 - $50.00 an hour in the private sector. I make under $30.00. The reason why we choose to work for the city and make a little less is because its a stable job. The city pays these beneifts because they don't pay top dollar for the job itself. If you can afford to live in this city, you're doing fine. I can't afford to live here on what the city pays me and yet I still do my best to make it a great place for "you guys" to live in.

For all of those who say we can retire at 55, you're right, that's what it says. Sorry to burst your bubble but most of us can't retire at 55. I know for me and a lot of others, I'll have to stay till 65. Making under 60k a year is not living large.


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Posted by Hmmmm
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm

"How come nobody cared or said anything from 2002 - 2008 when the economy was good? If the deal is bad now, it was bad back then. Seems like the people complaining are the ones that might be out of a job."

I think we accepted that city management was working in our best interest. I had know idea that my tax dollars were being funneled toward union representation, political campaign contributions, or a mayor that puts the unions interest first. Thankfully, with a big assist from the power of the internet and taxpayer organiztions like pensiontsunami and CFFR, I am now aware of the union antics that are destroying the fabric of our state, counties, and cities.

Pleasanton employees, and the fact that they won't even ALLOW for future employees to receive a reduced 2@60 pension formula (and who gets that other than public union employees) tells me everything I need to know about where the problem lies. The sooner we get rid of these taxdollar parasites the better. And if you asked me how I felt this time last year my answer would have been quite different. Thankfully, I now understand the problem.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2011 at 8:49 pm

To Hmmmm:

How come you or any other citizens are complaining about the firefighters or police officers. They get to retire at 50 and get 3%. With the salaries they get and all the overtime, they are the ones that are part of the problem. You citizens don't talk about them because you need them to protect your million dollar homes and your gas guzzling SUVs from being broken into. They are the problem so GO AFTER THEM as well.

By the way I'm all for the two tier system. You also have to understand that not all the employees are in the union. We are not required to join, its the persons choice. I'd say probably half are not in the union.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2011 at 8:51 pm

To Hmmmm:

How come you or any other citizens aren't complaining about the firefighters or police officers. They get to retire at 50 and get 3%. With the salaries they get and all the overtime, they are the ones that are part of the problem. You citizens don't talk about them because you need them to protect your million dollar homes and your gas guzzling SUVs from being broken into. They are the problem so GO AFTER THEM as well.

By the way I'm all for the two tier system. You also have to understand that not all the employees are in the union. We are not required to join, its the persons choice. I'd say probably half are not in the union.


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Posted by it is hopeless
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2011 at 8:51 pm

"How come nobody cared or said anything from 2002 - 2008 when the economy was good? If the deal is bad now, it was bad back then. Seems like the people complaining are the ones that might be out of a job."

There were people concerned about this during this time and the budgets submitted by the city manager have been raising caution. We just have a city council that is controlled by the unions so they do not say anything. Also, the contract was not up and there was nothing that could be done at that time. The public was told to wait for the contract renewal and then we can fix things. HA!

To "P", you are an employee and you think the firefighters and police are too heavily compensated. Suggest what we should do there. The reason we are not talking about fire and police now is their contract is not up. I would like to know what we should do there as you seem to be concerned with their cost. Sounds like you are jealous of their salary and benefits. They get to retire at age 50 and you have to wait till 55. Poor thing.

Also "P" what job is it you do. I would like to know what the job is that you make less than $30 per hour that the private sector makes up to $50. Maybe we can adjust your salary to be "competitive". You tell us your salary is low but you fail to state what your job is. That is why we cannot take you seriously. All you do is try to shoot down anybody who has a rational concern on employee costs and at the same time you think fire and police are overpaid. You sound quite unhappy in your job. Maybe it is time for a career change for you.

The previous council directed staff to do a salary survey to compare the city workers pay to the private sector as there was concern on all of this at that time (4 or 5 years ago). Staff never showed us the results of that report. I am sure that means that the survey did not look good for the employees.

I agree with "W.E", this city looked great prior to 2002. In fact I would say we have lost ground since then. Our downtown was the envy of other cities. Now compare our downtown to Livermore. Livermore is looking great.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm

To hopeless: One question, do you think the citizens should go after the firefighters & police officer when their contract is up?

Also I'm very happy at what I do, it just brings us down when we hear the public say these things about us. Like i said a few post ago, "You also have to understand that not all the employees are in the union. We are not required to join, its the persons choice. I'd say probably half are not in the union."


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Posted by W.E.
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I'm not a city employee or know a single one, but keep attacking them and see what your city can really turn into.


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Posted by Hmmmm
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm

"To Hmmmm:

"How come you or any other citizens aren't complaining about the firefighters or police officers. They get to retire at 50 and get 3%. With the salaries they get and all the overtime, they are the ones that are part of the problem. You citizens don't talk about them because you need them to protect your million dollar homes and your gas guzzling SUVs from being broken into. They are the problem so GO AFTER THEM as well."

I think you make a good point but the issue is about the PCEA contract. The FD & PD do have very dangerous and physical jobs so I can understand why they should retire at 50, although I don't think they deserve 3@50.

"By the way I'm all for the two tier system. You also have to understand that not all the employees are in the union. We are not required to join, its the persons choice. I'd say probably half are not in the union."

Then why isn't this a no-brainer. Your union is making you look bad. How hard is it to give up something that doesn't affect you? Do you think the future employees that haven't even yet applied for the job are complaining? Get Real!


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Posted by it is hopeless
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm

To "P", if you are not in the union then you should offer to reduce your benefits to a reasonable amount, even if the union does not agree. I doubt what you are saying is correct anyway. Most or all of the employees are in the union. Unless you are in management and there is no union for them.

And if the workers keep fighting any changes to bring things under control and pay down our unfunded liability, you should expect to be brought down. Like said earlier; you can be part of the solution or be prepared to accept the consequences.

I am so sickened with government workers who feel entitled to their jobs and excesses. You all forget you work for the taxpayer! The government jobs are not supposed to be a form of welfare. You should be doing a job that the taxpayer wants at a fair price.

In my perfect world we could not have public unions. We have a job to do and we have a certain amount of money to spend. We set the wage and if you don't like it, find another job. Some year might be good, other years will be setbacks and we can decrease pay and benefits unilaterally in a setback. There is a line waiting to get your job but since you have a union you feel entitled to the taxpayer money. Since the public unions are one of the largest special interest groups in the state, politicians are afraid to stand up to them as the unions control a lot of political money.

And yes, we have to do somebody about the benefits for police and fire also. I agree that they need a better benefit than the misc. employees because they put their lives on the line but what they have now is unsustainable. But you were the one complaining about them so you tell me what you think should be done with them?


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 2:50 am

it is hopeless
I enjoyed reading your blog. City workers salaries are much higher than they appear to be when you add on all the extra benefits. Contracting out sounds like a viable option. Although we need to take care of the police and fire fighters. They put their lives on the line for us and keep Pleasanton safe.


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Posted by it is hopeless
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

Hello resident, I agree that police and fire fighters should be taken care of and are different than the misc employee. However there is reform to do there also. We are, or will be soon, paying for two police and fire departments. The ones that are working, and the ones that are retired. I think in San Diego they said that they pay as much for retirees as for the current workforce. We cannot afford to pay for two workforces so I hope the police and fire work with us to find a common ground.

I think it is important for the police and fire unions to work today on the issues. If the misc union contract is adopted by the council and there is an initiative on the ballot, the initiative will probably affect all workers, including police and fire in some way. So they should be coming to the table and helping the misc union come to grips with the reality right now.


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Posted by Lugnut
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Jan 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

To it is hopeless--police and fire unions coming to the table to help. Ask Fiahlo's Staff and the Council if they have. If you compare the Misc. Employee Contract up for a vote you will see "takeaways" or "givebacks" throughout the document. People want blood and will sign anything without facts.


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Posted by Allen
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jan 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Retire at 55 with 90% of your salary,what a joke that is, sounds like Europe,we are following them instead of them following us and look at their financial situation. I am over 80 and still working, get a job and start producing instead of milking the system. Unions get out of the way so that people can be the best that they can be. I have never had Union protection, it would have held me back.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Well said by Walter

Oh you poor "Tax-paying citizens of Pleasanton." Life is so rough that all those beautiful parks, gorgeous homes, clean streets, graffiti free walls, and low crime rates mean nothing. It appears many of you like to jump on the bandwagon and speak with little knowledge by blaming those who make your city so nice for the root of the financial crisis. The facts have been clear for the past several years, the housing bust, banks, and Stock Market are the reasons for a failing economy… not the city workers.

Let us think about it for a minute; the city employees are doing a job that many of you would not want. In fact, many of you can enjoy your life, house, and fancy cars because of the job you possess. Many of your city workers do their job not because they have to, but because they want to give back to their community. In fact, many of your city workers possess a college degree and still choose to work for YOUR city. Furthermore, it would be interesting to note how many of YOUR city workers actually live in YOUR community of Pleasantville. I am guessing not many.

In addition, I'm guessing the majority of Pleasanton's city workers live in other cities because they cannot afford the high cost of living you "tax-paying community members" can afford. How about this, if you are so concerned about the taxes you pay, why not move to another city that is failing like Oakland, Antioch, and so on. See how much of your quality of life changes and your taxes will be much lower too. Remember, your city workers also have homes and families to care for. And like so many other American's, their homes have lost values, spouses have lost jobs, and have had to foreclose or short sale to sustain a life.

Now, some of you also criticize the police and fire department. Are you serious? Let me ask you this, asking for city employees and public safety personnel to contribute 2-4% of their earnings that is like taking a 2-4% decrease in monthly pay. So in essence, you are asking public servants to be just that… slaves to you! As a citizen of Pleasanton, when you call for one of these services how long does it take them to respond? Do they (Police and Fire) do their jobs effectively? Are they professional? Now, reduce their monthly pay (Now putting them in financial difficulty) and see how those attitudes change. How can you look them in the eye when you call for help and ask them for help after you have just reduced their income? But I guess for you Pleasanton residents it really does not matter does it? When you take your vacations on holiday weekends and enjoy being at home with your families at night and on holidays, these are the people who look after you. Yes, they are not home with their families; instead they are watching your homes and keeping your city safe.

If you really want to save the city money here is an idea. Stop having all those happy "Community of Character" special events. Downtown street fairs, antique fairs, that stupid tree on Main Street lit up year round, and etc. Oh that's right, it's the city employees who do all the work so that you have your Mayberry life. As for your City Manager, "MR CM" (Really, who has such an ego) he boasts about paying his 8%, but how about his other perks like monthly allowance for a car. Did the other managers really agree to pay 4% or were they demanded? Hmmm?

And who is this Bart Hughes? A "Business man?" Why doesn't he stick with running his own business versus trying to attack the employees who dedicate their lives to a community he lives in. Stop trying to be hero Mr. Hughes!

Stop and think about it….


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Give me a break P - look around and you will see that for many cities, employees including policemen and firemen contribute 100% of their contributions.

Get real.


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm

And I guess you will next bring up the same old crap that policemen and firemen deserve what they get because they die young and have a high mortality rate.

A traveling salesman is a more dangerous job and policemen and firemen live just as long as the average population.


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Posted by P
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Well I hope if you ever need a firefighter or police officer in an emergency, I hope they take their sweet time getting there. Oh wait, you'll probably sue them cuz something bad happened. The citizens can't have it both way. If they're going to take from us, its only fair we take from them.


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Hey everyone - look at the implied threat from P here. Give the union what they want otherwise they won't respond in a timely fashion.

Shame on you - you should be fired.

Find a new job if you are so unhappy. I'm sure that are hundreds that would be willing to take your place.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:44 pm

There is so much jealously!
"All you rich people can enjoy your lives because other do work you don't want to do." That is one way to think about it. Here is another way to look at it, people who are successful and industrious produce enough to provide jobs for others. And those rich people work really hard, long hours. They probably pushed through more years of school than many. Most of these people likely have jobs that are stressful with a high level of responsibility. Not trying to trivialize any ones job recognizing there are high levels of difficulty and hard work involved in all.

The appropriate group to be annoyed with are those who negotiated contracts that are hard to sustain.


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Posted by Jason
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm

P:

When police and fire positions open up how many folks apply for those spots? Why do police and fire deserve significantly higher pensions than military personnel (both total $ and % of pay)?

You don't get deployed away from home for months (or longer) at a time and you don't get shot at weekly (if ever) in Pleasanton. Quit and see how much you are worth on the open market.


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Unions - step up and be reasonable or this is what is potentially in store for you:

Path Is Sought for States to Escape Debt Burdens

Web Link


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Posted by No pennies for own retirement
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:39 am

At this moment on KGO,810, Ronn Owens the number one in Western US, and winner every year of the Marconi award, is disucssing public pensions. He says pensions are choking us, CA cannot get fixed and every thing else in CA will have to be sacrificed, unless and until the public pension issue is brought into line with everybody else. Ronn, a vocal Democrat, says there is no reason public employees should be exempt from what everybody else is enduring.
I agree.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

I'll post this here too, in case you guys missed this. You are barking up the wrong tree.

I support the city workers and all workers. The are a few well to do people here calling for "reforms", but it is really nothing more than naked greed. The bottom line is that they don't want to be taxed. They feel that they "deserve" their money, but unionized workers don't. But the minute their investment bank or insurance company falls on hard times, they run to the middle class taxpayer to bail them out and preserve their bonuses. Well the truth is out there. We need to raise taxes on these people. It is never enough for them. We can't keep bailing them out and paying for their mistakes.

I ask that these people cease and desist. Put their time and energy into pushing for stronger private sector unions, stronger worker protections, and strong tariffs on foreign goods and services. Taxes also need to be increased on those who enjoyed the windfall of the government bailouts that saved the banking, insurance, financial services industry. This needs to happen at the local, state, and federal level. Together we can do this. I'll be happy to take constructive questions on this and hope that Bart and Kay join us in this noble effort.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:17 am

"The are a few well to do people here calling for "reforms", but it is really nothing more than naked greed"

I'm not well to do, far from it and am a staunch supporter of this initiative.

I've done extensive research now on public sector pay and benefits and they will bankrupt everything around them until they are reformed. They were raised way to high in a bubble time and have not been reduced to reflect reality. The private sector reacted to the recession by lowering pay and benefits and by getting competitive again. It's been painful and still is, but we'll end up stronger as a result. The public sector needs to do the same.

The recession was all about greed, Alan Greenspan kept interest rates too low, setting off a housing bubble where everyone felt they had unrecognised equity in their houses that they proceeded to spend, banks believed house prices could go only one way and set off a terrible chain of risky moves, and the public sector raised salaries and benefits because they believed the stock market could only go one direction. All very dumb moves in retrospect and they all have caused great pain for the middle class.

However, I think we know now what a bubble looks like and despite your friend b's hope that everything is going to rocket to the moon again, that will only be true if we create another unsustainable bubble. Better to grow up, live our lives more honestly, recognise that the bubble whas just that - not real - and try to move forward in a truly competitive way. We've got to dial back to our parents generation and believe that income is made by hard work, not by winning the "lottery" - whether than is in house prices, public sector benefits, whatever.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

"The private sector reacted to the recession by lowering pay and benefits and by getting competitive again."

Not true.

During the worst of the recession, both public agencies and private companies have experienced reductions in revenue. In order to adjust, BOTH sectors have cut jobs to save money, but generally not pay and benefits.

Pay cuts are very rare for existing workers. From a management standpoint, it is much easier to institute layoffs than pay cuts. Laid off workers in BOTH sectors may have had to accept lower-level jobs with lower pay (due to there being fewer total jobs available), but that is very different than saying companies were "lowering pay and benefits."

Apples-Apples, public sector compensation is lower than private/industry compensation for equivalent jobs. The public sector compensates for this discrepancy with more generous retirement benefits. Total cost nets out about the same. This is well documented and easy for you to research on your own. I've posted links in the past.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

b. the big difference is that in the private sector, companies fired their more expensive workers and less productive workers, thereby significantly lowering their overheads. These workers then did go find other jobs (if they could) and accepted significantly lower wages with a new company if they were smart or are probably still on unemployment if they didn't.

In the public sector, despite the claims of unions as being for "social justice" they are using the newer less expensive workers as cannon fodder and protecting the higher paid longer term workers. You're never going to get the same result this way.

And if you are proposing layoffs rather than negotiations as the fair way ahead, you are basically suggesting what the unions doing right now. But I personally think it would be fairer and less messy for the workers and for the people they serve if they all negotiated rather than going down this route. Private sector unions ARE making this better choice.

And if you are going to go down the layoff route as a comparison to the private sector, you need to have the second tier in place so people can get their new lower paying / lower benefit job. Again, not the path that I think is wisest, but if you want apples for apples, go for it.


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm

It is interesting to hear the complaints of middle class workers having to pay the price for the economic downfall and yet the same people demand the exact same fate for other middle class public employees. If it's not right for you, why is it right for your neighbor?

The market is at a two year high, practically back to pre-recession state. Some of the reasons for the lack of employment improving are spelled out here Web Link

"The underacknowledged truth is that many of the jobs that were lost over the past three years are gone forever. Americans who held them will not be rehired to do the same jobs, no matter how much the economy grows. Some of those lost jobs will go to someone in another country for less pay.....Most of these "gone forever" jobs have been replaced by greater productivity -- fewer workers using better technology -- or made obsolete by a new business process."

I just don't see the dismantling of public employee systems as a way to resolve private sector downturn.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm

"If it's not right for you, why is it right for your neighbor?"

I never said it wasn't right for me. It hasn't been nice, but it was inevitable given the nature of bubbles, they have to deflate. And we're working our way out of it. You win some, you lose some - I'm not bitter at all, I get it and am happy to be employed and work hard.

"The market is at a two year high, practically back to pre-recession state"

Not quite. The economy is improving because of the money the government is printing, quantitative easing - QE2. It started late last year (allowing the stock market to go up) and lasts until June. They are hoping it will inflate the economy by debasing the dollar and allowing for inflation to make our debts more manageable and to allow home prices to rise.

It could be another bubble in the making and we are paying dearly for this $600 billion QE2 to make us feel better. It also may not work - we seem to be sending our inflation overseas because the people in the know are buying commodities rather than debt.

"The underacknowledged truth is that many of the jobs that were lost over the past three years are gone forever."

You're right that many of the jobs are gone forever - and the tax generated by these workers. Many countries are much more competitive than the US is now, I think we've gotten a bit soft and entitled - it often happens to successful countries, they self-destruct. You can see that where some people here choose not to work for lower wage jobs because they are protected by a too generous safety net, so we get to pay for them not to work too - that never, ever would have happened in my grandparents day.

Even our educational standards have gotten soft and they stand for mediocrity, they do not encourage greatness.

"I just don't see the dismantling of public employee systems as a way to resolve private sector downturn."

We aren't talking about dismantling the public employee system. We're talking about restoring it to the way it used to be - pre-bubbles. It worked just fine then.

Right now we have an awful cloud over our heads that appears like it will never go away. And if it doesn't, America and Americans and the future generation will lose so much.



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Posted by Posted by Pensions were never the problem,
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm


The problem is that government employers got a free ride when times were good.

When interest rates were very high, pension funds were invested so well that governments were allowed to reduce or stop paying toward employee's pensions, because of the interest or return on the investments.

But when interest rates came down, pension funds just burned away their funds, and did not promptly ask employers to pay, or to pay enough. Eventually that caught up to them, and employers not only have to pay, they need to make up for some of the prior free ride.

CalPERS and the teachers pensions are similar.

Yes, the employers need to pay more.

But it is interesting to see news articles that say CalPERS is now getting a 17% rate of return on investments, so perhaps there's hope that can help offset the years of underpayments.

If you ask the employees to pay more, it really just costs more in the long run because that money comes out of their salaries, which the employer pays,and is taxed, too,

Employees did not cause the recession, and cutting the pensions that they are entitled to, based on years of service, will not solve today's problems.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

i'm on the way to the BANK!

yup...have a check deposited and then check to make sure that the bank is on the up 'n up...then spend...it's that e a s y!

tee hee hee...all the way home!


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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 15, 2014 at 9:54 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Pension are the problem and the whores who agreed to sell our state to union interests. But, I'm glad to see you used the liberals magic word in your post: entitled. That's exactly what union (public and private) think they are.... Entitled to a greater portion of working peoples paychecks to fund their cushy retirement at an early age. The last thing they are concerned with are employers, taxpaying citizens and the rest of the public, in general. It's all about them.......and the political hacks that enable them.


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Posted by Isabel
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:24 am

Poor drooling saps who salivate over public workers' pensions. You should think about agitating for union status in your own workplace -- assuming anyone would consider hiring you.

You might also write your elected representatives so as to urge them to make the tax system fairer by putting heavier emphasis on the wealthy and less on working Americans.

Will you suckers do either? Nope. Instead, you'll squeal all you want on PW Forum.

Of course, to do either of these things effectively, one would have to be capable of writing grammatical sentences. (See, for example, the first attempted "sentence" of the above poster who proffers no subject, no predicate.)


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Posted by right
a resident of Parkside
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:49 am

Isabel, let me elaborate for you, since you appeared to not have read the previous posts, nor comprehended the root of the problems that are the subject of this post (are you a retired teacher?---just a guess).

I was addressing a previous post from "Pensions were never the problem". I've added emphasis (bolding) and reworded it slightly, in order for you to attempt to comprehend what was written:
'Pensions ARE the problem, along with the whores who agreed to sell our state to union interests.'
I'm sure you're very familiar with both the problem and those who enable the bankrupting of the state, so you can feed at the trough long past your usefulness (debatable) has long expired.
Of course, you understood perfectly the point of the post, but pretend to be ignorant (you are pretending, correct?), since you assumed the role of grammar police.
That was a weak attempt at deflection, which is a typical tactic of the left when debate of the subject matter alludes them. Try again, lizzie.


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Posted by Lois Lipps
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:44 am

Interesting that "liberalism" and "right" appear to be the same poster, especially since "lib" has been all over this board, accusing Other People of posting under multiple names. As one of the people so falsely charged, I think it's fascinating that anonymous folks are so often guilty of doing exactly what they complain about.

In the words of a great contemporary conservative leader: "Oops."


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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

We are one and we are registered users, mittens.. How about you, troll? And, please, cite where I accused 'Other People' of using multiple, fake identities. If you feel falsely charged, file a complaint with someone who cares and wait for the appropriate response.


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Posted by Lois Lipps
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2014 at 10:47 am

At least Mr. Perry had the good sense to be embarrassed. You, however, appear to think that the best defense is to be offensive.

This is not about The Rules -- for the record, I just think it's hilarious when people get caught doing exactly what they falsely accuse others of doing. Karma is an unkind mistress to hypocrites.


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Posted by Isabel
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Sorry, Right/Disease, but I did respond to your point ill-formed as it was. You see, you SAY the problem is pensions; but this is highly dubious -- even beyond the fact that it is you who states this. From where I stand (shoulder to should with others who are capable of constructing a grammatical sentence, who are capable of constructing a coherent idea), pensions are not the problem, at all. The problem is intellectual infants who have never showed the backbone to mobilize in order to form a union. I have no pity for you folks. You lost out educationally; and you seem to have no reasoning skills to get you past Fox News propaganda.

Yet another problem is the surfeit of poorly paid, poorly educated numbskulls in this culture (Fox puppets) who blame unionized workers for having gained a decent living for themselves. What is astounding about these numbskulls is they seem incapable of understanding how the structure of inequality in this country is designed to absolve the wealthy from pitching in what they should be.

Again, Right/Disease, your grammar betrays you; and so it betrays your inability to form coherent ideas and argue them. You want an example? Look at what you wrote recently above:

"We are one and we are registered users, mittens.. How about you, troll? And, please, cite where I accused 'Other People' of using multiple, fake identities." Only a dimwit could write this, as you have, and not grasp the fundamental contradiction which inheres within it. Mittens? Troll? Like I say, only a dimwit....


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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Isabel/Lois: The intellectually challenged (most leftists, like you) often resort to personal attacks and name calling in the absence of anything resembling a coherent argument. You can see displays of this all the time on sites like Huffpo, the Daily Kos, etc. No doubt we can find one of your aliases posting nonsense of those cesspools, as well. As much as I'd love to get a good laugh patronizing you further, I've got another round to play at Castlewood, followed by lunch at the restaurant, where I will forget to tip the union staff. I declare this topic closed. Adios, kids.


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Posted by Lois Lipps
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Running away IS your best response -- try to do it sooner, next time.


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