Posted in the Redwood City Daily News Forum
Since: Aug 08
"Belmont-San Carlos Fire Chief Doug Fry has announced his retirement after serving in the same department for 36 years.... Fry’s salary was in the $176,904.
A safety employee receives 90% at 3.0% for every year worked up to 30 years. That equates to $159,213 in retirement benefits before taxes and benefits withholding, and just think, if he structures it correctly, and he precedes his wife in death, his wife will continue receiving his pension benefits at the same level. He may even get a portion of his social security benefits adjusted within the Windfall Elimination Provision if he has the minimum 40 quarters (10-years) paid into SS currently or will add quarters in the future. He'll have to wait for age 62/65 to reap those benefits.
The chief also gets $300,000 cash payout for unused sick and vacation leave.... Chiefs need vacations (they have assistant chiefs and BN commanders) and employees are rarely that healthy; my bet, employees sometimes choose to "work" at home or be out-on-the-town or someplace that suggest due diligent by making a "courtesy" call to another department in another jurisdiction or some other feint....
If you became a safety employee at age 21 and retire 36 years later that makes you 57; eight years from 65. Good for you, good for me - we earned it based upon the rules of collective bargaining unions and our gutless legislative branch that sets the rate of taxation and compels the executive branch to enforce our governments day-to-day operations!(Don't forget Governor Jerry Brown in his second term, compelled rank and file to join unions or pay a portion of dues in lieu to a designated non-profit organization. Of course, the state is required to withhold the union dues from the employees' paycheck to reduce the free rider problem awarding unions greater control over membership.
It is time modify future retirement benefits - increase employee contributions, reduced benefits or increase employee contribution to receive those benefits, employees shouldn't be allowed to bank more than 15 days of sick time or vacation time. Government employees should have to serve a minimum of 20 years to be invested in the pension (much like the military) and then the pension should not kick in until age 62 or 65 (in the manner of social security). The gives retired workers up to 15 years to contribute additional quarters into SS. Those employees with less than 20 years of service can cash out their contribution, but the state's contribution stays in the in PERS/STIRS.
One more recommendation: Only elected legislators should represent the government across from the union bargaining unit and not be allow substituting a sycophant to represent the legislature. Collective bargaining is a pain in the ass and a lot of wasted time and money occur at costly neutral meeting rooms at hotels.... Having legislators as government negotiators allows the electorate to hold legislators accountable - you can vote out those that don't seem to respect our labor, scaled back their income and job security!
Three cautionary notes: not all government employees have 20 + years of services; some state employees earn less than city and county employees and only pay into social security, some pay into both “pension” plans.
Secondly, simple because an employee reached a high level, well paid position shouldn't mean they are entitled to a significantly higher pension to maintain a higher standard of living. Therefore cap pensions at $125,000 for safety employees, educators, at will employees, and others that have incomes that range from $150,000 to $500,000 +. These employees no longer have the responsibilities they once had so scale them back to a comfortable lifestyle! Oftentimes their spouse has an income or pension.
Third, no double dipping – consultation or rehires should have a corresponding reduction in their retirement income or not be allowed to have a conflict of interest with a business doing related government work!
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