Monday, August 6, 2012

The perverse logic of local government officials in a nutshell


As per Bloomberg:

San Bernardino, a city of 209,000 about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, is typical of the phenomenon. Its city council voted July 18 to approve an emergency bankruptcy filing, about six years after the panel unanimously lowered the retirement age for public-safety workers to 50 from 55.

The council acted in August 2006 even though Aon Plc, the city’s risk-management consultant, had warned it that such a change would add millions of dollars to San Bernardino’s long- term pension costs. 

Across the state, former city managers and public-safety employees are collecting six-digit annual pensions for life at taxpayers’ expense as cities slash staff and basic services such as police and fire protection and library hours to keep up with the payments.

In San Bernardino, two former police chiefs are among those who receive six-figure pensions, according to Calpers. Keith Kilmer, who retired last year, gets a pension of $216,581, Calpers said. He now serves as interim chief of the Seal Beach, California, Police Department. Michael Billdt, his predecessor, who receives $205,014 annually, took a medical retirement in 2009 after two no-confidence votes by officers. 

 This is not new news, but what was insightful was a quote from San Bernardino City Councilwoman Wendy McCammack regarding the lowering of the retirement age:

 “I knew it was going to be costly in the long run, however, this city is one of the toughest to police. In order to attract and retain the kind of officers that it takes to police a city like this, that was a benefit that we had to negotiate"

So let me get this straight. She knew she was voting for a benefit that San Bernadino could never afford and would in all likelihood drive it into bankruptcy in the "long run" in order to attract and retain police officers Huh?

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