Town Square

Pleasanton's Pension Obligations

Original post made by Ceaser, Vintage Hills, on Nov 6, 2008

According to Steve Brozosky the City has a present value of 120 million in pension obligations owed to city workers and only 40 million set aside.
The school district owes around 15 million to it's retirees.
(Brozosky was quoted in this week's Independent Newspaper).

This issue is big. Mayor Hosterman did not seem to concerned about it in her debates with Steve Brozosky. She likes to compare Pleasoanton's situation with cities that are worse off. Kind of like saying the upper cabins on the Titanic are safer than
the lower ones.

The only way to address the issue is to reduce pension and medical benefits for city employees. They are far too generous.

It is often said that these benefits are necessary to attract the best employees.
There is a problem with this arguement: Virtually all cities, counties and school districts are in the same boat. They all have enormous looming pension and medical obligations. If all of them cut back these benefits responsibly, the public employees in the aggregate will have to accept it.

To do nothing would ensure reduced city services or even worse.
I challenge the City Council and the School Board to tackle this issue at once.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 6, 2008 at 8:58 pm

What's your point in bringing this up now, right after the election in which Brozosky lost? I'm on your side about the basic issue of taxpayers, present and future, being put on the hook for paying government employees benefits that are unavailable for almost all taxpayers because most people work in private industry.

However, your post clearly denigrates Hostermann about this yet points out how Brozosky brought up the issue as a school board member. I think you are simply throwing stones at Hostermann and using this as an issue.

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Posted by Chris
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 7, 2008 at 7:50 am

I missed where Steve Brozosky became the official spokesman for the City of Pleasanton? It is surprising you would use numbers thrown out by a candidate at the time as fact. The problem if it were a problem would have a lot more people concerned who don't have the motivations of a candidate to speak out loud.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 7, 2008 at 8:54 am

I suspect that crucial details and questions are missing from this issue. Like, are the benefits really generous or are they competitive with other cities? I assume in comparison with private sector benefits, they would be generous.

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Posted by Ben F.
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 7, 2008 at 9:54 am

Ceaser, excellent commentary. We need leaders in our community who are willing to tackle tough issues. Mr. Brozosky was commenting about future debt obligations, something he knows about since the topic came up many times during his tenure as a city council representative. He was not out of line bringing up the comparison of school district FDO with city government FDO. There’s no doubt cuts in benefits will need to happen. The question is when will the cuts happen. Do we need to get to the point of Vallejo, near or at bankruptcy before we wake up? I speak from one who knows – I’m a local school teacher. Mayor Hosterman deserves criticism. As do all current and former Pleasanton politicians (school board and city council) and the citizens of this city for allowing this. We (continue to) take on long term debt at our collective peril.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2008 at 11:46 am

IF you were paying attention to the negotiations with fire and police you would know that the city has already started dealing with this issue and is in fact ahead of the curve compared to surrounding areas. Throwing out these facts without context is meant to mislead people, something Mr. Brozosky does often. Instead of taking what the papers say as fact, try calling or emailing the councilmembers elected by the city of Pleasanton. It's their job to answer questions like these.

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Posted by Ronold K.
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 7, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Hey, this thread looks like a beat up Brozosky forum.

Anonymous, why don’t you take a moment and tell us what you know, since it sounds like you know a great deal. Most people don’t pick up the phone and call their elected representatives, send them emails or meet them face to face. Should they (we/me)? Absolutely. I will say I have taken the time to meet face to face but that doesn’t make me better than anyone else. So please, enlighten us. I’m curious to see just how effective our politicians are when negotiating with entrenched unions that care more about what’s in it for them short-term than what’s best, long -term, for all of us and our children and our grand children.

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Posted by Chris
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 7, 2008 at 1:15 pm

It is surprising what some of you on this board come up with seemingly out of the air to further your political bent. I recently was at a local civic event where the city finance director displayed data that is totally contrary to some of the comments above. The pension obligations compared to what is set aside is a very healthy ratio when compared to other cities our size and demographics.

How about one of you cynics attending a city council meeting and bring up the subject at open to the public . Let's see how the city and council responds.

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Posted by Martha
a resident of Avila
on Nov 7, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Hey Chris, watch your wallet. Reagan said "Trust but verify". I say "Don't trust, verify".

"In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other."
-Voltaire (1764)

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Posted by Mary
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 7, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Chris, you say our city’s Finance Director says our pension obligations are a very healthy ratio when compared to other cities our size and demographics. Specifically, what cities was he talking about? How does one even begin to evaluate the relative financial strength of “like” communities? And if done, what purpose would it serve? To prove that we are in somewhat better shape than another community. Sounds a lot like we have an executive berth on the Titanic.

For those interested: the Finance Department is headed by the Director of Finance, David Culver, who can be reached by calling (925) 931-5400.

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 7, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Some comments above are all about comparisons to other cities. Might Vallejo be on that list of comparisons? It's like one investment bank saying "hey, our mortgage bond package is rated A, while theirs is rated B". They all eventually failed. Everybody's package was rotten inside. The money wasn't there.

How about comparing to some more absolute benchmarks, like what are the average benefits package for the average taxpayer who supports the government employees through their taxes? That's far more relevant. Pleasanton may be OK today, but it's just a matter of time......

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Posted by Brian
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 7, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Do pensions still exist?
Is the City of Pleasanton hiring?
I would love a piece of that pie. Private industry stopped serving years ago.

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Posted by ron
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 8, 2008 at 10:43 am

Hey whats 40 to 80 million dollars to a rich city like Pleasanton? I've seen two sets of numbers at city meetings and its odd that the city staff do not have a real solution. They compare their shortfall to the private sector. The problem is we the residents of Pleasanton owe the debt our elected leaders have created. When asked what the solution is they respond with hopes that there will be an increase in city revenue. To increase city revenue would require more business coming to Pleasanton or and increase an city fee's. No one talks about fixing this problem in 5 years, ten years or twenty years. The sportfall will only get worse as the city wastes time in addressing the issue. Act needs to be taken soon, not later.

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Posted by score tellite
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 8, 2008 at 2:34 pm

(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

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Posted by manntis
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Nov 8, 2008 at 2:43 pm

(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

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Posted by Griffin
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Nov 8, 2008 at 6:27 pm

City employees are hated by the Kay Ayala-Steve Brozoski-Cindy McGovern "Nightmare Team". They would have workers be paid peanuts and think that because they are city employees they are minions. They were/are known to treat/treated them like dirt when they were on council. Cindy can abuse some more now. Steve and Cindy are coached by Kay----the most (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff) person in Pleasanton. Kay says jump and Steve says "yes maam" and Cindy snipes from the bushes. I hope they climb back under their rocks. They are not needed.

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 8, 2008 at 11:24 pm


Would you provide some factual evidence of your accusations, or is this simply "hearsay", like so much that's been posted lately...

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Posted by Bonnie
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 9, 2008 at 12:30 am

Thank you Jerry! This blog is about the exchange of ideas not unsubstantiated name calling. Griffin, come back with facts or log off.

Our city has to balance their budget and keep jobs for families. If some folks are over paid, then others will loose their jobs. As our city approaches build out (29,000 housing cap), the tax base will not grow to meet higher costs.

I say compare these job salaries to others like San Ramon, Livermore & Dublin. Pay a fair salary, but do not over pay.

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Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:01 pm

I would love to have a pension.

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Posted by Boomer
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 16, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Why is it when the economy turns south it is inevitable that the "vocal minority” seem to snipe at the people who are put in place to help them? Placing the blame for fiscal uncertainty on the shoulders city employees is childish, asinine, and inflammatory.

The logic as I follow it is that the WORLD economy takes a nose dive and we need to reevaluate OUR cops and firemen? They're going to be the ruination of this city????


Here’s an angle you may not have thought of. I blame the PLEASANTON WEEKLY for allowing such a platform dedicated to the propagation of ignorance, and the funneling of impotent rage into communal discord. Shame on you PW!