American cities confront pension problems years in the making

  • Article by: DAVID KLEPPER , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 2, 2013 - 4:20 PM
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  • Comments

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jbpaperJan. 2, 13 6:43 PM

The unions push to get someone elected and then that person give the unions a favorable contract in order to get the unions help the next time. It's this circle that leads to contracts that are not sustainable.

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jbpaperJan. 2, 13 6:50 PM

""They stuck it to us," said Bruce Ogni, who retired as a captain from the Central Falls Police Department. His $41,000 pension was cut to $29,000." ---- From the Central Falls wiki page: "The median income for a household in the city was $22,628, and the median income for a family was $26,844. Males had a median income of $23,854 versus $18,544 for females."

It would be interesting to hear from all the people making a lot less, whose taxes pay his pension, what they think about this.

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fromupnortJan. 2, 13 7:53 PM

These public pension stories are a hoot and really show American politics at their worst (or best). Mr. Mayor makes big promises to his employees that requires the public to ante up. The employees love it, become dependant and stop thinking for themselves; and the people, who don't have a pension, get to pay for the pensions! Worst still, it rewards years of job incompetance with pensions. Its so stupid from start to finish, it has to be organized crime.

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minn12Jan. 2, 13 8:36 PM

The common element in all these impending pension meltdowns is UNIONS. Followed closely by liberal democrat politicians in bed with them and doling out huge unsustainable benefits. This is not to mention complete mismanagement of the pension funds. What did they expcect? Well, don't even think of asking me to bail them out. They made their bed......

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ranger78Jan. 2, 13 9:07 PM

What we have had for years is state and city administrators that are either union members themselves or sympathetic to the unions giving away the candy store. They couldn't negotiate a decent price on a candy bar let alone protect taxpayers. And we are all going to bear the cost when these deals have to be bailed out.

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dazel21Jan. 2, 13 9:23 PM

Sounds familar,Greece Spain anyone, well were next.

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roymercerJan. 2, 1311:03 PM

Private sector citizens need to work well into their 70s so that government workers can retire at 55 with full healthcare at 75% of their highest salary - just like Germans are doing for Greek retirees. What a deal.

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comment229Jan. 3, 13 5:21 AM

Reality check anyone? First, unions and negotiating is a two way street called a contract. It makes sure everyone is on the same page. A lot of people commenting here are regurgitating what they heard on the fair and balanced network of half truths. Here is the other half just to be "fair and balanced." When that contract was negotiated, employers had certain goals they wanted included. Employees too, wanted something. Most times any salary increases, if deserved and much needed, were bargained away for better health insurance or better pension contributions. Now, people look back and say, gee, they get all that? Remember, the employees gave up something and perhaps even had their working conditions changed for this too. Would all of you be in favor of going back to contract talks where pension and health insurance (now lost to many) were agreed to, and renegotiate those contracts over again and make the pay retroactive? If you agreed to a contract to build a house with a general contractor and that house was about to be finished, would you want to go back on the contract? Some people here need a reality check. You agreed to it, employees agreed to the new contract, and now that it doesn't quite work out for you, the employees are the bad guys? Tell me why the management geniuses didn't set up a retirement plan independent for the employees with contributions being examined/negotiated every few years? If you have anyone you should be blaming right now, it should be the management that bargained in this deal. Where were you when this was happening? Why weren't you screaming then? I am not totally pro union, but these people agreed to a contract, and it should be honored instead of accusing the employees for the problems.

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comment229Jan. 3, 13 7:47 AM

roymercer: I would be willing to bet that you consider school employees as government workers, and nothing you said could be further from the truth. Upon retirement, most contracts say the employee can remain on the group plan, and pay the full premium out of pocket. As for pension, there are several options, but 75% is not one of them or even close. A retired friend of mine has a school pension closer to 5% of his salary. You can find extreme examples of gross pension agreements but they are very rare. The majority of people on a pension agreed to it along with management. Where is your outrage at management? PS. I know about as many public sector employees as private working until the are 70 years old. Most of the time, if not all the time, it is by choice which is another exaggeration or half truth on your part.

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comment229Jan. 3, 13 7:52 AM

Final thought.... public employees get to retire when they are 55? No, most retire under provisions of a contract after a set amount of time at their job, and retire at a lesser pension if early, or a full pension if on the maximum amount of time at the job. So, do you also blame the military population that retire after 20 years of service? That would make them, in some cases, less than 40 years old. Got a problem with that? And lastly, my father was not a public worker, and he retired when he was 53 and I bet he is not one in million. I would be willing to bet that you are not eligible in your career, for a pension that you paid into for many years. And for that reason, since you don't get one, everybody else is wrong and you are right. It gets old.

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