Municipal pensions: solvent or on the ropes?
The Wall Street collapse that buried many municipal pension funds could mean the end of the cherished "defined benefit" plan for many, but not without a fight from employee unions.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Connecticut Post.
#1 Jul 15, 2012
IF clown boy keeps handing pensions out to his friends the plan will surely be broke soon.
#2 Jul 15, 2012
The towns that are in trouble with their pension funds created the problem by not properly funding the pension funds and taking money from them for reasons other than pensions. Moving to defined contribution plans is all a smoke screen and does nothing to fix the unfunded liability. The politicians need to be held responsible for their actions and stop blaming everyone else for their shortfalls.
The funds are not in trouble because of unions. If that was the case why are there pension funds that are or near 100% funded and have union employees? It is the actions of the town government that is at fault and the focus needs to be on them and their actions to make sure they dont continue to allow the problem to grow.
#3 Jul 15, 2012
Sick of hearing the town gripe about what they are allowing to happen. Stop the crzy OT handed out like candy or admit that HR is totally lost and inept. Just admit it they have no clue what they are doing
#4 Jul 15, 2012
I have been preaching this for the past several years. I became frustrated because clowns like jezebel and others are friends with certain cops/fireman and pick and choose when pensions are closing in on abuse.
The facts are this..... Yes, certin towns are solvent and their pension funds are good for YEARS to come. Our Town, Stratford, IS NOT.
Throw the blame where you want, union employees abused their benefits, the Town not funding the fund properly, or even the Town pulling money out of the fund( which has been suggested by ceratin people). The bottom line is the pension fund is NOT solvent and we, the taxpayers CANNOT pay this forever.
and don't think that the Town is going to start throwing EXTRA money in this fund to try and catch up. It won't because they need every penny now to keep this thing going.
So what to do? Downsize and penny pinch at EVERY CORNER. It is the ONLY solution right now. Stop overtime everywhere you can. Obviously we need police and fire and shouldn't be looking to layoff any people.
POLICE>>>>Cut the police in our school system, bring one or two back and put them in patrol vehicle's which would CUT down on overtime needed to fill cars when people call out sick, take vacations, etc.... Bring people back from outside TASK FORCE's. These people get overtime EVERY WEEK that is building up their pensions. Yes the FBI , STATE POLICE , do provide a stipend to the town which covers their overtime for the week but it DOES NOT take into account that these employees are building their pensions higher and higher EVERY WEEK they are there. Make employees go to training while they are working. I believe they have a Captain in charge of training division there and he/she should be focused on save LARGE amounts of money.
FIRE>>>>>> >> Disreagrd the union contract on minimum manning and the automatic overtime they are getting. pretty simple here.
Offer ZERO percent raises to ALL Town employee's over the next two years. Settle for NOTHING less then that. If they won't accept it take it to arbitration. The unions will NOT win at arbitration and they know it. The town MUST be tough on this.
and i eealize employees might read this and get upset but I personally do not want to see anyone lose their jobs and do not want to see people not get their pensions in the future. So in order to do this concessions must be made now. And when I say concessions all I mean is cut overtime, and zero percent raises.
#5 Jul 16, 2012
And the employee's on the job should look at places like Scranton Penn and places in Cali where theeir contracts basically become null and void. Then what? Good luck!
#6 Jul 18, 2012
Once again misinformed and offering ideas that will not solve the problems and only cause larger problems.
Bringing the officers back from task forces will only lead to higher crime rates in Stratford and surrounding towns. These task forces have a large impact on major crimes and if they no longer exist it will affect everyones safety and well being. It falls under "You dont know what you've got til its gone" Get rid of the task forces and you will see a drastic increase in crime. Then you'll be complaining about that.
Removing minimum manning clauses will just ensures that an inadequate amount of people will show up when you have an emergency. The way to reduce overtime is to properly staff departments. As suggested above, you should focus on HR and why promotional exams are not completed on time, promotions are incorrectly made, we have an active hiring list but have vacancies in both departments??? Fix these problems, properly fill vacancies and promotions, and there would be no overtime. Dont blame those that are working and putting themselves at risk to protect your safety. Blame those that sit behind a desk all day, safe and sound, and cant make the right decisions or follow the contracts that are spelled out in front of them.
Both the PD and Fire Dept run well below the national standard and the national average for staffing. Eliminating minimum manning will have a large effect on public safety while barely changing the tax payers bill. The PD and Fire Dept are a small percentage of the resident's tax bill and making these types of changes will minimally impact resident's tax bill.
If Stratford thought they could prevail in arbitration they would but the administration is well aware that PD and Fire are staffed low and not making the money that alot of other departments make. When this is all brought to light in arbitration the administration knows they will not prevail, as would anyone else that educates themselves on the subject.
Instead of listening to rhetoric and misleading information, research the real reasons and correct them. This will solve your problems.
To compare Stratford to Scranton or Cali is comparing apples to oranges. Scranton lost the vast majority of its population and industry and is in far worse shape than Stratford is or ever will be. The town of Stratford isnt broke or even close to it. It is a shell game played by the politicians to raise taxes, blame the workers, while securing money for pet projects and to feed to their attorney friends through the Town Attorney office.
The blame is typically put on the 500 or so town employees while the handful of attorneys working for the Town take a much greater percentage of money from the budget than any other employees. The attorney budget have increased more than 10 times what it was just a few years ago, but few people see or look at that.
#7 Jul 18, 2012
I agree with some of your post, however my concern is NOT with the surrounding crime rates in surrounding towns. People getting AUTOMATIC overtime just to participate in a task force that focuses on cases that are 95% OUT of Stratford is plain and simple STUPID. You cannot leave people in there for years....... didn't they just have a problem because of leaving someone in a task force too long? Stratford cops , themselves , were complaining about leaving someone in any unit too long.
Yes, the town attorney system is a joke , Harkins stated he was going to tackle it but has made it even worse. No excuse!
But you are foolish to think we can continue to pay these pensions as is. And in case you haven't noticed Stratford has lost industry. and lot's of it at that! The Town has messed up the pension fund, no doubt about it. New employees in the future will not be paying into the fund. Who is going to fund it? The Town? good luck with that
we need to lower the future pensions,
#8 Jul 18, 2012
Stratford has lost industry but is no where near Scranton or Cali municipalities.
I agree the pensions cannot be sustained as is and the new supposed plans of the current administration is only going to cause the problem to grow not be corrected.
The way to correct them though is not to get rid of task force members or to reduce minimum manning. That will only hurt the taxpayers more and as I said you will see little impact on tax bills.
Task forces help keep crime down in municipalities, not just large ones either, and have an impact that would be impossible for individual local PD's to achieve. The crime rates of surrounding towns directly affect Stratford. Crime does not know borders and if surrounding communities crime rates increase it will surely spill into Stratford. That is the reason these task forces exist. As far as length of time someone serves on the task force I do agree that is debatable.
Minimum manning ensures that there is a set number of people on duty and allows department heads to develop policies and procedures considering these numbers. If the minimum is removed it will be a crap shoot everytime someone has an emergency. As I said the PD and FD already operate well below the national standard and average for staffing and also well below every other municipality of similar size in the State of CT.
I'm all for fixing problems but not at the expense of taxpayer safety, with smoke and mirrors, or when taxpayers are lead to believe changes will have a large impact on their taxes. In fact it would be miniscule at best and any money saved would surely be diverted to other projects or other budgets resulting in the possibility of the taxpayers seeing no savings at all yet having their safety placed in further jeopardy.
#9 Jul 18, 2012
Milford is roughly the same size and same amount of crime. Look up the stats , they do it with less guys on the road then Startford.
When Bridgeport had 60 murders how many did Startford have? exactly, there is a border and a proactive police department cures alot of evil.
What about the WASTE of having all these people ( cops) in our schools? And then what do ou see ? Guys( cops) driving around paradise green getting lunch since they are not in school they just screw around all summer? It's a total waste of taxpayers money.
Waste? want more? How about the elite squad od officer's we have on our SWAT team?
Dedicated right? Just maybe they are SO dedicated because the taxpayers are letting them get 15 hours of overtime EVERY month ( also to build their pensions). Take away their overtime and I guarentee they won't be so dedicated. How about doig some of the training during their so called " work " hours.
I realize that people are there to make money but abuses are abuses and people in this town are going to wake up AS THESE ABUSES WILL BE EXPOSED.
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