Head in Sand Approach Leaves Municipal Backside Exposed — Again


How greed and the youthful longevity of Vallejo’s municipal retirees is charting a path towards a second Vallejo bankruptcy.

 

By Robert Schussel, Ph.D

Purpose
To investigate the percentage contribution that Vallejo and other similar sized cities in California contribute to CalPERS (California Public Employee Retirement System) for employee pensions.

Background
The City of Vallejo employee pensions plans are similar to many cities in California. The below table provides a summary of. Compared to the private sector these pension plans are very generous.
Any Vallejo public safety employee hired prior to 1/1/13 receives a 3%@50 pension. For every year of service a public safety employee receives 3% of their final salary upon retirement. For example an employee with 20 years of service could retire at age 50 and receive a yearly pension worth 60% of their final salary (with a cost of living increase added yearly). An employee retiring after a 30 year career would retire with 90% of their salary for life.

 

  hired prior 1/1/13 1/1/13 new hires New to CALPERS
CAMP (Mgt) 2.7@55 2%@62  
IBEW(Miscel) 2.7%55 2%@62  
IAFF(Fire) 3%50 2.7%@57 2%@50
VPOA(Police) 3%@50 2.7%@57  

Source: City of Vallejo HR website

Because Vallejo city employees are allowed to retire at a younger age than most individuals in the private sector the cost of these pensions are significantly higher. For example, the city currently contributes an amount approximately equivalent to 28% of wages earned by employees in CAMP ( Confidential, Administrative, Managerial and Professional Employees Association ) and IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and 48% for public safety employees (IAFF and VPOA).

Due to the high cost of these pensions statewide, a pension reform initiative in the form of a second tier of pensions known as the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (CPEPRA)was authorized and approved at the state level in 2013 —see below

January 1, 2013, as a formula commonly known as 2.5% at age 67 for nonsafety members, one of 3 formulas for safety members, 2% at age 57, 2.5% at age 57, or 2.7% at age 57, and 1.25% at age 67 for new state miscellaneous or industrial members who elect to be in Tier 2.

A database made available by the California Policy Center (CPC) has information available which includes the pension cost/revenue ratio (approximately 7% state average), funded ratio (75% state average) and underfunded rank.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CASBaJTy8ESJ8T2D0wQ7DTZ4TWxOMBshwnWQHK56Dm4/edit#gid=1569513673

 

Caveats
1) Only data for CaLPERS pension plans are used for these analyses. While most cities belong to CaLPERS some cities also have private pensions and “catch up” funds. These plans were excluded to keep the data consistent across cities. Tier 2 plans for new employees were also excluded as in most instances little if any contributions were shown in the CPC database.

2) Only summary data for miscellaneous employees and public safety employees are included. While some cities have separate pension plans for fire and police most cities only have a single plan for public safety. Where two plans existed a weighted average was calculated for percent contribution.

3) Medians instead of averages are used as the median is more appropriate for percentages and small sample sizes.

4) CPC’s rationale for using total revenues rather than General Fund monies for calculations is listed below. Note that Vallejo’s pension contributions primarily come from the General Fund and that restricted funds such as the water fund are excluded.

We used revenue estimates from State Controller Office data posted at http://bythenumbers.sco.ca.gov. We used the total of general and functional revenues reported in the controller’s data set.  This provides a larger denominator and thus lower pension/revenue ratios than one might derive from considering only general fund revenue. Dividing pension costs by general fund revenue is inappropriate because public employees may be paid from special governmental funds or enterprise funds controlled by the municipal government. When evaluating total pension costs, it is best to consider total governmental revenue.

5) Cities with populations between 100,000 and 150,000 were used for all analyses. Comparisons between northern and southern California cities were also made. Northern California cities tend to have more revenues which effects staffing levels and pay.

6) Definition: FUNDED RATIO–The ratio of an annuity or pension’s assets to it liabilities. Funding ratios above 100% will indicate the pension or annuity can cover all obligated payments. Ratios below a 100% will reflect it is unable to make payments or may be in jeopardy of not being about to make payments at a later time.

 

Findings
1) The contribution percent (cities population 100K to 150K) for public safety employees statewide is significantly higher than for miscellaneous employees. Public safety employees pensions cost more as they retire earlier and receive a higher percentage of their final pay for each year of service.

Pension Contributions (1)

 

2) The City of Vallejo has the highest percent pension contribution for miscellaneous employees (in cities of 100,000 to 150,000 IN CALIFORNIA) and is tied with El Monte for the highest pension percent contribution for Public Safety employees in similar sized cities.

pc2

3) The percentage contribution that the City of Vallejo has to make for public safety employees (50.84%) is significantly higher than other similar sized cities in Northern California.

— Cities (100K to 150K) in Northern California pension contribution percentage is slightly higher than
for those in Southern California.

–Miscellaneous employees Northern. CA 22.46% vs Southern. CA 20.02% median value

—Public safety employees Northern. CA 35.72% vs Southern CA 34.33% median value

pc3

4) Vallejo’s pension contribution percentage compared to other cities in Southjern California (cities with 100K to 150K population) is the highest for miscellaneous employees and tied with El Monte for public safety employees.

 

CITY (100K to 150K) Southern California MISCELLANEOUS contrib rate 2015 PUBLIC SAFETY contrib rate
VALLEJO

30.23%

50.8%

El Monte

28.99%

50.8%

RIALTO

27.13%

48.8%

TORRANCE

13.55%

47.7%

SAN BUENAVENTURA

14.33%

44.2%

COSTA MESA

29.78%

43.7%

WEST COVINA

17.09%

43.3%

EL CAJON

30.15%

42.1%

FULLERTON

14.21%

38.5%

ESCONDIDO

26.92%

36.9%

CARLSBAD

25.09%

35.3%

ORANGE

22.57%

33.3%

DOWNEY

24.17%

32.7%

VISALIA

19.98%

32.5%

CLOVIS

19.55%

32.3%

SIMI VALLEY

16.99%

30.8%

MURRIETA

20.12%

30.7%

SANTA MARIA

20.02%

30.2%

BURBANK

17.95%

29.8%

PASADENA

19.22%

29.3%

 

5) Among 459 California municipalities, Vallejo was in 6th place as most underfunded at 64.51%. Other cities (100K to 150K) that had higher levels of underfunding included Roseville (#8), Costa Mesa ((#10), Concord (#15), Temecula (#22) and Santa Clara (#24).

 

CITY (Population100K to 150K) 2013 Funded Ratio Underfunding Rank (1 = Lowest Funded Ratio)
VALLEJO

64.51%

6

ROSEVILLE

64.69%

8

COSTA MESA

64.82%

10

CONCORD

66.04%

15

TEMECULA

66.55%

22

SANTA CLARA

66.90%

24

EL CAJON

67.99%

41

RIALTO

68.25%

45

SAN MATEO

68.31%

47

SAN BUENAVENTURA

69.82%

76

SUNNYVALE

69.83%

77

BERKELEY

69.96%

81

WEST COVINA

70.14%

88

CLOVIS

70.46%

93

ANTIOCH

70.88%

109

TORRANCE

71.35%

127

SIMI VALLEY

71.40%

131

ESCONDIDO

71.78%

142

DOWNEY

71.87%

144

EL MONTE

72.36%

159

ORANGE

72.38%

161

VISALIA

72.63%

169

FULLERTON

72.87%

172

CARLSBAD

73.56%

189

NORWALK

74.01%

208

MURRIETA

74.02%

209

PASADENA

74.21%

213

SANTA MARIA

74.40%

219

FAIRFIELD

74.50%

223

THOUSAND OAKS

74.71%

234

INGLEWOOD

75.80%

260

VICTORVILLE

75.81%

261

RICHMOND

76.69%

296

BURBANK

76.80%

305

DALY CITY

79.38%

387

Median

71.78%

 

 

Comments

Even after Vallejo’s lengthy and expensive bankruptcy, little progress was made in addressing the high cost of Vallejo employee pensions, especially public safety. In fact, Vallejo’s bankruptcy prompted many high salaried public safety employees to retire en masse driving up pension payouts, and reducing the pool of contributions. Despite being a relatively poor city Vallejo now makes a higher percentage employee contribution than any other similar sized city (population 100K to 150K) in California.

No company in the private sector could afford the pension contributions required of Vallejo –50.8% for public safety employees and 30.23% for miscellaneous employees.

An article (April 2015) by Chriss Street at Breibart.com CALPERS — Actuaries Demand 10 Percent Annual Funding Increases lays out the economic necessity for continuing higher pension contributions from California cities:

For years CaLPERS with the union’s approval “[CALPERs]made assumptions has long been that state and local government public employees die on the job more often than taxpayers, and thus public employees were assumed to receive less years of retirement payments”. This assumption allowed for lower contributions. But the reality is that police and fire employees live longer than other public employees. Now CALPERS may be forced to raise pension contributions by 10% a year for the next 5 years. — Chriss Street

 

Final comments

Short term solutions should include modifying current employee benefits and using the savings to offset increasing pension costs. Changes should include:

–Have employees make the maximum matching contribution to their pension plans.

(Vallejo Police Union members do not make the maximum match)

–Change educational incentives and only give them out on a one time basis; when the person graduates or receives a certificate.

–Limit the number of vacation days that can be ‘banked” to 30 days and do not allow sick days to be

cashed out at retirement in the form of a massive payment compiled over an entire career.

–Require all employees to pay 25% of the cost of their health insurance.

–Limit employee vacation time to a maximum of 3 weeks per year. Having the most highly salaried city employees enjoy 5 weeks of annual vacation is a lovely perk, but sadly not in line with economic realities.

Sooner, rather than later the Ostrich of Municipal Denial residing at Vallejo City Hall will have it’s head forcibly pulled from the sand. We can plan for that eventuality now, or act surprised later.

Unless there are major concessions from the employee unions Vallejo will once again enter bankruptcy.


'Head in Sand Approach Leaves Municipal Backside Exposed — Again' have 53 comments

  1. April 26, 2015 @ 4:44 am tramky

    There is nothing here about breaking and terminating ALL government-employee unions, but that is Task #1. Unions have no place in government service. Just end it all.

    Mr. Schussel’s recommendations for handling this dreadful situation are all good and must be done as well. Spiking must be ended. And completely end all retirement payouts for unused sick leave. Not being sick does not qualify you for double compensation. Sick leave is a benefit, a perk, not another name for work. Paying out cash for unused sick leave is double-compensation and should be illegal in government employment.

    Reply

    • April 26, 2015 @ 6:42 am Anon

      Tramky, Pollyanna must be your best friend? Govt. service absolutely needs unions as long as people like Joe (Hollywood) Tanner hold positions that determine the welfare of people that work in govt. service. Bob (we will continue conducting neighborhood meetings without pay) Sampayan get elected. Stephanie (I’ve asked ALCO to move (and circuit lecture partner to Hollywood)) Gomes have influence in contracts. What is the first thing that comes to your mind at the mention of Pearsall and Cloutier (?), clean and sober??? There needs to be a buffer, some protection, as long as such critical thinkers get elected/hired to positions that influence contracts. IMHO

      Reply

    • April 26, 2015 @ 8:16 am Anon

      Tramky, should unused sick leave buy outs be illegal in all employments or just government employment?

      Reply

      • April 26, 2015 @ 12:03 pm tramkh

        What does private employment have to do with government employees? The taxpayers need defending by SOMEONE, but there is NO ONE to defend THEM. Private business have either the owners or shareholders to defend themselves. Couldn’t care less what private employers do. And don’t change the subject–that is a far too-well-known tactic.

        And the Brown Act is a farce–it was set up to permit stealing from taxpayers, in secret. Because the Brown Act protects ‘collective bargaining’ negotiations from ALL public scrutiny, we have the absurd situation wherein 80% of Vallejo’s city expenditure budget is ‘negotiated’ in secret. The public gets to hear what they’re in for only AFTER it is all over and contacts signed. Another gift from the lying idiots in Sacramento.

        Break all government employee unions and eliminate them entirely. Even that won’t fully protect the taxpayers from lying and malfeasance at City Hall, but it eliminates the exorbitant and onerous over-leverage now possessed by the unions.

        Reply

      • silasBarnabe

        April 26, 2015 @ 12:44 pm silasBarnabe

        What private sector employees require 50 percent of their salary to be contributed to their pension fund at the employers expense? None of course, Vallejo will be bankrupt again thanks to public safety unions, unscrupulous elected officials like Davis, Dew, MalGuapo, and Verder Aliga that really believe they have fulfilled their promises to voters by spending big and bringing in little revenue from fast foods.

        Reply

        • April 29, 2015 @ 9:23 am CETERIS PARIBUS

          Math is our friend.

          If an employer pays a private sector worker $100,000 in wages and $10,000 in pension benefits………

          And the city of Vallejo pays a similarly qualified employee doing the same job, $70,000 in wages plus $35,000 benefits, the public-sector worker is actually underpaid, relatively.

          It’s called deferred compensation. And it is real.

          Reply

          • April 29, 2015 @ 10:06 am CETERIS PARIBUS

            Following are actual averages from nationwide data from the years 2009 through 2012 for “professionals”;(doctor, lawyer, MBA, CPA…?)

            data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for the years 2009 through 2012.

            Professionals

            Private sector wages…….$155,797
            State wages………………….$97,685

            Private benefits…………$51,196
            Public benefits………….$73,754*

            Private total compensation..$206,993
            Public total compensation…$171,439

            *public benefits is $39,462 pension contribution plus $34,292 other benefits.

          • April 29, 2015 @ 2:41 pm Failed Logic

            Ceteris Paribus aka All other things being equal
            The article is about City Employees pensions etc. Your comparison is flawed as the Vallejo employee unions have fought to have their members wages be comparable to the Private Sector. What you have listed below is not aligned with the facts. You get an F for logic but an A for effort in trying to mislead .

          • SilasBarnabe

            April 29, 2015 @ 5:15 pm SilasBarnabe

            LOL! Who in Vallejo makes $70,000 with a defined pension plan?
            http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2012/vallejo/

            Name Job title Regular pay Overtime pay Other pay Total
            benefits Total pay &
            benefits
            Salinas, Joel Police Lieutenant
            Vallejo, 2012 $148,739.00 $8,412.00 $158,061.00 $66,994.28 $382,206.28
            Nichelini, Robert W Police Chief
            Vallejo, 2012 $94,156.00 $0.00 $200,368.00 $64,529.68 $359,053.68
            Weaver, Kenneth J Police Captain
            Vallejo, 2012 $171,006.00 $33,588.00 $56,500.00 $53,198.74 $314,292.74
            Meyer, Paige W Fire Chief
            Vallejo, 2012 $165,605.00 $0.00 $91,676.00 $55,046.69 $312,327.69
            Tenorio, Abel Police Lieutenant
            Vallejo, 2012 $158,603.00 $1,167.00 $100,082.00 $49,388.14 $309,240.14
            Boutte, Debora R Human Resources Director
            Vallejo, 2012 $118,399.00 $0.00 $153,910.00 $32,900.83 $305,209.83
            Urrutia, David A Battalion/Div. Chief – 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $151,605.00 $35,105.00 $50,008.00 $56,482.80 $293,200.80
            Eng, Stanley H Police Corporal
            Vallejo, 2012 $122,303.00 $107,339.00 $5,691.00 $53,169.29 $288,502.29
            Lee, Lori A Police Captain
            Vallejo, 2012 $190,131.00 $0.00 $18,018.00 $69,085.25 $277,234.25
            Park, Kenny Police Lieutenant
            Vallejo, 2012 $156,635.00 $59,078.00 $7,213.00 $53,032.87 $275,958.87
            Brooks, Michael Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $142,913.00 $27,167.00 $49,816.00 $53,668.32 $273,564.32
            Keen, Daniel E City Manager
            Vallejo, 2012 $212,884.00 $0.00 $36,577.00 $18,818.40 $268,279.40
            Lionel, Michael A Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $126,337.00 $31,427.00 $48,003.90 $55,898.21 $261,666.11
            Falkenthal, Gregory R Battalion/Div. Chief – 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $156,154.00 $4,101.00 $46,938.00 $51,419.39 $258,612.39
            Herndon, Robert C Police Corporal
            Vallejo, 2012 $122,892.00 $73,247.00 $5,848.00 $55,643.00 $257,630.00
            Sharpe, Mark S Battalion/Div. Chief – 40
            Vallejo, 2012 $120,844.00 $19,906.00 $52,746.00 $61,406.17 $254,902.17
            Martin, Dennis H Firefighter Engineer
            Vallejo, 2012 $111,665.00 $45,285.00 $43,955.00 $51,459.93 $252,364.93
            Dunn, Patrick M Battalion/Div. Chief – 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $143,036.00 $24,441.00 $42,330.00 $41,973.73 $251,780.73
            Harmer, Robert E Police Corporal
            Vallejo, 2012 $105,249.00 $8,446.00 $82,527.00 $54,038.96 $250,260.96
            Sarna, Daniel L Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $119,196.00 $32,072.00 $44,623.00 $53,200.48 $249,091.48
            O’Connell, James A Police Lieutenant
            Vallejo, 2012 $162,975.00 $17,688.00 $15,742.00 $50,995.51 $247,400.51
            Ha, John J Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $126,337.00 $17,995.00 $47,297.00 $54,522.87 $246,151.87
            Quintana, Claudia M City Attorney
            Vallejo, 2012 $161,653.00 $0.00 $54,822.00 $27,938.08 $244,413.08
            Garcia, John A Police Corporal
            Vallejo, 2012 $125,580.00 $55,696.00 $5,808.00 $55,457.72 $242,541.72
            Barry, John E Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $120,844.00 $10,990.00 $52,199.00 $55,804.86 $239,837.86
            Diez, Erick F Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $127,436.00 $13,712.00 $43,494.00 $54,267.65 $238,909.65
            Hamrick, William K Police Sergeant
            Vallejo, 2012 $134,028.00 $39,956.00 $9,729.00 $54,927.18 $238,640.18
            Humphrey-Parris, Michael Firefighter Engineer
            Vallejo, 2012 $120,844.00 $15,609.00 $46,036.00 $54,811.00 $237,300.00
            Ford, Charles G Firefighter Engineer
            Vallejo, 2012 $98,383.00 $48,593.00 $45,067.00 $44,388.98 $236,431.98
            Gordon, Steven L Police Sergeant
            Vallejo, 2012 $137,692.00 $29,491.00 $6,245.00 $60,796.99 $234,224.99
            Fenzl, Matthew E Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $119,196.00 $9,985.00 $52,083.00 $52,391.11 $233,655.11
            Kleinschmidt, David A Public Works Director
            Vallejo, 2012 $165,325.00 $0.00 $20,223.00 $47,471.68 $233,019.68
            Googins, Peter S Firefighter Engineer
            Vallejo, 2012 $108,221.00 $28,175.00 $44,121.00 $50,358.85 $230,875.85
            Whitney, John P Police Lieutenant
            Vallejo, 2012 $131,334.00 $46,852.00 $14,398.00 $37,607.39 $230,191.39
            Campbell, Clifford W Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $110,539.00 $24,549.00 $44,315.00 $50,648.75 $230,051.75
            Culverwell, James M Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $115,089.00 $17,690.00 $44,648.00 $52,118.61 $229,545.61
            Perryman, Curtis B Firefighter Engineer
            Vallejo, 2012 $111,665.00 $37,482.00 $36,365.61 $43,954.60 $229,467.21
            Boersma, Barry Police Corporal
            Vallejo, 2012 $105,052.00 $15,033.00 $52,863.00 $56,224.11 $229,172.11
            Smircich, Steven M Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $120,844.00 $10,526.00 $42,997.00 $54,062.29 $228,429.29
            Everett, George E Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $119,196.00 $7,512.00 $47,208.00 $53,944.66 $227,860.66
            Whittom, Craig A Assistant City Manager
            Vallejo, 2012 $168,620.00 $0.00 $21,904.00 $36,434.48 $226,958.48
            Fields, Sean Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $116,767.00 $10,151.00 $46,647.00 $50,885.41 $224,450.41
            Iacono, Joseph B Police Sergeant
            Vallejo, 2012 $134,632.00 $31,409.00 $6,135.00 $52,128.41 $224,304.41
            Brue, Thomas L Firefighter/56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $97,935.00 $19,243.00 $55,757.00 $49,905.61 $222,840.61
            Taylor, Frederick Fire Captain 56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $119,196.00 $6,718.00 $42,807.00 $53,931.12 $222,652.12
            Coelho, Kevin G Police Sergeant
            Vallejo, 2012 $141,977.00 $29,846.00 $6,399.00 $43,438.08 $221,660.08
            Schroeder, Kelly Police Sergeant
            Vallejo, 2012 $141,977.00 $16,205.00 $7,202.00 $55,760.08 $221,144.08
            Rustice, James P Firefighter Engineer
            Vallejo, 2012 $108,221.00 $21,093.00 $41,497.00 $50,141.21 $220,952.21
            Hickey, Kevin M Firefighter/56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $99,290.00 $31,944.00 $45,701.00 $42,427.67 $219,362.67
            Lane, Jonathan D Firefighter/56.3
            Vallejo, 2012 $103,802.00 $20,638.00 $45,729.00 $48,692.50 $218,861.50

          • April 29, 2015 @ 6:38 pm Ceteris Paribus

            It’s only logical…..

            “What private sector employees require 50 percent of their salary to be contributed to their pension fund at the employers expense?”

            Is insufficient information to determine whether pension costs are excessive. Vallejo unions may have “fought” to increase wages. That’s what unions tend to do. But have they succeeded?
            I haven’t seen specific Vallejo information, but California specific studies say local government worker wages are 7% below the private-sector, on average. ( Allegretto and Keefe, CWED, 2010)

          • April 30, 2015 @ 3:27 am ceteris paribus

            Silasbarnabe,

            It’s a database. Do you think it’s just serendipity that the default sorting method “happens” to be highest to lowest “total wages and benefits”?

            Try resorting by “name” and you’ll find your $70,000.

          • April 30, 2015 @ 6:59 pm Robert Fellner

            Not that it would matter, as using a statewide average to apply to a specific-City’s pay is totally inapplicable and without merit, but its interesting you only cite “professionals” data.

            How many doctors, lawyers, and MBAs do you think are working for Vallejo? I’m counting 4, but I just skimmed. Seems like a low percentage for an agency with 560 employees.

            They have some senior accountants and accounting managers, however. This website lists avg salary for those positions in vallejo as around $65k-68k: http://www.simplyhired.com/salaries-k-senior-accountant-l-vallejo-ca-jobs.html

            Vallejo City employees with that job make $84-$106k, in pay alone.

          • May 1, 2015 @ 4:17 pm Ceteris paribus

            Now you sound like Tough Love. I also didn’t cite “janitors” or “clerks”. That’s what TL calls “omissions of fact”, I suppose.

            I have many times, stated that these lower educated workers make MUCH more than the private sector, when pensions and benefits are added.

            I do not have specific data for Vallejo, I am generalizing, yes. On another site, I quoted a study which did include local governments, showing them to be lower in pay but nearly equal on average in total compensation. You don’t like that one because the data is pre-2010.
            You seem to be somewhat fond of the Biggs study…..at least the one chart which shows a 33% advantage for California state workers. Need I remind you that that study contained data from 2009 to 2012? That was before PEPRA. Formulas have been reduced. Employee contributions have been increased. “33%” is no longer valid……if it ever was.

            There are …h u g e… differences from one local government to another. And huge differences in compensation from one period of time to another.

            But consistently, with few exceptions, for at least the last thirty years, four things have been true:

            1) State and local cash wages are almost always lower than the private sector….across the board.

            2) Adding in pensions and benefits have made the total compensation “roughly equal” ON AVERAGE.

            3) Lower educated government workers almost always earn more in total compensation than similar private sector workers.

            4) The highest educated public workers have always earned much less than the private sector, both in cash wages and total compensation.

            http://www.nirsonline.org/storage/nirs/documents/final_out_of_balance_report_april_2010.pdf

            ………………
            I do realize the human capital method of comparing compensation is….”not perfect?”…but I have no use whatsoever for your “job comparisons”.

            Did you know an executive assistant for the city of Los Angeles makes $193,000 a year?

            If I’m lyin’ I’m dyin’.

          • May 2, 2015 @ 9:43 am Robert Fellner

            The entirety of “Ceteris Paribus” comments can be summed up as follows:

            “The City of Vallejo employees are not overpaid, because a study that compared the AVERAGE pay for public employees ACROSS THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA OR NATIONWIDE says so. ”

            Someone should probably clue him in on how averages work.

            Notwithstanding the fundamental flaws in these studies such as only comparing to firms that have 1000+ people. Well, the City of Vallejo only has roughly 430 full-time employees. Wages at firms with 250 – 500 people paid much less than those with 1000+ for instance.

            There are a litany of other issues with these studies, but even if taken at face value citing a Statewide AVERAGE has no bearing on the specifics of Vallejo.

          • May 2, 2015 @ 12:32 pm Ceteris paribus

            (Almost) everyone makes an occasional micstake. (See what I did there?)

            But.

            Ceteris did not actually say that Vallejo workers are not overpaid.

            I try to avoid that word. It’s semantics thing.

            Ceteris:

            “I do not have specific data for Vallejo, I am generalizing, yes.”

            Ceteris:

            “Lower educated government workers almost always earn more in total compensation than similar private sector workers.”

            Ceteris:

            “The highest educated public workers have always earned much less than the private sector, both in cash wages and total compensation.”

  2. April 26, 2015 @ 9:00 am Robert Fellner

    Not sure if you are already aware, but the average pension for a full-career retiree from Vaelljo is: $87,482.

    http://transparentcalifornia.com/pensions/2013/calpers/employers/

    7 Retirees, including 1 with a pension of $200k, are getting $150k+ pensions for only having worked 33 years or less, which is rather remarkable: http://transparentcalifornia.com/pensions/2013/calpers/?e=CITY%20OF%20VALLEJO

    The $200k pension is a good example: Let’s assume they started working at age 25 and since they have 30 years of service, that means they retired 30 years later, at age 55. Avg life expectancy continues to rise and is currently 82. It is extremely likely this person will be paid more in retirement than the total earnings made in their entire career. Particularly given that their pension starts at 90% of their HIGHEST salary, whereas a good chunk of their career was at a salary much lower than that.

    This is unsustainable, to say the least.

    Reply

    • April 29, 2015 @ 9:10 am Ceteris paribus

      “Unsustainable”

      Is overused and incorrect. With reasonable ROI assumptions and commensurate employer/employee contributions these pensions are completely sustainable. Perhaps more costly than you like, but sustainable nonetheless.

      And, in many cases, the total compensation of salaries plus benefits for public employees is less than that for similar private sector employees.

      Reply

      • April 29, 2015 @ 7:03 pm John_K

        UNSUSTAINABLE = cannot continue without taxpayer bailout, higher taxes, or further reduction in city services, e.g. more potholes and fewer employees to provide needed services

        Reply

      • April 29, 2015 @ 7:59 pm Failed Logic

        Ceteris Paribus
        Which Union(s) are you the apologist for. You cite a study saying government workers in general get 7% less yet that tends not to be the case with most larger cities .
        You ask the question who in the private sector gets a 50% contribution from the employer for a pension. The answer is no one . The reason is that NO company can afford to stay in business paying such high pension costs.

        Give us a break and go back to being a union shill.

        Reply

        • April 30, 2015 @ 3:00 am ceteris paribus

          “that tends not to be the case with most larger cities .”

          That there illustrates the difference between anecdotal and empirical evidence. Economic studies use data from the American Community Survey, partly because it has more detailed geographic data. They use regression analysis. They use logarithms. AND algorithms.

          Unless you got some evidence behind “tends not to be the case”, you lose!!!

          Don’t shoot the messenger.

          I haven’t had a union for over five years now. And when I had one, I wasn’t on their mailing list. I am merely the voice of reason.

          Reply

          • April 30, 2015 @ 5:52 pm Robert

            “In many cases…”

            In addition to not being true – the only 2 California-specific studies find that the average CALIFORNIA public employee makes 33% more than private sector counterpart – it is telling that you resort to defunct, NATIONWIDE studies in response to a specific agency.

            The average City of Vallejo public employees makes substantially more than their private sector counterpart. A nationwide study from 10 years ago, that uses regression analysis to produce estimates on the pay of public employees nationwide has 0 bearing on this fact.

            The American Community Survey has 0 information on the value of a defined benefit pension plan, 0 information on the value of retiree healthcare and 0 information on the value of job security.

            It is telling you would prefer to rely on a study comprised of, at least, 99% NON-VALLEJO employees, with the above omissions, to attempt to deny the reality of the enormous pay premium Vallejo employees receive.

            If you believe that Vallejo employees are not overpaid, you’ve have to actually attempt to prove that, not cite data on public employees on the other side of state (or country.)

        • April 30, 2015 @ 3:04 am ceteris paribus

          You crack me up.

          Reply

          • May 2, 2015 @ 9:18 am Robert Fellner

            You write:

            “I do realize the human capital method of comparing compensation is….”not perfect?”…but I have no use whatsoever for your “job comparisons”.”

            This is extremely revealing. Just an FYI, there are no trained economists who agree with you.

            You think it is more accurate to determine wages based on the degree, gender, and firm size, than the job actually being performed.

            I wonder who can more accurately guess the wages earned by an employee:

            Someone who knows their gender, education-level and size of firm or someone who knows the actual job they do?

            The human capital model is only used because it is impossible to get the level of detail necessary to make the vastly more accurate job comparison if one is doing an aggregate study on a national/state level.

            The human capital model relies, primarily, on education level as it is “the most reliable predictor of earnings available.”

            Guess what an even more reliable predictor of wages is? The wages being offered for the actual job you are working at. That’s a bit incorrect, as we are no longer in the realm of having to guess “aka predict” and we simply know EXACTLY what the wages are for people performing the same or similar job.

            Nobody applies for a job that offers $X and counters, well I should be paid $Y because the average person with my degree and gender in this state makes $Y.

            That is irrelevant to the wages being paid for the SPECIFIC JOB ONE IS APPLYING FOR/DOING.

            The fact you attempt to use these less-accurate, aggregate studies on a specific City comparisons reveals, once again, your intent is to deceive and mislead.

            Or said differently, the fact you rely on estimates based on “predictors” (more accurate than not guesses) of wages, instead of the ACTUAL WAGES paid, reveals you are significantly less interested in the truth than you are in defending excessive levels of public pay.

          • May 2, 2015 @ 4:35 pm CETERIS PARIBUS

            I suppose it depends on what you are trying to determine. If I want to hire a mechanic, I will look at the going rate for mechanics in my area. If I want to compare the difference in pay for a large group of people; i.e. men vs. women, one ethnic group vs another, or

            ……..public vs. private……,

            I will go with these economists.

            “Like most other studies conducted by academic economists, we compare public- and private sector pay using the “human capital model” of wages, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has termed “the dominant theory of wage determination in the field of economics.” The human capital model holds that pay is principally driven by the characteristics of the employee, with residuals due to geographic differences in costs of living and compensating pay differences for occupational characteristics. Regression analysis compares the pay of full-time state government and private-sector workers while controlling for differences in education, experience, and other characteristics that predict earnings. Any difference in earnings after controlling for these characteristics is taken to be driven by the sector in which the employee works. This statistical method has been used by economists for decades to examine pay differences attributable to race, gender, educational attainment, union membership, and other factors.”

            Andrew G. Biggs
            Jason Richwine

            Overpaid or Underpaid? A State-by-State Ranking of Public Employee Compensation

            April 2014
            ……………
            It’s the difference between comparing a single employee and comparing a group.

            My wife was once on a union committee to get comparable compensation for “bookkeeper” in her area for upcoming negotiating. There can be a huge difference in duties and qualifications between the same job title with different employers.

            I guess that could be done for a whole city, not sure how accurate it could possibly be.

          • May 2, 2015 @ 11:29 pm Robert Fellner

            Your reading comprehension is very poor and it appears you have no grasp of the concepts being discussed in the paragraphs you copy and paste from.

            Also, when you post a comment on an article about Vallejo compensation claiming public employees are underpaid, its inferred you are actually making a comment about the topic of the article.

            As is your standard, you rely on misstating my position in your response.

            You offer the following insight:

            “There can be a huge difference in duties and qualifications between the same job title with different employers.”

            Is money fungible too? Sky blue?

            I never once said comparisons are made on job TITLE. I said THE JOB ACTUALLY BEING PERFORMED. Which is the job description, requirements, and/or pre-requisites.

            Ie:
            “The methodology used is known as the “positions approach” in the economics literature. This approach searches for matching job descriptions and then compares the pay between each. …

            While identical or similar job title names served as a starting point, the determination in matching a DWP job title to a corresponding BLS title was made entirely on whether or not the job description and responsibilities reasonably corresponded to each.”

            I again offer the challenge of seeing who can more accurately predict wages, those with the human capital data or those comparing the actual job being performed – JOB DESCRIPTION AND RESPONSIBILITIES.

            You, of course, know your statements are false. If I believed matching by job title only, not job performance, was valid I’d probably have compared Executive Assistants at the DWP to regular Executive Assistants in my study. Yet, you know full well that I stated that is completely inappropriate – given the differing job descriptions of each – since you brought that up to me in a comment on a thread much like this one.

            Yet, you still feel comfortable to make false claims and mischaracterize my statements.

            The Biggs quote needs no response, because it is a restatement of my comments on why human capital is used on a wide-scale and contains precisely 0 comments that address my comments on ACCURACY of specific cases, like the City this thread is about. No trained economist will content that you can more accurately predict wages based on input as compared to output.

            Finding more sophisticated versions of my comments on why the human capital model has been adopted for wide scale, nationwide comparisons has 0 bearing on this point.

            It’s like you are just stabbing in the dark half the time and deliberately lying the other half.

          • May 3, 2015 @ 2:16 pm Ceteris paribus

            Your comments are false.

  3. April 27, 2015 @ 6:35 am anon

    Public safety unions robbed & pillaged in Vallejo. Their greed gives unions a bad name, and will lead to backlash.

    Reply

  4. April 27, 2015 @ 8:32 am tramkhy

    It should NEVER be forgotten or forgiven that it was the so-called ‘public service unions’ that actually went on STRIKE against the taxpayers and residents of Vallejo–the people with guns and badges engaged in the most serious job action against this City in order to further their union demands for more money and greater benefits. And believe this: if strikes by public unions was not made illegal, they would have gone on strike on more recent occasions in furtherance of their demands. And these jokers use direct threats to use their authority on the one hand AGAINST those who argue against those demands, or refuse to perform their jobs (like responding to fires while it is also undestood that firefighters know how to start fires as well as quell them).

    The bankruptcy proceedings of the City did nothing to hinder union demands and, in fact, gave the cops a big RAISE a few months AFTER filing for bankruptcy in Federal court in what is arguably the most outrageous act EVER committed by a City Council in this town. That, too, should NEVER be forgotten or forgiven. If I had been the Federal bankruptcy judge I would have thrown the bankruptcy case out–with prejudice.

    There is little doubt that the City will be filing a second bankruptcy in Federal court–the jokers at City Hall just can’t say NO. It is much more fund ot say YES to union demands, to hire more employees, to spend the taxpayer money with abandon and carelessness. The can is kicked down the road and the people NOW in office won’t have to deal with it THEN–it’ll be up to someone else. That’s the way things work–Intintoli and other previous Mayors presides over the Council when they set up conditions that CAUSED the bankruptcy, but were out of office long before it was filed under the current Mayor’s term of office. Well, it seems that THIS mayor learned that lesson well, and the pattern perpetuates itself. Osby Davis will term out soon, and his days at City Hall will be over with no further responsibility for anything. Nice, isn’t it?

    Reply

    • April 28, 2015 @ 8:30 am anon

      The way the public safety unions operate in Vallejo, we might be better off with old-fashioned Mafia protection. At least the Mafia live in the areas where they provide “protection,” and their claims for payment are straight-forward. Plus, if you promise allegiance, you can go to the Godfather when you need help. Finally, the Mafia know better than to kill the folks and businesses they are protecting — they get the concept that you DON’T kill the golden goose. Vallejo PD just takes & takes.

      Reply

  5. April 27, 2015 @ 1:18 pm Jimmy Genn

    Insanity, is voting in the same type of mouth-piece, non thinking, do not do their homework, for they are being told how to vote , City Council. We get what we vote for, or in most instances, we do not Vote. We have had recent examples of Council Members who have done a great job of protecting the Taxpayer. I submit the Answer to this “Head In The Sand, Insanity” is simple. It is done successfully across America every Election Cycle. Answer: be informed and Vote. Considering our Council’s current Price is around $175,000; yes, give money to independent, intelligent candidates, and work for them. We have seen over and over what mouth pieces do not do. Does it not make you angry that outside Interests, that could care less about Vallejo, comes in, almost every Election and buys it? Vote, contribute, and work for independent candidates; it is that simple to yank out of the Sand anyone, who does not protect , We The People.

    Reply

  6. April 28, 2015 @ 7:50 am drbob

    As I get it, there was a stretch of time when CalPers allowed cities to defer payments for an employee’s pension until that employee actually retired. The city agreed to then pay the contributions plus interest at 7.75%. I believe this policy was changed, probably in 2013. If I am correct in the above, the city is now paying the contribution for each current employee PLUS the deferred payments for current retirees, with interest. This would account for the huge CalPers contribution as a legacy of past Councils. PLEASE post a correction here if I am in the weeds.

    Reply

  7. April 29, 2015 @ 7:27 am John_K

    The main reason for the unfunded liability is that CalPERS made promises it could not keep, and the State laws hold Taxpayers responsible for the bogus promises made by CalPERS. Backed by public employee unions, in 1999, CalPERS lobbied for SB400, which expanded the public employee benefits to unprecedented generosity and made the expansion retroactive. CalPERS said it would be paid for by their clever investing strategies little or no extra payments required by Taxpayers. This turned out to be false. The investment strategies failed, leaving Taxpayers holding the bag. California law protects government pensions, so that taxpayers will be on the hook for any shortfall in pension funding. In essence, the CalPERS position is that government workers should carry zero risk, sharing the bounty when the fund’s investments do well but losing nothing when the investments go south.

    Vallejo’s future depends upon pension reform and affordable employee compensation. For the short term, employees need to make the maximum matching contribution to their pension plans. Educational incentives need to be revised, as well as the vacation and sick leave “banking” and cashouts. Everybody should pay at least 25% of the cost of their health care insurance.

    Links to ponder:

    http://tinyurl.com/oxm5buz — The CalPERS SB400 Propaganda Brochure
    http://tinyurl.com/l4r4rbg — JD Miller’s pension reform letter
    http://tinyurl.com/bggmmg4 — The Pension Fund That Ate California

    Reply

  8. April 29, 2015 @ 8:50 am Ceteris paribus

    “Public safety employees pensions cost more as they retire earlier and receive a higher percentage of their final pay for each year of service.”

    Public safety employee pensions also cost more because they are not usually in Social Security. With 40 years service, a miscellaneous employee could retire with 90% of final pay……plus …….Social Security.

    When comparing the relative cost of pensions between cities, it is of utmost importance to specify whether the employees receive SS in addition to pensions. Cities not in SS almost always have higher pension costs. But not necessarily the highest TOTAL cost.

    Reply

    • April 29, 2015 @ 9:10 am John_K

      Not accurate. Public employees pensions cost more because of the enormous benefit of 3% @ 50 (90% of their pay) with COLAs that put them over 100% 6 years after retirement. Vallejo should not pay into Social Security for ANY employee who has CalPERS. It’s like a double retirement cost to Taxpayers. And YES, we need to know whether or not Vallejo is paying the double retirement cost of Social Security for any city employees. If so, it needs to STOP.

      Reply

    • April 30, 2015 @ 6:10 pm Robert

      Your comments are false.

      The miscellaneous Vallejo employee earns a 2.7% @ 55 pension, not a 2.25%. As such, they would receive 108% of their final, highest salary after 40 years, not 90% as you claim. Shockingly, in addition to this being a higher benefit formula than most California misc employees get, they also get Social Security benefits too; something almost no California public employees get.

      This extremely lucrative retirement package not only makes Vallejo employees better compensated than their private counterparts, they are actually better compensated even as compared to other California public employees. Like State misc employees who get a lower pension benefit formula AND NO SS benefit whatsoever.

      Despite your comments to the contrary, the Vallejo’s pension cost – accounting for SS – is higher than any other California city on a per-capita basis. And it will rise by over 50%, according to CalPERS, in the 5 years.

      Reply

      • May 5, 2015 @ 6:09 pm Anon

        What you say is true re: miscellaneous employees. However, Stephanie, Tony, Joanne, Marc, Disco Queen et al could give a flinging Karp about any of that. They had friends within that employee group rooting them on and supplying any tid bit they could that was detrimental to their target, VFD and Kurt Henke. The door on the barn you are complaining about should have been closed in 2008. But, that would have been rude to those complicit with hoping to “shred” the VFD contract.

        Reply

  9. April 29, 2015 @ 11:56 am Bong Hit

    @ CETERIS PARIBUS

    Math is our friend and follow the trend.

    Here’s one difficulty. Once we establish a fixed cost like retirement benefits on the balance sheet, it remains for the long life of the retiree. As these fixed costs build due to increases in longevity and health care inflation, more and more of your operating revenue is eroded by the escalating fixed costs. It’s not difficult to understand for people that deal with budgets and running businesses.

    The mistake people make commonly is to point the finger of scorn at the workers and say “you’re responsible for this, it’s your fault!” Wrong. This is a failure of leadership and the democrat politicians and managers here in Vallejo and Detroit and Baltimore have spent decades pandering to the masses of voters, handing out favors in exchange for votes. Now the consequences of failed leadership is very evident and very strongly denied.

    Reply

  10. April 29, 2015 @ 5:45 pm John_K

    @ BONG HIT

    I think there are some Key Players we have not mentioned… members of the Vallejo public employee unions. If politicians and managers here in Vallejo have been at fault for our budgetary disaster, then think about who funded the campaigns that helped get them elected. In particular, the fire union (IAFF 1186), the police union (VPOA), and the miscellaneous & maintenance workers union (IBEW).

    For many years the union members have provided enough money to fund the campaigns for politicians who would represent their interests on Vallejo City Council. Union members campaigned door to door and manned the phone banks. Many of them live in other towns yet they continue to influence our politics and local elections.

    Many of those Council members who wore the union label voted in favor of employee compensation and contracts that turned out to be unaffordable, bringing us to the consequences of failed leadership.

    Where do we go from here? What can we do to recover from this disaster?

    Reply

    • April 30, 2015 @ 5:28 am Anon

      Politicians: Are you referring to council persons Joanne (I am sorry I voted for it) Schively and/or Anthony ( it a win win contract) Pearsall? Who funded them?

      Reply

      • April 30, 2015 @ 9:20 am John_K

        Naw… let’s refer to union-funded council members who voted for employee raises during bankruptcy, and the ones who made other stupid choices that were bad for citizens and taxpayers but very good for their union supporters… persons like Michael Wilson, Erin Hannigan, Hermie (“I don’t have enough information”) Sunga, Tom Bartee (aka “Bart-henke”)…

        Reply

        • April 30, 2015 @ 11:45 am Anon

          You mean the ones the followed the advice of Joe Tanner (CM), Mark Levison (city bk attorney) and the disco king City treasurer at-that-time. The trio supported by Gomes, Brown, Schively, VIB, JD Miller, Bob Schussle etc, etc, etc…..

          Reply

          • Firebug

            April 30, 2015 @ 1:53 pm Firebug

            @ANON

            Linky please of evidence that all you claim supported the raises?

    • April 30, 2015 @ 7:54 am Bong Hit

      @John K

      “Where do we go from here? What can we do to recover from this disaster?”

      One option available to each and everyone of us that care and have a fully functioning brain inside our heads is to stop voting for democrats. democrats are in complete fail mode from the White House all the way down to the local level. It is democrats that back more welfare housing for Vallejo despite all the evidence that Vallejo is over saturated with poor people now.

      It takes a special kind of stupid to think that democrats offer a way forward for this country but perhaps that is the root of the problem. The masses of people here in this country are not taking advantage of free public education and are simply existing without any critical thinking abilities.

      Reply

  11. April 30, 2015 @ 9:14 am John_K

    @ Bong HIt

    That option is not available, Comrade. It simply ain’t gonna work here in Vallejo… take a look around you. Every fookin’ one of the local politicians are democrats. Good ones, idiots, bad ones, all of the above. Can’t get elected without “party” support, and very hard to get elected without city employee union support.

    Is it likely that the city employee unions or their funded council members will support the needed concessions that include employees making the maximum matching contribution to their pension plans? Revision of educational incentives, as well as the vacation and sick leave “banking” and cashouts? Will they go along with the idea of everybody paying at least 25% of the cost of their health care insurance? Doubtful.

    So… once again…

    Where do we go from here? What can we do to recover from this disaster?

    Reply

  12. April 30, 2015 @ 2:53 pm Vallejo optimist

    Thomas, a new Vallejo resident, gardener, entrepreneur meets PB volunteers at our lovely community gardens located around Vallejo:VallejoPeoples/StVinnies/Emmanuel/Kyles. Now, he is a great BUDGET DELEGATE now!

    Cristina helped distribute flyers, talk to people at PB booths, farmer’s markets and Assemblies 2013-14. We are thrilled she’s working 4 PB now as an Intern!

    Jason helped at SVCGarden and met Jim, another volunteer/Landscape Contractor. Soon, he interviewed & landed a JOB in Landscaping! PB works..people help PB and PB seems to open doors for the patient, dedicated, peace loving people who all want a BETTER VALLEJO.

    Reply

  13. May 1, 2015 @ 7:08 am Bong Hit

    @ John

    Perhaps I didn’t make clear my point. I’m not talking about voting in local Vallejo elections. democrats have a lock around here and that perhaps will never change. Voting at the state and federal level is the key. The little democrats that scurry around the small towns, destroying budgets and school systems get their power from the democrat politicians higher up the food chain. As voting democrats with properly functioning brains begin to assemble the current cultural, social and economic puzzle pieces, the picture that will emerge for them is a great big shinny FAIL for democrat management of our public institutions. The hopeful news is 2016 is going to be an epic azz kicking for these charlatans.

    Reply

  14. May 1, 2015 @ 8:04 am Goat

    @Bong Hit — I don’t think it’s a matter of Democrats vs non-Democrats here in Vallejo. John K is right — Vallejo leaders are almost all Democrats — the good ones, bad ones, the idiots and the brilliant.

    I think the issue is more that the Democratic party has become beholden to and co-opted by heavy-handed unions. This is especially true in Vallejo. Thankfully, some folks are working to counter that influence form the ground up, by becoming members in the Southern Solano Democratic Club (or whatever it’s official name is).

    It used to be that unions stood for the common people — but Vallejo’s public safety unions are virtually 2%-ers, at least in comparison to the average and median wage in Vallejo. You simply can’t have police and fire living like kings, while the town that employs them struggles to make ends meet. That’s feudal, not big-D or little -d democratic.

    Nation-wide, it’s only something like 20% of workers who are represented by a union. Yet in the “public service” sector, I think that percentage is closer to 70%. In essence, unions today are mostly about protecting public sector benefits. In the meantime, a lot of people don’t even have full-time jobs and livable wages, let alone benefits — and pensions, what a joke. They basically do not exist in the private sector. “401k savings accounts” are also a joke. Something like 75% of all 401ks are underfunded. With baby boomers hitting their 60s, the face of the elderly is about to change. Many people will not be able to retire, ever. Others will become poor.

    Reply

    • May 1, 2015 @ 2:56 pm wharf rat

      Goat raises some very relevant points , I implore folks to research the definition of ”UNION” then transpose it over existing entities . Expanded thinkers will then realise that the term is largely non contextual as it is rhetorical or just mere jargon when applied to modern LABOUR issues .
      Historically ”organized labour” was a struggle for human rights, well grounded in the ethos of LIBERTY a major cornerstone of our Constitution and many other Revolutions ..

      Many so called UNIONS do not even retain the philosophical concept of the labour movement and make no attempt to associate with said philosophy , rather they identify themselves as ”associations” , in reality they are de-facto Corporations replete with a corporate management structure , absent of the true meaning of a UNION , rather they often are a morphed ”special interest group” motivated by personal gain and political power , such as serves their mandate .

      Civil service was once a foundational extention of the workers rights movement that promoted an even playing field , with equity for those who chose to ”SERVE” it was never a ”get rich quick scheme” rather it was a very secure long term safety net , that contributed to the ”circular economy” and ensured the supply of essential services to communities . It is time to re-invent / return to Civil service models that can be sustained in this economy , many will rail against this as ”anti Labour” yet the lines for applications will be long and filled with refugees of our FEUDAL new economy .

      From a global perspective Vallejo is a wealthy community , our problem is one of DISTRIBUTION our economy eclipses those of many small Countries , the constant cry of ”poor mouth” is getting stale , people from the third world understand this very well , being surrounded by our incredible wealth .

      Reply

  15. May 1, 2015 @ 8:44 am John_K

    @ Bong

    Your point was perfectly clear, but at best, your point is meaningless. At worst, it’s a red herring, detracting attention from the issue at hand, which is….

    “Even after Vallejo’s lengthy and expensive bankruptcy, little progress was made in addressing the high cost of Vallejo employee pensions, especially public safety. In fact, Vallejo’s bankruptcy prompted many high salaried public safety employees to retire en masse driving up pension payouts, and reducing the pool of contributions. Despite being a relatively poor city Vallejo now makes a higher percentage employee contribution than any other similar sized city (population 100K to 150K) in California…. No company in the private sector could afford the pension contributions required of Vallejo –50.8% for public safety employees and 30.23% for miscellaneous employees.”

    http://tinyurl.com/ob8k2nm

    Of course we study issues and vote in state and fed elections, but this topic is not about state or federal budgetary disasters. It is specifically geared to VALLEJO. The only policy changes that will make any difference with respect to our local Vallejo City employee compensations are policy changes that will be approved and enacted by LOCAL politicians and Vallejo Employees… forget about state or fed.

    Reply

    • May 1, 2015 @ 10:26 am Ben

      The comments seem to forget that there is a process involved in getting to the point that is clearly needed. That process is called bargaining in good faith as part of the union-labor process, i.e. collective bargaining. While the city might be able to ultimately get to the point where it needs to be, collective bargaining is required by the laws of the State of California. Of course, if the city simply continues to hold the line on these benefits, as has been done now for 3 years, the same result can be reached in that manner as can be reached through a negotiated and union member voted upon agreement. Increases in other areas, plus older benefit entitled employees retiring have combined to reduce where Vallejo is compared to surrounding cities. That approach will work for a while. Eventually market forces will push the city into the position where it can no longer do as it has done. At the moment employees know this is still a relatively good deal. Without being able to obtain a lateral transfer to a more generous jurisdiction most are willing to stay for now. Recruitment is not a problem for now. Positions are getting filled in normal time. Need for more services you say? Ah yes, that is another problem, quite different. But without money coming in, it is near impossible to send it back out. Time will tell what we do next.

      Reply

  16. May 1, 2015 @ 4:24 pm Bong Hit

    Good luck men trying to “fix” Vallejo while ignoring the democrats in state and federal office. Union dues are funneled directly to democrat election committees all across the country. Where are you going to find allies in your quest to reduce this funding stream? Vallejo has a most curious political dynamic, democrats complaining about democrat excesses. You made your bed, now sleep in it.

    Reply

  17. May 2, 2015 @ 10:15 pm wharfrattituis

    Common to this thread seems to be the economic morass of our City Administration and certain Actors , a clear case of “mutatis mutandis”.
    or the” black hole of Municipal malfeasance”

    Reply

  18. May 3, 2015 @ 11:16 am Anon

    Bob says: “Because Vallejo city employees are allowed to retire at a younger age than most individuals in the private sector ….”

    There is no other job in the private sector that is harder to perform at 40, 50 and 60. The military (I know, not pvt. sector) might be used as a comparable physical challenge but then again they have the opportunity to retire after 20 years at age 38 and draw full benefits. We can’t all work in an air conditioned office pushing pencils for 30-40 years like a CFO or accountant. Retiring in your 50’s is ‘ok’ especially if your body is a wreck.

    Reply


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