Joseph Neff: public salaries and benefits need to reflect private sector salaries and benefits

7 Dec

I know I’m not  the only one who is worried about the unsustainable salaries, pensions and benefits given to our public employees, and now the letters are starting to show up. A great letter from Michael Jones, which I was not able to get ahold of fast enough to re-run here, and today this letter from Joseph Neff of Corning. 

I wish more of you pissed off people would find time to write an e-mail or letter to the paper.  I realize,  a lot of people have trouble putting words to paper – hey, send your drafts in to the blog, we’ll work on them together. We don’t tell you what to say here, but we can read your letter over to see if it makes sense, help you check your facts, and just check grammar and spelling, etc.  That’s what Chico Taxpayers is all about, working together toward a common goal. And right now, the goal at CTA is, get sustainable contracts for  city employees. I’m not talking about impoverishing people – that would be bad for our town. I’m talking about taking some of the load off the taxpayers, who are so overburdened at present, there is not enough “discretionary” cash in our community.  

Right now our town, county, and most of the state, are in a downward spiral, headed for catastrophe. Our government sees the taxpayers as a Golden Goose, which could work in a wealthy state like California, sure. But, they seem to be impatient for the eggs, and right now they are standing over us with an ax getting ready to do a little exploratory surgery. Governor Jerry Brown would make an awful farmer – “give me those eggs, or it’s dinner time, and you’re the guest of honor!”  Same thing here in Chico, with Foxy Loxy Gruendl as our Mayor. Meanwhile, the boy who is supposed to be watching the chicken house, Mark Sorensen, has got his thumb up his ass or something, I just can’t figure him out. One minute he’s the champion  of fiscal sunshine (ooh oooh! THEY’RE using the sewer fund inappropriately!)  and the next minute you couldn’t pull news of the contract talks out of his ass with a John Deere 8RT. 

Joseph Neff reminds us of that sales tax increase some of the voters passed last election. Yes, Brown told us that money would save college students up and down the state, and now he’s used it to give raises, including his own. I knew he would do that, but a majority of California voters, most of them either public workers or the dependents of various programs, went along with Farmer Brown. They thought they would be spared, while the rest of us chickens got marched off to that bloody stump in the corner of the pen.  Now many of those public workers are being canned (whack!) and the programs are being cut (chop!), and those chickens are really pissed off. There’s nothing quite so sad yet comical as  pissed off chickens. 

Thanks Joseph Neff for this letter below:


Letter: Your tax hike went to raises, pensions

Chico Enterprise-Record

POSTED:   12/06/2013 10:41:12 PM PST

Conservative voters realized that Gov. Jerry Brown’s sales tax increases would not be used to benefit taxpayers but to provide lawmakers a raise and to protect the golden pensions of public employees.

As a 45-year career employee with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering and an MBA, my two private-sector pensions are $15,000 yearly. Only two of six career employers had pensions during the past 50 years of plant closures from union strikes, global competition and company moves to right to work, more business friendly states.

None of my wife’s 30-year employers, including 11 as a teacher and 20 as either a degreed hospital medical records administrator, or as an advanced degreed nuclear medicine technologist supervisor, had pensions. Only one had a 401(k) plan. That is typical of the private sector for degreed private sector employees since the 1950s.

Public employee pensions should be halved to civilian levels, delayed to age 65, never adjusted for inflation, and based only on the first $50,000 of pre-retirement income. A $25,000 maximum annual public employee pension would be fair since savings and Social Security will provide the needed additional two-thirds of retirement spending.

— Joseph J. Neff, Corning

2 Responses to “Joseph Neff: public salaries and benefits need to reflect private sector salaries and benefits”

  1. Bill Doetree December 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    What if buygin coffee was like buying obammiecare?

    • Juanita Sumner December 11, 2013 at 6:27 am #

      Thanks Bill, I have never been to before, very interesting.

      I don’t know what other people would think about comparing coffee to healthcare. This analogy works for a caffeine freak like me, but what about the folks who don’t understand that coffee is actually a blood substitute for some of us? They might think we are poking fun.

      How about, instead of the coffee analogy, we use water? Because that’s actually what Cal Water is trying to do to us – make us pay for water we don’t use so they can afford their ridiculous management salaries, pensions and benefits packages. Remember, first they told us they were raising rates to get us to conserve water, about a year later they told us we had conserved too much, and they needed to raise rates to meet “operational costs.” In a subsequent notice they spelled out those “costs” – about $500,000, just to “secure the same level of health care and retirement benefits for management employees…” The notice went on to list hundreds of thousands more for employee benefits and pensions, and then just a paltry $160,000 or so for actual “infrastructural improvements”. Since they can’t physically make us use more water, they will charge us more per unit – right now they have another 38 percent rate increase proposal on the table, having already essentially doubled rates all over this area in the last couple of years.

      How about recreation? Yes, the Chico Area Rec District – CARD – is trying to find a way to put a bond on our homes to pay for their salaries, benefits and pensions. They want us to pay not only for recreation we don’t use, but that they can’t provide. I sat in one meeting of the CARD board where a program manager complained that she was having to cut some 300 kids from one program (Junior Giants) because she didn’t have the staff to supervise it. But the parents of those 300 kids will still pay into the tax system that supports CARD. Meanwhile the CARD manager and finance director make $117,000 and $96,000 respectively and pay NOTHING toward their benefits – which include full medical with some dental and vision, and retirement at 70 percent of their highest year’s salary. Paid by us, whether we recreate within their district or not. CARD gets most of their money from RDA and property taxes, because they keep laying off the employees needed to supervise the programs that bring in the money. So they are working busily now to foist a bond on our property taxes, just waiting for the state legislature to pass a couple of bills that will make it easier to put a bond on our homes.

      Not only are these two agencies management top-heavy, but they are also under the Obamacare gun. The CARD board discusses this at almost every meeting, as if it’s some pending disaster. It will be – they can’t pay the enhanced insurance costs, so they’ve cut their remaining employees – the ones who actually provide our service – to less than 30 hours a week to meet the new Obama mandate that 30 hours is full time.

      Bill, I wish you’d write a letter to the ER and the N&R about this.

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