Daniel Borenstein: Public employee pensions much higher than advertised
IN THE statewide debate over public employee pensions, there are few numbers more misleading and misused than the average benefit for retirees of the California Public Employees' Retirement Association.
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“IBM had it right: "Think"”
Since: Mar 07
SF Bay Area Suburbs
#1 Feb 7, 2011
The biggest fraud overlooked in how the public sector pensions work is the life time coverage for a very generous insurance program, and the ability to retire early.
No one in the private sector gets these two expensive perks.
If CalPERS would just say no pension before age 65, I bet the system would instantly be sound.
Since: Jan 11
#2 Feb 8, 2011
UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) doesn't know how to find savings from $150 million of inefficiencies.
When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of student sports including baseball, men’s, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed,“Sorry, but this was necessary!”
But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found by Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste, inefficiencies in UC Berkeley (Cal), despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was accomplishing the same thing without expensive consultants.
Essentially, the process requires collecting, analyzing information from faculty, staff. Apparently, Cal senior management believe that the faculty, staff of their world-class university lacks the cognitive ability, integrity, energy to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor has lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated to $150 million. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (‘They told me to do it’, Birgeneau), credibility, trust, problems remain.
Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and academic senate leaders to identify $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms.
Students, staff, faculty, California Legislators are the victims of his incompetent decisions. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni, benefactors, donors, will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year while abdicating his work responsibilities.
Let there be light for transparency
The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.
PS University of California Berkeley (Cal) ranking drops. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked Cal the 2nd leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.
University of California, Berkeley in the news
Since: Aug 08
#3 Aug 29, 2012
Daniel Borenstein, got to remember that name. Very good insight.
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