Council, public weigh in on new police contract
Original post made
on Feb 1, 2012
The Pleasanton City Council moved forward Tuesday night toward approving a new contract with the Pleasanton Police Officers' Association that requires members for the first time in a decade to contribute directly to their own retirement plan.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 6:15 AM
Like this comment
Posted by District resident
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm
Did you catch the Dave Batoy quote? Then did you do the math associated with that quote.
Here is what the article said...
Officer Dave Batoy, president of the police union, told the council that while police recognize their duty to help the city reduce its unfunded pension liability, the new contract will impose financial hardships on its members.
"This new contract will require officers to contribute roughly $1,000 of their pay each month and significantly alters health care benefits for those who now join the police force."
OK for those who didn't do the math.
Batoy is saying officers will have to contribute $1,000 per month.
That, to cover the 9% "employee share" of the pension contribution, that the city has been paying for them (in addition to the other 28% the city has been paying to cover the city's employer share.
Now do the math. If $1,000 equals 9% of the officers monthly pay, the you need to divide $1,000 by .09 to discover the officers monthly pay.
So you get officers pay being $11,111 per month.
Or $133,000 per year.
Yes folks, these officers who have their president telling the public that the new contract "will impose financial hardships on its members" are in fact getting $133,000 per year on average and that does NOT count any overtime, since overtime is not used to calculate pension contributions.
I'm only using the figures given by Dave Batoy.
I don't know about you, but if a officer is making $133,000 per year before overtime, I'm thinking that paying the employee share of the lucrative pension isn't really creating "hardship" compared to what most folks in society are facing.
A second point. Something that police unions have been giving up all across the state. Giving back the 50 year old retirement age.
Why do they so easily give it up? Because few officers ever retire at that age. Think about it, you want to get your 30 years, and ZERO officers are hired at age 20. The reality is that the average retirement age is from 56 to 57. Only a small percentage retire before age 55 because so few begin prior to age 25.
IF you were unaware of it, it costs Pleasanton, San Jose, Oakland, and other cities, about $185,000 per year to keep the average officer on payroll. (That does NOT count any overtime) That is the total cost of employment for the city, minus overtime.
Go to the following site and you can see all the Pleasanton police officer salaries and benefit costs.
For example, take a mid range officer, a sergeant, a place where many officers end their career, and the salary upon which their pension is based. Other officers are higher pay for lieutenant etc.
The mid-range TCOE (total cost of employment is about $210K to $220K
Their 2010 base pay for sergeant, without any overtime or benefits or pension, is $111,938
Most have $18,348 paid into their medical, dental, and vision.
The city pays $41,121 for the employer portion of the pension.
The city also pays $12,964 for the employee portion of the pension.
The city also pays about $2,500 for "misc"
On top of all that, the city then pays for any and all overtime the officer may earn.
That is for a typical sergeant. So if he/she puts in the typical 30 years, the retire at about age 57, then spend the next 25 years (more for female) on a pension of about $100,000 per year.
(90% x $111,000) Their medical is covered from age 57 until they get on Medicare at age 65.
If they retire as a Lieutenant, their base pay jumps up to between $130K and $150K, and the pension goes to from $117K to $135K.
OF course there are some officers who during their 30 years choose to remain as a patrol officer and don't eventually become sergeant, etc.
Their base pay in 2010 was $94,230 before any overtime or benefits and pension payments.
Anyway all the details are public,
It is valuable for the public discourse to be guided by real facts.
Like this comment
Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm
Posted by Caring citizen, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, 1 hour ago
So?? The City Manager of San Ramon makes $356,541.per year.
Everyone had the choice to become a police officer - some didn't have the courage.
Caring citizen, I'm not sure an example of San Ramon's bad management practices is justification for dismissing an argument related to Pleasanton contracts. As to your claim that some "don't have the courage" to do the job of a police officer further misses the mark.
This isn't an issue of the dangers of a job (which are less, especially in Pleasanton, than many occupations including some jobs that fall under the PCEA contract), or what San Ramon is doing, as much as it is an issue regarding the trust taxpayers have bestowed upon city management and city council to effectively use taxpayer dollars to provide quality services at a reasonable price. It is extra important that they do this because the services being provided are not subject to competitive bid (city services are really a monopoly and the unions have used this, as well as their political will (dollars) to stack the deck of negotiations in their favor). They have been very successful in inflating the value of their services relative to the private sector. With a big push from an economic downturn that has severely impacted the private sector that pays for the services, at the same time we are seeing exploding pension costs (that will explode even beyond the current doubling of cost within two years) at every level of government employment, including school districts, the problem really boils down to Fairness and Math.
The FAIRNESS portion of my little rant has to do with taxpayers guaranteeing pension benefits that far exceed what is required to maintain a consistent lifestyle during the transition from employment to retirement (even ignoring the absurdity of allowing people to collect six figure pensions beginning in their early fifties). The 3@50 formula, and the 2.7@55 formula, EXCEEDS what is fair or reasonable. The RETROACTIVE portion of this arrangement makes it borderline criminal. I say that because both of these pension formulas exceed the standard retirement theory that you need 65-75% of employment income during retirement and the retroactive portion, as well as city council approved reduced retirement ages, only exacerbates the problem. Paying lifetime medical on top of excessive pensions should reduce those numbers. What we now know is that all these pension promises are consuming an even greater share of city budgets which is leading to reduced service levels at an increasing cost, as well as the cry for increased sales taxes and parcel taxes. The state and many cities are asking taxpayers, most of which do NOT have guaranteed pensions and have seen their retirement income diminished during the recession, being asked to take their reduced dollars, dig deeper into their own pockets, to contribute to the funding of these unsustainable and bloated city pensions. How does that make sense to anyone that isn't a union employee/beneficiary of this exorbitant city management/city council/union endorsed and approved generosity? If you can justify that you can justify anything?
The Math portion of my little rant has to do with government at all levels, pushed by the unions, who have conveniently ignored the divergent trend lines regarding revenue and cost. They seem more than willing to increase compensation at a rate beyond revenue growth and then increase fees and promote "Temporary Taxes", which eventually become a "song an dance" approach to budgeting about every five years, to the detriment of the middle class tax payer. If that doesn't work we here about how our lives won't be saved because it affects the FD budget, our kids won't be able to compete in the real world because the teacher union says so, and we will be mugged because the police union sights a police union funded study that says we need more police. What is important is that we ignore these ridiculous claims and live within our budget.
What has our local Pleasanton government done to effectively manage tax payer resources? I would say that Pleasanton is a beautiful place to live and all that live here appreciate the hard work that has gone into this city's success. I would also say that the current PD contract is a first step in the right direction but doesn't go far enough. Unfortunately, going back to 1997, much of the hard work done over past decades has been unraveled during the past 15 years. During that time, the last 15 years, employee's have had their retirement age reduced increasing the years the city pays for health care while also increasing the cost of pension benefits, their pension calculation enhanced (many cities have done the same thing but they haven't provided retroactive pension benefits), and their Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) increased well beyond the actual increase in the cost of living. At the same time the contracts have expanded wage increases and increased the number of "ADD-ON PAY" that further increases employee salaries (really a hidden cost). Over the past 15 years city management has completely failed the public on the issue of budgeting and employee compensation.
We have been paying top dollar for PD services yet we have tens of millions of dollars in unfunded pension and health care liabilities. How does that compare to the excess pension funds of just 10 years ago, that were mostly taxpayer funded, compared to the current 100's of millions in pension and health care debt that we have today. How have we gone from excess pension funding in 2002, to a conservative 137 million in pension debt, and growing, in 2012? Does anyone really consider that good fiscal management? I hope not!
The city just contributed 7.8 million toward a relatively small police departments unfunded pension liability just over six months ago. That is 7.8 million beyond the excellent level of compensation they already receive (BTW, that 7.8 million is worth about 7 million today) that is both unaffordable and unsustainable. Now city management wants to take another million of surplus dollars (?) to pay down the pension debt of excessive and unsustainable pensions. I wonder if the CM and Mayor actually consider that sound financial planning.
That is 8.8 million dollars that won't be going to anything that provides additional value to this city. That 8.8 million, now 7.8 million because CalPERS has lost that much over the past six months, won't go toward parks, bike trails, or anything else.