Tag Archives: Chris Constantin City of chico

Who will pay the unfunded liability? Taxpayers living on a median income of $43,000/year, or well-paid, well-heeled, entitled public employees making over $100,000/year?

5 Nov

It’s been said, the campaign begins the day after an election.  I like to hit the ground running. Here’s a letter I just sent to the ER. 

Butte County, like the city of Chico, is considering a Pension Obligation Bond.

POBs are a financing scheme that allows state and local governments to get the taxpayers to pay unfunded pension liabilities by issuing a bond guaranteed by tax revenues. Like CalPERS, POB proponents claim investments will pay for both the bond and the retirement fund. According to Oregon PERS manager Mike Cleary, “Some people call this arbitrage, but it’s not, it’s really an investment gamble.”

In fact, in 2013, Stockton and San Bernardino went bankrupt. According to the court, “Generous pensions awkwardly propped up with ill-timed POBs contributed to both debacles.”

In recent years, returns on POBs have often fallen below the interest rate paid by agencies to borrow the money, digging the liability hole even deeper. Nonetheless, they remain popular because they are instant money without voter approval.

Chico’s Unfunded Pension Liability has grown enormously over the past year – from $123,000,000 to $140,000,000, with another $146,000,000 interest – because of unrealistic employee contributions. Chico employees pay, at most, 15% for pensions that run from 70 – 90% percent of hundred-thousand-plus salaries. Meanwhile, taxpayers not only contribute a payroll share, but the annual “catch-up” payments come at the expense of city services – this year $11,000,000.

Who will pay the unfunded liability? Taxpayers living on a median income of $43,000/year, or well-paid, well-heeled, entitled public employees making over $100,000/year?

Let your elected representative know what you think of this scheme to leave the taxpayers holding the Pension Deficit Bag.

Juanita Sumner, Chico

Quiz: How much do you know about Chico’s pension deficit?

18 Oct

Here’s Part 1 of the quiz I was promising. These questions are all from the first 10 or 15 minutes of the video presentation posted here:


If you feel like it, send this video to your district representative/candidate, see how many of these questions he/she can answer.

  1. What is the city’s current Unfunded Actuarial Liability (aka “pension deficit”), not including interest?
  2. How much has that figure grown in the last 5 years?
  3. What are the two types of payments the city currently makes to CalPERS?
  4. How much are those payments projected to increase over the next 5 years?
  5. What is CalPERS investment return target, and what have they been averaging over the last 20 years?

Well, that ought to give you something to chew on, I’ll get more questions when I have a minute.

Ain’t no sunshine!

25 Jan

Below is the original proposal from the Chico Police Officers bargaining unit to the city of Chico. This was posted on an agenda, because of our “sunshine” ordinance, but was later removed, I was told by a city councilor, at the request of the CPOA. Apparently, the public didn’t react too well to their demands – I had posted the link here – and the cops didn’t like the criticism. They removed the proposal below and put up a new diatribe with “explanations.” If Michael Jones had not saved this particular document, we wouldn’t have it.

I also have the city’s counter proposal, but I’m having a devil of a time cut-and-pasting it. The proposal below also included a cost analysis chart which I posted in a blob at the bottom – some of the figures wouldn’t even cut, make whatever you can out of it. The total cost of this proposal over three years, estimated by the CPOA, is more than $5 million.  There are no savings.

I have not had time to compare this to the new proposal they buried as an attachment to an old agenda on the city website but I’ll try to get to that again.  I also have the city’s counter proposal. I’ll try to get those posted soon.

This is not my job. This is the city manager’s and the assistant city manager’s job. Those guys get paid about $200,000/year each, plus benefits and pension. They don’t want the public to know this stuff. Pay attention. Constantin has already remarked that he wants a sales tax increase for public safety, the gauntlet is down. He also said he doesn’t think the cops are overpaid. Look over this proposal and tell me what you think.

Chico POA Proposal – September 24, 2014

The following is a proposal for a successor MOU to the one expiring 12/31114 between the Chico Police Officers’ Association and the City of Chico. This proposal is intended to begin the bargaining process and introduce several ideas that the POA believes can create a better environment within the City of Chico Police Department, specifically the Departments ability to retain and recruit police officers.

When possible, the current MOU provision that would be affected is listed. Wording is NOT final and will be edited to reflect any changes prior to submission to the City in formal bargaining.

1. Three year term ofMOU: 111115-12/31/17. 1.3A

2. Salary. 5% increase effective 1/1/15, 1/1116 and 1/1/17. 5.1 and Exhibit B

3. Longevity. Add four new longevity step increases of 4% at the following length of time of employment with the city: 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and 25 years. New Article 5.12 “Longevity Pay”

4. Pay Step Addition and Adjustment. 5.1C a. Add a Step H at 5% salary increase. b. Add a “training pay” step equivalent to $18 per hour.

5. Cash out Holiday Time Banlc Reinstate policy of allowing employees to cash out unused holiday time bank hours each year. 6.2

6. Vacation Cash Out. Allow employees to accrue vacation above the maximum caps and to cash out any unused vacation accrued above the caps at the end of each calendar year. 6.5

7. Holiday Hours. City shall provide ten hours of Holiday Time Bank pay for holidays. 6.1A

8. OT Pay for Holidays. City shall pay employees overtime rate for working holidays. 5.2 and 6.1

9. FICA and Dental to be paid by City. 6.3 J+tvY\ ~ z, Qv£A;1vuf C{(tf8t u: ~ a. City shall pay the 1.45% of FICA that has been paid by employees since 1/1111. 6.8G

b. City shall pay the entire employee portion of the dental insurance (or allow the employee to opt out of coverage).6.3 and Exhibit C.

10. Call Back Pay. Increase the call back minimum pay to four (4) hours. (3 currently). 5.5

11. Shift Differential. 5.9 a. Increase swing and graveyard shift differential pay by 5%. b. Shift differential to be calculated into base pay for overtime pay rate calculations.

12. Adopt and/or publicize the ability to put OT earnings directly into deferred compensation. 6.6E

CPOA Initial Proposal Estimated Costs/Savings Initial Proposal – 9/ 24/ 14 2) 5% Increase 3) Longevity 4a.) Additional “H” Step 4b.) “Training Pay” Step 5) HTB Payout 9a.) City Pick-Up of FICA 9b.) City Pick up of Dental 6) Vacation Cash Out 7) 10 Hours Holiday Time Bank 8) OT Pay for Holidays 10) 4 Hours vs 3 hours Call-Back 11) Shift Differential 1/1/15 – 12/31/15 1/1/16 – 12/31/16 1/1/17- 12/31/17 Total $ 447,360 $ 922,968 $ 1,438,726 $ 2,809,054 $ 222,622 $ 286,354 $ 364,010 $ 872,986 $ 328,847 $ 369,216 $ 385,040 $ 1,083,103 $65,637 for full-time FTE vs. hourly employees currently paid outside of CPOA From $200,000- $300,000 per year plus taxes/benefits $ 89,454 $ 90,136 $ 91,174 $ 52,954 $ 52,954 $ 52,954 Unknown- will take research to see who is at cap for the year Currently a “Use it or Lose it” Benefit Currently Coded as Straight-time- more research needed Need to look at individual timecards for analysis Need to look at individual timecards for analysis

These new city contracts are a baby step – if we don’t do more to rein in employee compensation we’re still headed for the fiscal cliff

6 Jan

I will be out of town for a few days, going to Southern California to see The Folks, do a little boarding at Mammoth Snow Park.  I’m sorry I won’t be here for the council meeting, but you know I wouldn’t attend one of those anyway. I sent the e-mail below to council, I wish you would do same:

Dear Council,


These contracts you are looking at tomorrow night are a good start, but should only be offered for a year. As we all know, Cal PERS demands more every year for the pensions obligation. Next year, the employees need to pay more, and the year after that – more, until they bear most of their own benefits and pensions burden and the taxpayers only a small part. 


The cut for pensions should be more like, employee 90 percent, taxpayers 10 percent, stock market nothing.


Thanks, but we aren’t out of the woods yet, not by a long shot – Juanita Sumner

I should have made this point – I’m not talking about new hirees, I’m talking about current employees. I think it’s absolutely despicable to make new employees pay 50 percent while the old guard sits at 8 percent.   That’s Brian Nakamura and his too live crew looking out for their own shiny asses.   Yeah, Chris Constantin comes off like a real nice boy, but like I’ve said before, “Carmen and the Devil, walking side by side…”