Morgan’s response: “we have to continually negotiate with employees to pay more of their pension costs” – it’s up to us to hold him to that

16 Sep

Gee, I’m taking some heat for endorsing Stone and Schwab. Yeah, I know, I’ve said repeatedly they both need to go. But it needs to be done right – their challengers are just not acceptable. An empty seat is not acceptable. So, when one is given lemons, one makes lemonade. 

Remember, I’ve asked that people contact their candidates and ask a simple question – would you be willing to ask city employees to pay bigger shares toward their own pension? 

I asked Sean Morgan, I was glad to get his response:

Chico certainly isn’t going to solve CalPers’ extensive mismanagement or annual COLAs (although there is talk that may be halted).

In the meantime, we have to continually negotiate with employees to pay more of their pension costs. They won’t do this without trade-offs (read: raises for increased contributions on their part). You and I both know these are employee bargaining groups, we can’t just impose things on them.

We also need to be extremely cautious in hiring people. Can we outsource? When we can, we should try. We’re in a unique situation because there isn’t a nearby city with plenty private competition for public jobs.

Ok, none of those are solutions, so now it’s down to what can be done (not enough). Grow the economy. Stop harassing business owners and tax paying citizens (yes, it’s happening), hold salaries in check. The economic outlook is changing. When the economy was booming folks started talking about leaving and going other places. Those opportunities are going to be gone and people will be happy to be working. How many business owners (and their employees) in Chico are suffering due to draconian measures by the Governor? How many public employees are suffering same? I believe it’s coming. The revenue just isn’t going to be there. Then what will CalPers do and how many municipalities will declare bankruptcy to cancel collective bargaining agreements?
If there were an easy solution, Sorensen and I would have implemented it. This is one of the reasons my gain goal moving forward is keeping the City solvent.
Finally, the new PD Chief got a bump but the position was underpaid (competitively). These positions in other cities pay better and have far less political turmoil. If we didn’t have a terrific internal candidate (we did) we would have ended up with some partial failure from an outside agency (just my opinion).
Some highlights:
“we have to continually negotiate with employees to pay more of their pension costs. They won’t do this without trade-offs (read: raises for increased contributions on their part). You and I both know these are employee bargaining groups, we can’t just impose things on them.”
Mark Orme continually claims that staff have not had raises while they’ve agreed to pay more of their pensions – but, as Morgan says here, it’s happened. In fact, Orme and other management received raises to cover their additional shares.  I disagree with Morgan, I think that’s backward.  I’m sorry he seems to be so intimidated by staff, I hope he finds his nuts this next term. 
Same with giving the police chief a $21,000 raise. I believe Chico PD is a pretty cush job compared to neighboring cities and our quality of life and low cost of living are also considerations. 
I do like the fact that he at least admits there’s a problem. And, at least he responded. If you want to hear what Pahlka has to say, contact him here:
curtisforchico@gmail.com

and let me know if you get any response. I will try to keep contacting the candidates myself, and we’ll pool whatever we get here, okee-doke?

4 Responses to “Morgan’s response: “we have to continually negotiate with employees to pay more of their pension costs” – it’s up to us to hold him to that”

  1. Dave September 16, 2020 at 5:47 pm #

    It’s good to see he at least admits there’s a problem. But actions speak louder than words, and when the rubber met the road both Morgan and Reynolds, the so-called conservatives, were pushing a sales tax increase instead of reforming the unfunded liabilities.

    And we didn’t need to pay $21,000 more than what O’Brien was making to find a qualified police chief. And stating otherwise is ridiculous.

    Morgan will never work to reform the unfunded liabilities because he is just as much a tool of special interests as anyone else on the council.

    I wish I was wrong but the fact is anyone who doesn’t put the special interests ahead of the taxpayers has no chance of ever getting elected to the city council in this corrupt little city.

    • Juanita Sumner September 17, 2020 at 6:18 am #

      In his defense I’ll say, when Morgan was voted in, the city paid the entire “employee” share for both management and public safety. Now those groups pay their own share and are picking up 3% of the city share. That’s incremental, but it’s better than it was.

      No, I don’t like the fact that they got raises to cover it, but I’d rather work with Morgan than most of the others.

      What we want now, is higher shares for the payroll portion and the same shares for the UAL. Currently they pay nothing toward the UAL.

      • Dave September 17, 2020 at 6:41 am #

        The problem is it’s not nearly enough. And what little they now pay is mostly off set by the raises. And the raises make the future pension liability worse.

        My prediction for the 2022 election (or possibly a special election in 2021) is that Morgan and Reynolds will do exactly what they did this election year — push for a sales tax increase. And if that sales tax increase passes they will go along with Orme’s plan to take on hundreds of millions in new debt.

        Unfortunately there are no candidates willing to take on the special interests and reform the unfunded liabilities. And if there were I have no idea how they could stand a chance of getting elected. I know of only one candidate who ever tried and he didn’t come close to getting elected.

      • Juanita Sumner September 17, 2020 at 2:21 pm #

        Oh well, let it go into the toilet, as Morgan is assuming in his response – sometimes I think that’s the only way out.

        But on a positive note, when I was a kid, Mendocino County and many shoreline municipalities were still backing dump trucks full of garbage up to the cliffs and dumping them right down on beaches. People pushed back, that didn’t just stop, it took a lot of pushing. Change is slow.

        There’s a funny speech that Mildred Hayes makes to Chief Willoughby in “Three Billboards” but I won’t repeat it here.

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