The Herald's View: Public salaries, p...

The Herald's View: Public salaries, pensions puzzling

There are 28 comments on the Monterey County Herald story from Jul 18, 2010, titled The Herald's View: Public salaries, pensions puzzling. In it, Monterey County Herald reports that:

Often the opinions that fill this space are reached at with relative ease, but sometimes we just aren't sure what to make of things we read.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Monterey County Herald.

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Monterey Citizen

Marina, CA

#1 Jul 18, 2010
While I agree, the compensation paid for the Bell management staff and the council is outrageous, so too is the salary and compensation paid to many private sector employees. Steve Packer of CHOMP is laying off hundreds of low-wage workers and sending collection notices to hundreds of residents for bills that our 1.5 to 2 years old, all the while collecting over $460,000.00 a year in salary. The President of Robert Louis Stevenson school has an unbelievable compensation package worth well over one million dollars and has a free house to live in - in Pebble Beach - while charging local residents hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their kids to school - and with the state of our local schools, private education is one of the few ways to be sure your kids get an adequate education. Should we mention the millions paid to defense contractors and their lobbyists while our children are sent to die in pointless foreign wars. Where is the outrage!
Amused

United States

#2 Jul 18, 2010
Monterey Citizen wrote:
While I agree, the compensation paid for the Bell management staff and the council is outrageous, so too is the salary and compensation paid to many private sector employees. Steve Packer of CHOMP is laying off hundreds of low-wage workers and sending collection notices to hundreds of residents for bills that our 1.5 to 2 years old, all the while collecting over $460,000.00 a year in salary. The President of Robert Louis Stevenson school has an unbelievable compensation package worth well over one million dollars and has a free house to live in - in Pebble Beach - while charging local residents hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their kids to school - and with the state of our local schools, private education is one of the few ways to be sure your kids get an adequate education. Should we mention the millions paid to defense contractors and their lobbyists while our children are sent to die in pointless foreign wars. Where is the outrage!
Agree with you about the salaries paid to certain public-sector workers. Frankly, from the little I see the Monterey police and fire do (or refuse to do, even when it is their job) believe they are way overpaid. I am underwhelmed by most local area public sector workers; dumb and lazy best describes many of them. Far as CHOMP goes, I hear you. Believe CHOMP is overpriced and their president makes an awful lot. Far as collections go, CHOMP needs to try to get what is owed them. Don't know about the compensation for the president of Stevenson School, but tuition there is more like $30K/year, not hundreds of thousands of dollars. If I could afford it my child would go to Stevenson, too. Lastly, I don't agree with you about pointless foreign wars. Afghanistan was due to 9-11.
CALPERS

Chualar, CA

#3 Jul 18, 2010
The bill is going to come due and who will pay? The public. Again. The California Public Employee Retirement System made risky bad investments during the real estate scandal. At the same time public employees were receiving raise after raise for their working years. It is unbelievable that a police officer can make over $200,000 per year with overtime. That upper management in police and fire make roughly $200,000 per year and they can retire at 50 with up to 90% of their working pay.

CalPERS must raise premiums paid by public entities to support these ridiculous retirements, where will they look? The public. They will up fees, try to raise taxes and take money from one program to pay something that provides no value to the public except for the retired employee who no doubt has plans on leaving the community.

It is a sore topic with public employees too. Bring it up and they show a sense of self-entitlement, they earned it, its not their fault they are getting so much, other people are just jealous.

Maybe other people are concerned about the bigger picture and not only themselves. When things grow this disproportionate many more people will suffer at a time when there is plenty of suffering going around and much, much more to come.

Do not expect much argument against these high salaries and retirements from the people receiving them. To them they feel like they won the lottery and they hold the ticket it is theirs. They forgot that they didn't get into their line of work thinking about playing the lottery.

They sold out a long time ago and the public officials that rewarded them were rewarded with political support.

And this is where we are and this is where we will stay.
capt crunch

Monterey, CA

#4 Jul 18, 2010
Cities are now run by the professional-managerial class who always point to the high salaries of the private sector to get more money for themselves. The problem is that the millionaires and big business are able to avoid most taxes and get all kinds of tax breaks and exemptions . Look at Monterey with 4 billion per year in ag sales , declining retail tax base and the cities are all going broke .
Nick

Monterey, CA

#5 Jul 18, 2010
The issue is that our local Public Pensions are overly generous. How many friends do you have who can retire at 50-55 and receive a pension equal to 70%-90% of their last years pay, for life?

CHOMP is way over priced. They offer free serice to "those" using the emergency room as a free clinic and then make up for it later on us. Insurances companies seem to agree. Even if you have insurance, and use their service, you may be shocked to find that you will probably still be obligated to pay up to 40% of your bill out of pocket.
Murphy

Monterey, CA

#6 Jul 18, 2010
Well Nick and Amused, how many friends do you have that come to your house when some pathetic loser decides that he's going to shoot you and your family in a drunken rage. How many friends do you have that have to fight people with T.B., AIDS, Hepatitis or a knife in their hand that you didn't see. How many friends do you have that have to pick up a dead baby and try to revive it. how many friends do you have that have to cut your neighbor down from the rope that they just hung themselves with, then tell their family that their father is dead and watch them die a little too. HOW MANY FRIENDS DO YOU HAVE THAT GO TO WORK AND DO THAT!!!!! When you do that for 25 or 30 years you deserve a nice pension. So the next time you hear a noise outside of your house in the middle of the night and you call the police to come check it out because your not willing to take the risk, think about what you say my friend.
Steve Webb

AOL

#7 Jul 18, 2010
If ones curiosity should drive you to view some "public employees"
salaries, check out the salaries / pay scales of those employed by the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency......

Speak of abberations.....

In regards to Jim Hietzmans salary (MCWD), it is my personal belief that Jim Hietzman and the board of directors of MCWD are literally in bed with Cal-Am,(American Water) and Curtis Weeks
(Monterey County Water Resources Agency).Speak of underhanded deal making.....lets see, collusion and conspiracy come to mind.....

As far as I am concerened a bunch of white collar thugs..... who pay their employees quite well to insure the employees keep their mouths shut.....
Amused

United States

#8 Jul 18, 2010
Murphy wrote:
Well Nick and Amused, how many friends do you have that come to your house when some pathetic loser decides that he's going to shoot you and your family in a drunken rage. How many friends do you have that have to fight people with T.B., AIDS, Hepatitis or a knife in their hand that you didn't see. How many friends do you have that have to pick up a dead baby and try to revive it. how many friends do you have that have to cut your neighbor down from the rope that they just hung themselves with, then tell their family that their father is dead and watch them die a little too. HOW MANY FRIENDS DO YOU HAVE THAT GO TO WORK AND DO THAT!!!!! When you do that for 25 or 30 years you deserve a nice pension. So the next time you hear a noise outside of your house in the middle of the night and you call the police to come check it out because your not willing to take the risk, think about what you say my friend.
Well, Murphy, I know for a fact that the Monterey police flat-out failed to remove a homeless man snoring on my neighbor's porch when asked. When asked, the officer said he needed another unit. Went to go do something and when I returned thirty minutes later the policeman was gone and the homeless man was still snoring away. Didn't lodge a complaint since I doubted anything would happen. Have made a complaint about MPD procedures in the past to then-Captain Shelby and he basically laughed me out of his office. Frankly, I have had plenty of friends that have gone to work and seen even worse, having served in the military. Far as the "nice pension" goes, I'm sure plenty of police/fire get six-figure pensions, FAR more than almost ANY military member. You'd have to be wearing at least one star in the military to get a six-figure pension.
DEA

Long Beach, CA

#9 Jul 18, 2010
Do some research, no line level patrol officer makes $200,000 a year even with overtime. How many shootings were there in Salinas last year?
CALPERS wrote:
The bill is going to come due and who will pay? The public. Again. The California Public Employee Retirement System made risky bad investments during the real estate scandal. At the same time public employees were receiving raise after raise for their working years. It is unbelievable that a police officer can make over $200,000 per year with overtime. That upper management in police and fire make roughly $200,000 per year and they can retire at 50 with up to 90% of their working pay.
CalPERS must raise premiums paid by public entities to support these ridiculous retirements, where will they look? The public. They will up fees, try to raise taxes and take money from one program to pay something that provides no value to the public except for the retired employee who no doubt has plans on leaving the community.
It is a sore topic with public employees too. Bring it up and they show a sense of self-entitlement, they earned it, its not their fault they are getting so much, other people are just jealous.
Maybe other people are concerned about the bigger picture and not only themselves. When things grow this disproportionate many more people will suffer at a time when there is plenty of suffering going around and much, much more to come.
Do not expect much argument against these high salaries and retirements from the people receiving them. To them they feel like they won the lottery and they hold the ticket it is theirs. They forgot that they didn't get into their line of work thinking about playing the lottery.
They sold out a long time ago and the public officials that rewarded them were rewarded with political support.
And this is where we are and this is where we will stay.
Amused

United States

#10 Jul 18, 2010
I have to chuckle at a Monterey police officer getting a nice pension for giving kids $50 administrative tickets for skateboarding in the wrong place, or giving a 10-year-old kid a juvenile citation for punching another kid in the nose. Oh, and let's not forget giving someone a traffic ticket for going "too fast for conditions" when they barely tap the bumper of someone in front of them at a traffic light. I also must laugh at the thought of a Monterey fireman getting a hefty pension for giving a smart-alecky answer to a citizen's question, or the Monterey fire marshal I watched casually running a stop sign. I chuckle to think of their faces when they learn those pensions will be reduced since there isn't enough money to pay them.
Nick

Monterey, CA

#11 Jul 18, 2010
Our police and fire people are wonderful members of our community. They do a great job in many instances. That is not the issue.

Up until 2002 they served happily with a 60% pension at age 50. Since then it has been raised to 90%. Our cities can not afford this type of larges any longer. Can they serve for a more reasonable level of compensation?

BTW: If someone, in a drunken rage, breaks into my house the last thing I will do is have time to call and "wait" for the police. I will blow them away with my 12 gauge. Please, Support the second amendment for your own safety. A well armed citizen is a safe citizen.
Murphy

Monterey, CA

#12 Jul 18, 2010
Hey Amused I do agree with you about Military troops receiving a better pensions and pay and would vote for that anytime. But remember, we weren't talking about military troops and that does not diminish what I said. It sounds like you had a bad experience with the Monterey Police Department at some point but that could be an isolated incident. My point was that some men and women who work in public safety deserve a decent salary and pension. Remember, some of the highest paid public safety workers (line staff that is.) work an unbelievable amount of overtime to achieve those high numbers. That's time away from friends, family, volunteering or whatever. If you work your but off you should get paid. Isn't that the American way.. Just saying....
Derek

United States

#13 Jul 18, 2010
CALPERS wrote:
The bill is going to come due and who will pay? The public. Again. The California Public Employee Retirement System made risky bad investments during the real estate scandal. At the same time public employees were receiving raise after raise for their working years. It is unbelievable that a police officer can make over $200,000 per year with overtime. That upper management in police and fire make roughly $200,000 per year and they can retire at 50 with up to 90% of their working pay.
CalPERS must raise premiums paid by public entities to support these ridiculous retirements, where will they look? The public. They will up fees, try to raise taxes and take money from one program to pay something that provides no value to the public except for the retired employee who no doubt has plans on leaving the community.
It is a sore topic with public employees too. Bring it up and they show a sense of self-entitlement, they earned it, its not their fault they are getting so much, other people are just jealous.
Maybe other people are concerned about the bigger picture and not only themselves. When things grow this disproportionate many more people will suffer at a time when there is plenty of suffering going around and much, much more to come.
Do not expect much argument against these high salaries and retirements from the people receiving them. To them they feel like they won the lottery and they hold the ticket it is theirs. They forgot that they didn't get into their line of work thinking about playing the lottery.
They sold out a long time ago and the public officials that rewarded them were rewarded with political support.
And this is where we are and this is where we will stay.
If you stopped being a tool for the corporations you'd wise up and join a union who'd fight for better wages, benefits, working condition and retirement for you.

Only a total FOOL would believe corporations of their political lackeys have your best interest at heart.
bill

Salinas, CA

#14 Jul 18, 2010
put on a badge and do the job for awile then we will see of your reponse is still stupid.
Amused wrote:
<quoted text> Agree with you about the salaries paid to certain public-sector workers. Frankly, from the little I see the Monterey police and fire do (or refuse to do, even when it is their job) believe they are way overpaid. I am underwhelmed by most local area public sector workers; dumb and lazy best describes many of them. Far as CHOMP goes, I hear you. Believe CHOMP is overpriced and their president makes an awful lot. Far as collections go, CHOMP needs to try to get what is owed them. Don't know about the compensation for the president of Stevenson School, but tuition there is more like $30K/year, not hundreds of thousands of dollars. If I could afford it my child would go to Stevenson, too. Lastly, I don't agree with you about pointless foreign wars. Afghanistan was due to 9-11.
bill

Salinas, CA

#15 Jul 18, 2010
you only are entitles to 90 percent of your pay in retireemnt if you out the maximum of 30 years in. according to pers only about 10 percent of ll of its members fire police school techer receive 90 percent of thier pay so shut up
Nick wrote:
The issue is that our local Public Pensions are overly generous. How many friends do you have who can retire at 50-55 and receive a pension equal to 70%-90% of their last years pay, for life?
CHOMP is way over priced. They offer free serice to "those" using the emergency room as a free clinic and then make up for it later on us. Insurances companies seem to agree. Even if you have insurance, and use their service, you may be shocked to find that you will probably still be obligated to pay up to 40% of your bill out of pocket.
bill

Salinas, CA

#16 Jul 18, 2010
your simply not educated about what fireman and police do. go on a few ridealongs and maybe you can save us all your comments
Amused wrote:
I have to chuckle at a Monterey police officer getting a nice pension for giving kids $50 administrative tickets for skateboarding in the wrong place, or giving a 10-year-old kid a juvenile citation for punching another kid in the nose. Oh, and let's not forget giving someone a traffic ticket for going "too fast for conditions" when they barely tap the bumper of someone in front of them at a traffic light. I also must laugh at the thought of a Monterey fireman getting a hefty pension for giving a smart-alecky answer to a citizen's question, or the Monterey fire marshal I watched casually running a stop sign. I chuckle to think of their faces when they learn those pensions will be reduced since there isn't enough money to pay them.
Derek

United States

#17 Jul 18, 2010
Nick wrote:
Our police and fire people are wonderful members of our community. They do a great job in many instances. That is not the issue.
Up until 2002 they served happily with a 60% pension at age 50. Since then it has been raised to 90%. Our cities can not afford this type of larges any longer. Can they serve for a more reasonable level of compensation?
BTW: If someone, in a drunken rage, breaks into my house the last thing I will do is have time to call and "wait" for the police. I will blow them away with my 12 gauge. Please, Support the second amendment for your own safety. A well armed citizen is a safe citizen.
Lawmen and fire protection personnel save lives, they do jobs most people are afraid to do. You could have applied and received the same wages and/or benefits if you had the courage and brains to effectively do their jobs

Stop hating other because they have benefits you do not.

Its no their fault you made bad career choices.
ex driver

Monterey, CA

#19 Jul 18, 2010
Derek wrote:
<quoted text>
If you stopped being a tool for the corporations you'd wise up and join a union who'd fight for better wages, benefits, working condition and retirement for you.
Only a total FOOL would believe corporations of their political lackeys have your best interest at heart.
I was a memebr of the Teamsters Union for years. They stole my pension money and shut down my employer. Unions are leeches.
Erik Soto

San Clemente, CA

#21 Jul 19, 2010
Monterey Citizen wrote:
While I agree, the compensation paid for the Bell management staff and the council is outrageous, so too is the salary and compensation paid to many private sector employees. Steve Packer of CHOMP is laying off hundreds of low-wage workers and sending collection notices to hundreds of residents for bills that our 1.5 to 2 years old, all the while collecting over $460,000.00 a year in salary. The President of Robert Louis Stevenson school has an unbelievable compensation package worth well over one million dollars and has a free house to live in - in Pebble Beach - while charging local residents hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their kids to school - and with the state of our local schools, private education is one of the few ways to be sure your kids get an adequate education. Should we mention the millions paid to defense contractors and their lobbyists while our children are sent to die in pointless foreign wars. Where is the outrage!
Hey, I work for a defense contractor and we are subject to the Truth In Negotiations Act (TINA), 10 U.S.C. 2306a, 41 U.S.C. 254b, which requires transparency regarding our pricing for contracts. Furthermore, our industry is subject to more government oversight than the commercial industry! By the way, we build weather satellite sensors, ground weather radar, air traffic control radars and aircraft navigation aids which is used to ensure public safety! From your point of view, all defense contractors are totally evil and shouldn't exist. Well, we didn't need weather and aircraft stuff a hundreds years ago. Let's take all that money and give it to the teachers because they are important. What the heck, we don't need "no stinking" infrastructure! Public safety,... everyone will join hands and think positive thoughts and the weather will always be sunny and the airplanes will know where to go!
rmjr622

Pacific Grove, CA

#22 Jul 19, 2010
I encourage those that seem so bitter about everything to study up - especially around pensions. A few random headlines and the knee jerk reactions seem to put all government employees in the same box. The vast majority of local government employees who are covered by CALPERS, are under a formula of 2% of the highest years base salary times the number of years of service which becomes available at age 55. Example: Employee with 30 years of service = 60% of highest years earnings payable at age 55. The vast majority of local government employees do not stay in the system anywhere near 30 years.

Statements that almost all government employees are lazy and no good. Please don't make those assumptions without actual knowledge of what goes on inside a system that the citizens designed long ago that prevents government from getting ahead in many cases. It is the system "we" designed long ago that is the weak link. Not the vast majority of employees who don't just show up for a paycheck, but have a vital interest in doing a good job for the taxpayers. I firmly believe when I review and approve monies being spent by the local government for whom I work that it is not "the agency's money". It's the taxpayer's money and I have to ask...Is this what I would spend my money on? May sound corney, but it's my attitude and I try to instill that in fellow workers. Please don't sterotype us. We are not all the same.

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