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Some of Lodi’s employees will pay part of pension costs starting in July

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Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:51 am, Thu May 5, 2011.

Two Lodi bargaining groups made up of top city officials will be the first employees to pay the entire employee contribution portion of their pension costs.

Executive managers and employees appointed by the council, including the city manager, city attorney and city clerk, agreed to pay 7 percent of their pension costs, which is the maximum allowed by the state. They will begin paying at the start of the fiscal year, July 1.

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22 comments:

  • Doug Chaney posted at 12:07 am on Sat, May 7, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    When checking the pay level of city employees on the city website maybe 3 months ago, it seems that council and upper management were getting about $13,000-$15,000 for healthcare. I don't know if they can take the cash and buy something less expensive or just bank the money if they already have a plan of their own or if covered by their spouses plan, like, Ms. Hitchcock did as she had a premium plan already paid by LUSD. This policy is nothing but double dipping and should be stopped immediately. The economy doesn't warrant luxurious waste and corporate welfare such as this.

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 12:01 am on Sat, May 7, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    and why no drug testing, criminal background checks and fingerprinting, preferably FBI? Nor seperate vouchers for each and every expenditure and credit card transaction for each council talking head? Why are volunteers compensated so well with any accountability? Only vouchers over $5,000 are scrutinized at cc meetings? What about those under $5,000, manyby department heads, council and management for things such as lavish meals,spa treatments, overnight stays at high priced establishments like Wine$Roses and Rosewood, some maybe even for personal and not business use, that are vever postedin public places in view of the general public? C,mon, council and city biggies with credit cards and expense accounts, let's see those vouchers, each and every one of them and where they were tendered at and to whom? Or post the information where they can be found in public records? If you're anywhere serious about saving money, stand up and set an example. Is it true your personal wealth increases greatly during your long tenures on council? If so, why?

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:46 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Mr. Bitz, those three sad sack oldtimers on council,Johnson, Hansen and Katzakian always vote together on the 3 amigos system and control each and every issue and ordinance inLodi with their three pathetic controlling votes. Until a couple of them croak, nothing will change as long as ignorant Lo9dians keep voting for these crooks.

     
  • roy bitz posted at 9:19 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 500

    Our city council members are "elected volunteers".
    As volunteers they are not accountable. No evaluations--no quotas--no accountability.
    Still, they receive "Cadillac" healthcare and retirement benefits just as full time employees.
    Part time employees do not get health care and retirement benefits.
    Why the heck should we have to pay these benefits to "part time" elected volunteers?

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:07 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    I can feel the love Jim... your last post definitely will add to the “good will” factor. Im sure that both sides can post opinions by biased reporters that support their position...It is irrelevant and not germane to the issue...Cuts have to come... PERS and STRS is just one part of the problem... the other is tax revenue shrinking faster than every before as well as many other variables.
    I can see you wish to be part of the problem instead of the solution... too bad.

     
  • Jim Siemers posted at 6:33 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Jim Siemers Posts: 9

    While California continues to reel from the recession caused by Wall Street and big banks, some politicians and special interest groups are blaming teachers, firefighters, peace officers, and other public employees for the state’s budget woes.

    But as Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton notes: “Let’s be clear: State employee pensions are not to blame for Sacramento’s budget deficite. Not by any math.”

    Yet as CEO salaries soar, there are new efforts underway to undermine the retirement security of millions of middle class Californians, financed by out-of-state interests and right-wing zealots.

    Here’s some information on these scapegoaters and the political motivation behind their attempts to attack public employees.
    The average CalPERS pension is about $25,000 per year. Half of CalPERS retirees receive pensions of $18,000 per year or less.

    Only 2% of Cal PERS retirees and 2.2% of CalSTRS retirees have pensions above $100,000.
    The entire costs of pensions for state workers in 2011 will be $3.5 billion, barely 4% out of an $85 billion budget.
    California pays less as a percentage of payroll for pensions today than it did in 1980.
    Since the financial crisis, CalPERS has earned back more than $70 billion.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:35 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Jim... please forgive me.. After reviewing, I can see that you felt the grass was very green on your side... previously I had the impression that you were negative and felt it was all so unfair... obviously, I was wrong.

    Jim stated...#1.Everyone seems to forget that city employees gave up pay increases years ago so that the city would pay their contribution to the retirement system.

    Then Jim stated...#2The last time management voluntary gave up something, they were compensated. Remember when they gave up a city vehicle to drive? Instead they got a vehicle allowance. That gave them extra income, and also increased their retirement. Makes you wonder if the same thing is happening!

    Then Jim stated #3...We have turned into a society where everyone wants our government to provide for all our wants but surely we shouldn’t have to compensate the employees that make this happen. Get real

    Then Jim stated #4 ...If there is so much concern about city economy, why are the sacred cows still being supported

    Then Jim stated... #5...But, you are suggesting that once they have spent their lives providing the service the citizens request, then we can just throw them away.

     
  • Jim Siemers posted at 3:16 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Jim Siemers Posts: 9

    Never said the grass wasn't green here. Never said the compensation wasn't fair. However a 50% reduction, as suggested, would not be.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:36 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405


    Jim... my contention is that the city employee point of view should be one of pride in doing a great job... and that they are compensated fairly compared to many walks of life... I have been around so many employees that are bitter as they perceive they are treated unfairly. Employees of the city are not there to get rich and deserve respect for the job they do... If one sees life greener on the other side... and resents that perception... its sad to see... I was trying to encourage you to see that the grass is plenty green right where you are and many people would be envious to have what you have.


    Roy.. I agree with you completely... They are not leading by example and are dead wrong in accepting health care as you described... very selfish of them... what is their explanation?

     
  • Jim Siemers posted at 1:10 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Jim Siemers Posts: 9

    Sorry about the sniveling Darrell. Was just trying to present the city employees point of view. Forgot who I was talking to.

     
  • roy bitz posted at 12:08 pm on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 500

    The time is right for our city council--our "part-time" elected volunteers to lead the way regarding concessions. I believe it is wrong for the council to receive " Cadillac" healthcare insurance and pension benefits because-- they are part timers.
    I attended a council meeting where three council gentlemen voted to cut the hours of a loyal city employee in order to save money. She lost her city paid healthcare and other city paid benefits because she is now part time.
    Why aren't part time volunteers be held to the same standard as part time employees?
    Mr.Mayor?
    Anyone?

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 11:57 am on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1399

    For most of this country's history, civil service jobs paid less then those in the private sector. The way public employees were able to establish equality was to organize which led to unionization. My personal opinion is that unions were needed to establish parity and to maintain parity and that union members generally are on an equal footing with those in the private sector. Also, given the opportunity, most would join unions if given the chance. Unions lobby for and secure higher wages and better benefits than those not in a union. This applies to non-union employees in the private sector. Union membership is not declining because people don't want to be in unions, employers have been able to decertify or prevent union incursion.

    These principles do not apply to upper management.

    .....to be continued.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 10:19 am on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Mike expresses well the value and contribution public employees make in our community... I think public employees in general are very good people who are doing a good job and should be praised...
    but that is not the issue …

    The issue is that unions/ management by nature have an adversarial relationship and create hard feelings and bitterness between management, executives and rank and file... unfortunately, just like a bad marriage … when 2 sides have anger towards each other, sometimes clear thinking is not generated.

    I think in this economic climate, sacrifices should be seen as a good thing to do even if it is uncomfortable and seems unfair... and comparing what is fair and just many times results in bitterness which results in no cooperation to do what is right.... what is right is to do with less and still keep a positive outlook in life and appreciate all the good things we have. Do not worry about others doing the right thing... worry about yourself so you can sleep at night.

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 9:10 am on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1399

    Public employees (rank and file) don't get bonuses for holidays like Christmas.
    Most have limited opportunities for overtime (unless it's the fire department, which I think we all approve) unless their the police who routinely rake in huge amounts of OT to pay for their new boats, jet-skis, motorcyles, or pickup trucks.

    Most public employees are paid on a scale that is determined during negotiations between their union and the public entity. They don't get an increase until they reach a point on the scale such as another year of employment or additional education.

    Many public employees are "on call" meaning they may have to come in anytime of the day or night should the need arise. Someone must always be available. Think of the big storms that occur on Christmas or drain lines that back up because homeowners didn't get their leaves out of the gutter. Or the sewer line that backs up at 12:15AM

    Many public employees save an additional amount over what is already deducted from their checks into a separate account. Generally, public employees pay a set percentage of their gross pay for retirement and the entity that employs them contributes an equal amount.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:48 am on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Ray Crow posted at 8:24 am... The city just promoted 3 firemen last week to leadership positions, are you telling us that the Asst. Fire Chief is incompetent to handle the department until we hire new?

    I agree with you 100%... that all sides have to think outside the box and consider alternative approaches and not do business as usual...considering this economy... the example you gave is an excellent one and the city top tier should lead by example... which they did to an extent when the executive managers and employees appointed by the council, including the city manager, city attorney and city clerk, agreed to pay 7 percent of their pension costs, which is the maximum allowed by the state... so that was a positive direction...
    The main point I was addressing is that we should not be bogged down in comparing who gets what as much as fixing the problem... if we look at ourselves first... and examine ways to make changes in our life so we can do with less... then things should work out... and we can walk around feeling fortunate...
    I have this attitude because I spent so much time in India and Thailand where I saw hard working people get paid 10 dollars a day, no benefits or retirement... and they were generally content with life... If they can do that, I think we should be smart enough to do with a little less and still be happy with life since what we have is abundant compared to many others.

     
  • Ray Crow posted at 8:24 am on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Ray Crow Posts: 2

    I will agree that something must be done about public employee pensions and health care costs, Darrell you are correct Lodi does not have the money in the General Fund to continue spending the way we have in the past. With that, I am shocked by all 5 city council persons and the city manager for approving the contract for the interim Fire Chief. Are you kidding me, $7,200 every 2 weeks, or $14,400 per month. The city just promoted 3 firemen last week to leadership positions, are you telling us that the Asst. Fire Chief is incompetent to handle the department until we hire new? If that's the way the city wants to waste our money, good luck asking the citizens to accept anymore rate increases because our city leaders are not intelligent enough to stop wasting our money.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:29 am on Fri, May 6, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Jim Stated...But, you are suggesting that once they have spent their lives providing the service the citizens request, then we can just throw them away. Also ...If there is so much concern about city economy, why are the sacred cows still being supported

    Jim... you live a sheltered life.. one in which your concerns seem or appear to be significant to you... The salary, benefit and retirement structure is inflated and dramatically better than what private sector jobs hold... Benefits are 70 % and salary 30% less in comparable work in private sector... If you work for most businesses in Lodi, employees get health care for themselves and zero for their family... It costs tax payers of Lodi over $1,000 per month to pay for dependent health care... which you do not pay tax on... For you to say that these changes indicate that the city is just throwing them (employees) away indicates how far out of reality your perception is... The city has been very generous and has provided a very comfortable lifestyle for employees... Even if cuts are made... its still luxurious compared to other walks of life... I said it was sniveling because the proposed cuts are microscopic and that you and others should be showing appreciation and gratitude … instead... you are more concerned with what others have instead of seeing the good fortune that you have been blessed with. I do agree that scared cows should be addressed and deal with... but please stop sniveling and be grateful for what you do have.

     
  • Jim Siemers posted at 11:21 pm on Thu, May 5, 2011.

    Jim Siemers Posts: 9

    So Darrell you say I'm sniveling over silly minor points and positions. That perhaps we should reduce pay by 25% and Pensions by 50%. Interesting point of view. Is that for just city employees who have given their entire work life to the citizens of Lodi, or are all city residents included. When city employee pensions are mentioned as being too much, the reference is to those who are at the top of the scale: Management and public safety.

    If there is so much concern about city economy, why are the sacred cows still being supported. Isn't it the job of government to provide those services that the individual citizen cannot provide himself. Those would be in the area of Public Safety (Police and Fire), water, sewer, streets, etc. In these hard times could we not shut down the nice to have, but not necessary programs. Parks and Rec, Hutchins Street Square, etc. Could we survive without sports programs - or perhaps let them be sponsored by private contributions.

    We have turned into a society where everyone wants our government to provide for all our wants but surely we shouldn’t have to compensate the employees that make this happen. Get real. You get what you pay for. The majority of city employee positions are not untrained or unskilled positions, but take years of training and education to be effective and productive.

    But, you are suggesting that once they have spent their lives providing the service the citizens request, then we can just throw them away.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:39 pm on Thu, May 5, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Jim Siemers stated...Everyone seems to forget that city employees gave up pay increases years ago so that the city would pay their contribution to the retirement system....

    So are you saying that the pay scale now is artificially low? If you now reverse what is and now pay the employee pension portion, that it would not be fair?
    I think what needs to be the center of attention is the economic realities... We are near bankruptcy and there “ IS NO MONEY” ...To quibble over traditional disagreements is almost ridiculous. Who cares about who gave up what in past times... you should feel very blessed if you have a job even if it meant a 25 % cut in pay... and 50% cut in benefits...instead all we get is sniveling over silly minor points and positions. depressing.

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:37 am on Thu, May 5, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Why should that vehicle allowance pay their car payments, maintenance and miles driven off of city business? Their car allowance should only cover expenses while on city business with the cost of maintenance and service, that being a per mile basis with a small adjustment for wear and tear. And how about city staff? If I remember correctly, didn't they receive a 5% or so raise shortly before Mr. King quit? When will these employees share the same cutbacks and fate as others? Livable, lovable Lodi?

     
  • Jim Siemers posted at 9:33 am on Thu, May 5, 2011.

    Jim Siemers Posts: 9

    Everyone seems to forget that city employees gave up pay increases years ago so that the city would pay their contribution to the retirement system. Those were the days when the city didn't have to pay much of a contribution because the retirement system was so flush.

    The last time management voluntary gave up something, they were compensated. Remember when they gave up a city vehicle to drive? Instead they got a vehicle allowance. That gave them extra income, and also increased their retirement. Makes you wonder if the same thing is happening!

     
  • Joe Baxter posted at 8:22 am on Thu, May 5, 2011.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1847

    SOME employees? Why not ALL employees. Welcome them to the REAL world.

     
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