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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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ianmac47 wrote:
There is probably a disparity between salaries earned by police officers and private sector rent-a-cops, but as a service recipient I expect a lot more from a police officer than I do from a rent-a-cop.


If you went to work in the public sector, you used to make a trade-off. For a job that paid a lot less than the private sector, you gained:

A job where a layoff during a economic downturn was a lot less likely than a private sector person.

Nice benefits if you put in 20+ years of service.

Today, many police and fire get a salary that exceeds the average for the public sector and great life-time benefits. You can have one or the other, but not both. The taxpayer cannot afford it.

Pensions worked fine when people retired at 60 to 65 and dropped dead by age 67. You can't have a system where people are retiring in their 50's and living until there mid 80's or longer. Eventually all your tax revenue will be going to pay people who are actually not providing any service for the city.

Any meaningful reform will result in some form of default on the current pension obligations. In conjunction with bringing public retirement plans in line with what is offered in the private sector.

The alternative is a complete collapse. Either the pension checks are going to bounce or there will be a huge Federal bailout (paid for by Treasury notes bought by the Federal Reserve).

The latter will still count as a default. The retired fire chief will get his $75K+ a year in pension benefits, but a quart of milk will cost over $100.

Posted on: 2010/11/2 13:40
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Walk_Idiot_Walk wrote:
Of course Police and Fire personnel have been gouging the City for years. But to paint all government workers with one broad brush is unfair and wrong.


Until the Mayor and Council are willing to touch the proverbial 3rd rail, non-union city workers or workers with very low salaries will feel the brunt of the layoffs first (as they already have).

Next will be the younger cops and firemen (the newest hires).

Eventually this city will be paying for a force of retired workers and supervisors. The rest of the funds will go to part time (or volunteer jobs with paid health insurance) to friends and supporters of the current regime.

Posted on: 2010/11/2 13:31
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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brewster wrote:
The system of negotiation when governments deal with their workers is clearly broken. I can't remember where I read it, but someone said the problem is governments must give big raises when times are good or look cheap, and give big benefit increase promises when times are bad in lieu of those raises. Heads they win, tails we lose.


You clearly know nothing of the salary situation in Jersey City government. Employees classified as management have no union and haven't received any raises in over 3 years. Most non-uniform City employees belong to pathetically weak unions and receive only token raises on a yearly basis. Many only make between 20K to 40K and now are subjected to furloughs.

Of course Police and Fire personnel have been gouging the City for years. But to paint all government workers with one broad brush is unfair and wrong.


Okay, but I'm talking about all levels of govt, not just city. Look at that chart of income in that article I linked. Also, are the workers you're talking about making less and have worse benefits than comparable private sector workers?

I'm curious, how many workers are we actually talking about employed by JC that aren't uniformed, management, or work for one of the independent Authorities?

Posted on: 2010/11/2 3:03
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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brewster wrote:
The system of negotiation when governments deal with their workers is clearly broken. I can't remember where I read it, but someone said the problem is governments must give big raises when times are good or look cheap, and give big benefit increase promises when times are bad in lieu of those raises. Heads they win, tails we lose.


You clearly know nothing of the salary situation in Jersey City government. Employees classified as management have no union and haven't received any raises in over 3 years. Most non-uniform City employees belong to pathetically weak unions and receive only token raises on a yearly basis. Many only make between 20K to 40K and now are subjected to furloughs.

Of course Police and Fire personnel have been gouging the City for years. But to paint all government workers with one broad brush is unfair and wrong.

Posted on: 2010/11/2 2:22
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Sutherland wrote:
In the mean time my real concerns remain income disparity between the grossly over paid bankers & hedgefund pepole and the rest of us. THe reason the value of our homes in JC sky rocketed in 2004 through 2007 was because the financial services industry manufactured an economy resulting in hyper inflation property values and over all inflation.

To now harp on public employees as the root of the problem seems a bit misplaced to me.


Sadly, we can manage to have more than one thing dramatically wrong with our financial house at the same time. The roof fell in, but that doesn't mean we don't have to deal with the rotting foundations.

I wholeheartedly agree that the pirates on Wall Street have robbed us blind and are getting away with it with the complicity of our bought and paid for govt. But that doesn't really have anything to do with the fact that we've set up a long term crisis by promising public workers salaries, and especially retirement benefits, that we can't afford.

Municipalities across America are discovering that when the lean times come as now, the promises they made to gain the political support of their workers are going to bankrupt them. You can't base your spending policies on a tax revenue brought in at the peak of a business bubble. But let's be clear, this is nothing new, this has played out again and again in every business cycle, remember NYC's near death experience in the 70's for many of the same reasons? Think about how every time a city runs a surplus during a boom, the workers cry for extra raises and benefits that are persistent during the following bust. The gov't is rarely allowed to invest boomtime surplus in capital improvements, pay down debt or sock it away for that inevitable rainy day.

Somewhere around 22m, 1 in 6 workers in this country, are on a public payroll. For comparison there's only 7.4 million private union members. When there's 2 classes of workers in this country, Public ones with safe jobs and secure retirements, and the rest of us losing our own economic security in order to pay for theirs, there's no peace ahead.

Posted on: 2010/11/2 2:12
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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There is probably a disparity between salaries earned by police officers and private sector rent-a-cops, but as a service recipient I expect a lot more from a police officer than I do from a rent-a-cop.

Posted on: 2010/11/2 2:02
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Thanks for pointing out my oversight in reading the article. Still,the salary disparity between gov't workers and private sector workers doesn't seem significant enough to me to get the white flag out. Also, while NJ state government workers may make more than many other state workers you have to show me that Nj State gov't workers are earning more than their private sector counter parts.

In terms of the abuses, I commented I agreed that there were too much of that and it should be reformed retroactively somehow.

Here's my point basically. I'm not in favor of positioning these issues so broadly to get people summary believing nor subscribing to this notion that the total public employee and union structure has brought down our economy. I want to know what is the delta between the "legitimate/reasonable" and the excessive. Once we come to that metric the argument could be better made.

In the mean time my real concerns remain income disparity between the grossly over paid bankers & hedgefund pepole and the rest of us. THe reason the value of our homes in JC sky rocketed in 2004 through 2007 was because the financial services industry manufactured an economy resulting in hyper inflation property values and over all inflation.

To now harp on public employees as the root of the problem seems a bit misplaced to me.


Quote:

brewster wrote:
Quote:

Sutherland wrote:
Brewster,

Your article actually supports the position that State and Local employees earn less than private employees for similar jobs.

As far as cops earning $80k a year, do you really think a cop should NOT earn about that?


Read the whole graph, and remember that's a national avg, NJ is at the top of that range:

?State and local. State government employees had an average salary of $47,231 in 2008, about 5% less than comparable jobs in the private sector. City and county workers earned an average of $43,589, about 2% more than private workers in similar jobs. State and local workers have higher total compensation than private workers when the value of benefits is included.

Do the arithmetic, I meant $100k, and that's not counting the inevitable overtime and huge benefit package. Look at the federal benefits to see how high a proportion of salary the bennies can be. Please don't pull out the "dangerous job" chestnut, cop & fireman aren't even on the top 20.

Posted on: 2010/11/2 1:07
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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But is that the fault of the unions or the union leadership? Their constituency is their members. The elected officials constituency is the rest of us. And they keep winning. The greatest indicator of potential for success in an election is incumbency.

Posted on: 2010/11/1 23:15
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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ianmac47 wrote:
However, condemning all unions because some have better negotiators or because some members take advantage of the system is wrong.


True, but this thread doesn't seem to be about condemning all unions, or unions at all. It's about how public employees somehow got ahead of all other similar workers, and are dragging us down into bankruptcy. Putting aside how the uniformed services often game their retirement levels, almost no one who doesn't work for a gov't gets defined benefit retirements and generous lifetime health packages.

The system of negotiation when governments deal with their workers is clearly broken. I can't remember where I read it, but someone said the problem is governments must give big raises when times are good or look cheap, and give big benefit increase promises when times are bad in lieu of those raises. Heads they win, tails we lose.

Posted on: 2010/11/1 21:19
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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robotjustin wrote:
^^^
Perfectly stated!



And I could not agree more!!

Posted on: 2010/11/1 21:15
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Unions would be irrelevant if employers didn't so easily take advantage of employees. But employers -- including the government -- don't treat employees fairly on their own. The threat of unionization largely means that employers operating without unions treat employees better than they would if the threat of unionization isn't real.

Does that mean in some cases, some employee unions have been more successful, or pushed back harder than they should have in response to management? Yes. There is indeed a great disparity between the success of certain unions. Certainly in the auto industry, the unwillingness of the unions to concede that automakers are not and will not be as profitable as they were in the golden age of the American automobile contributed greatly to the bankruptcy of the industry. And certainly some public employee unions have earned certain privileges that need to be reigned in.

However, condemning all unions because some have better negotiators or because some members take advantage of the system is wrong.

Posted on: 2010/11/1 20:30
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Sutherland wrote:
Brewster,

Your article actually supports the position that State and Local employees earn less than private employees for similar jobs.

As far as cops earning $80k a year, do you really think a cop should NOT earn about that?


Read the whole graph, and remember that's a national avg, NJ is at the top of that range:

?State and local. State government employees had an average salary of $47,231 in 2008, about 5% less than comparable jobs in the private sector. City and county workers earned an average of $43,589, about 2% more than private workers in similar jobs. State and local workers have higher total compensation than private workers when the value of benefits is included.

Do the arithmetic, I meant $100k, and that's not counting the inevitable overtime and huge benefit package. Look at the federal benefits to see how high a proportion of salary the bennies can be. Please don't pull out the "dangerous job" chestnut, cop & fireman aren't even on the top 20.

Posted on: 2010/11/1 19:46
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Brewster,

Your article actually supports the position that State and Local employees earn less than private employees for similar jobs.

As far as cops earning $80k a year, do you really think a cop should NOT earn about that?


Quote:

brewster wrote:
Quote:

Sutherland wrote:
The assertion that public employees in general are making dramatically more "than the rest of us" is hard to believe and in fact absurd


The statistics don't support you. No matter whether you compare national, statewide or just JC, public employees make more than the public. A 10 year JC cop makes 2 1/2 times the $40k of the average JC resident, not including overtime and generous benefits.

The article below shows comparable 2008 federal employees making an average $67,691+$40,785 in benefits vs $60,046+$9,882 per private worker. Do you seriously think NJ pays it's employees less? Likely it's more. See the article, the table of all the professions and their relative compensations is fascinating. It totally debunks the "relative education & training" argument. If you're a cook or graphic designer, you'll make 50% more working for the government. It seems like the only federal employees not getting the best deal are those in foxholes in Afghanistan.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-03-04-federal-pay_N.htm

Posted on: 2010/11/1 19:35
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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++1 Brewster.
The gullibility of the brain under stress especially fear or anger is infinite - Rush is very good at using the guts. My best is when they were continuously rotating pictures of 9/11 and Saddam Hussein behind an american flag background on Fox "news" to create the association.

Posted on: 2010/11/1 0:59
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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skepticalhook wrote:
The amount of money wasted because the Clinton administration allowed 9-11 is beyond measure.


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you actually under 15, or do you really let Rush & Glenn push real events out of your brain in favor of their revisions?

1- Clinton was actually hounded by the GOP for zealously going after Al Qaeda, accused of a creating a "wag the dog" scenario to distract the nation from their attempt to fire him for getting a blow job.

2- 9/11 happened nearly 9 months after GWB took power, and his staff ignored the Clintonites attempt to draw attention to the Al Qaeda risk in their power drunk orgy of tax cuts and panderings to fundamentalists and Wall Street. It's fantastic how 9-11 belongs to Clinton, and the economic crash belongs to Obama. Nothing bad happened on GWB's watch! Rush says so!

3- The Bush administration invaded Iraq for no reason with fabricated evidence, and then botched the occupation completely, resulting in most of the cost you mention. Their preferred expert administrators there were new graduates from fundamentalist bible colleges, most of whom never had a passport before becoming part of the Occupying Party. Read Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

Posted on: 2010/11/1 0:17
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Charon wrote:
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skepticalhook wrote: Government employees work for society, but they act like society owes them. Well I say F them.


You sound like a typical Bush/Christie right wing moron. The unions are responsible for all, that is wrong in this country, particularly those evil government worker and teacher unions.

The truth of the matter is this country was on a sound financial footing when Clinton left office and Bush the war criminal screwed it up. Tax cuts for the wealthy, two wars that weren't paid for with tax increases and a slew of unfunded/under-funded mandates.

Now the bills are coming due and the right wing teabagger crowd want to take it out of the hide of government workers. While the banks, hedge funds and multi-nationals continue to skate.


Now who is the idiot with convenient assumptions? Oh, it's you. The amount of money wasted because the Clinton administration allowed 9-11 is beyond measure. You don't agree with iraq/afghanistan-check out SOS Rice's recemt interviews. The fact is, we spent huge dollars to keep us safe. And that worked. Not an attack, until we stopped funding and supporting proper defense, and the big O said it's inevitable that a successful attack will happen. Charon, please go to hell. We'll all be happy if you follow your moniker.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 23:25
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Sutherland wrote:
The assertion that public employees in general are making dramatically more "than the rest of us" is hard to believe and in fact absurd


The statistics don't support you. No matter whether you compare national, statewide or just JC, public employees make more than the public. A 10 year JC cop makes 2 1/2 times the $40k of the average JC resident, not including overtime and generous benefits.

The article below shows comparable 2008 federal employees making an average $67,691+$40,785 in benefits vs $60,046+$9,882 per private worker. Do you seriously think NJ pays it's employees less? Likely it's more. See the article, the table of all the professions and their relative compensations is fascinating. It totally debunks the "relative education & training" argument. If you're a cook or graphic designer, you'll make 50% more working for the government. It seems like the only federal employees not getting the best deal are those in foxholes in Afghanistan.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-03-04-federal-pay_N.htm

Posted on: 2010/10/31 21:38
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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skepticalhook wrote: Government employees work for society, but they act like society owes them. Well I say F them.


You sound like a typical Bush/Christie right wing moron. The unions are responsible for all, that is wrong in this country, particularly those evil government worker and teacher unions.

The truth of the matter is this country was on a sound financial footing when Clinton left office and Bush the war criminal screwed it up. Tax cuts for the wealthy, two wars that weren't paid for with tax increases and a slew of unfunded/under-funded mandates.

Now the bills are coming due and the right wing teabagger crowd want to take it out of the hide of government workers. While the banks, hedge funds and multi-nationals continue to skate.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 21:16
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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^^^
Perfectly stated!

Posted on: 2010/10/31 20:56
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Sutherland wrote:
This notion that all of these public employees are pulling in six figure salaries is a bit embellished. There are plenty of poorly paid public employees who aren't earning enough to buy a home in Jersey City. Of course I'm not ignorant to many of the abuses. The assertion that public employees in general are making dramatically more "than the rest of us" is hard to believe and in fact absurd Bankers and Hedgefund people are the really over paid people creating problematic income disparity. Their grossly over paid salaries created an unsustainable and unbearable rate of inflation. In a area where the average home is about $700k, why is anyone astonished by someone with a college degree and 20 plus years or working experience earning $110 to $120k.

My mom worked for the state court system for 20 years and did not earn anywhere near $100k. She barely made $55k. Her pension now pays her approximately 40% of her average salary for her last three years on the job. Nor did she have more than 4 weeks unused vacation or sick time to be paid out. This is hardly a burden on our local economy. I'd like to know what percentage of the public employees fall in my mom's category and what percentage of highly paid folks there are. Among the highly paid folks what percentage are reasonably being paid well. I know for sure that county prosecutors and public defenders aren't "raking in the dough." Yet they have seven years of advanced education and a professional license.

Of course the abuses should be addressed. For instance public employees like some police officers who were putting in for over time while hanging out at home or sometimes even at another job. Unfortunately some of those folks have retired and their pension payout is based upon the salaries they were paid including the falsified OT. So it's probably nearly impossible to figure out how to reclaim those dollars at this point. Still if a propery audit is done uncovering enough abuse I suspect a claim may be made to support a position in an effort to reform the pension obligations to something that would alleviate the impending disaster.



Quote:

brewster wrote:
Quote:

robotjustin wrote:
STOP TELLING TEA PARTY LIES!!!!!!!!!


Sounds right on the money (so to speak) to me. We can no longer afford to have 2 parallel but unequal economies: one of high compensation, benefits and security for public employees, and another for the rest of us.

The problem is $55K isn't a bad public salary for someone with an average education. I'm guessing your mom didn't graduate from college (which for someone making $55K plus benefits and pension, would be a bare minimum in the private sector to earn that). She wasn't a judge--she was a court clerk taking her 5 weeks vacation and unlimited sick pay. These "necessary union percs" are not provided in the private sector.

The public sector unions have muscled their way into inequitable benefits and salaries. And the misery that we non-public employees experience every time that we deal with city, state and federal idiot bureaucrats just confirms that the lowest common denominator in society is working for more as government employees than the actual people that keep this world moving. Government employees work for society, but they act like society owes them. Well I say F them.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 20:36
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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This notion that all of these public employees are pulling in six figure salaries is a bit embellished. There are plenty of poorly paid public employees who aren't earning enough to buy a home in Jersey City. Of course I'm not ignorant to many of the abuses. The assertion that public employees in general are making dramatically more "than the rest of us" is hard to believe and in fact absurd Bankers and Hedgefund people are the really over paid people creating problematic income disparity. Their grossly over paid salaries created an unsustainable and unbearable rate of inflation. In a area where the average home is about $700k, why is anyone astonished by someone with a college degree and 20 plus years or working experience earning $110 to $120k.

My mom worked for the state court system for 20 years and did not earn anywhere near $100k. She barely made $55k. Her pension now pays her approximately 40% of her average salary for her last three years on the job. Nor did she have more than 4 weeks unused vacation or sick time to be paid out. This is hardly a burden on our local economy. I'd like to know what percentage of the public employees fall in my mom's category and what percentage of highly paid folks there are. Among the highly paid folks what percentage are reasonably being paid well. I know for sure that county prosecutors and public defenders aren't "raking in the dough." Yet they have seven years of advanced education and a professional license.

Of course the abuses should be addressed. For instance public employees like some police officers who were putting in for over time while hanging out at home or sometimes even at another job. Unfortunately some of those folks have retired and their pension payout is based upon the salaries they were paid including the falsified OT. So it's probably nearly impossible to figure out how to reclaim those dollars at this point. Still if a propery audit is done uncovering enough abuse I suspect a claim may be made to support a position in an effort to reform the pension obligations to something that would alleviate the impending disaster.



Quote:

brewster wrote:
Quote:

robotjustin wrote:
STOP TELLING TEA PARTY LIES!!!!!!!!!


Sounds right on the money (so to speak) to me. We can no longer afford to have 2 parallel but unequal economies: one of high compensation, benefits and security for public employees, and another for the rest of us.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 19:38
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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robotjustin wrote:
STOP TELLING TEA PARTY LIES!!!!!!!!!


Sounds right on the money (so to speak) to me. We can no longer afford to have 2 parallel but unequal economies: one of high compensation, benefits and security for public employees, and another for the rest of us.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 16:49
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Re: Do we cut the public employees a break?
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STOP TELLING TEA PARTY LIES!!!!!!!!!

Posted on: 2010/10/31 15:54
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None of the recent 'cost cutting' is going to have any real effect because the 800 lbs rabid gorilla in the room is being ignored: Pensions, salaries, and insurance benefits.

One study, which assumes a very generous 8% return on investment, put the bankruptcy date of NJ pension system at 2019. So if this study is even in the ball park and we get a double dip in the recession (very likely), the pension system will be wiped out much earlier.

What does this mean? All those who took early retirement will see part or all of their pensions go up in smoke. State pension systems are not guaranteed by the Federal govt. With Social Security now cash flow negative (there is no 'Trust Fund' folks), the Feds are not going to be in a position to bail out the States.

The Police, Fire, and other unions are going to have to make some really tough choices to prevent a complete disaster. This will mean:

Ending multiple pensions.. now... even for those currently drawing them.
Serious reduction in payouts to those already in the system.
No more lifetime insurance
All new employees, recent hires, or those 20+ years to retirement are placed in a defined contribution plan (401k type plan).
Freeze on all salary increases.
Demotions (we can't have a fire department full of $120k+ a year supervisors).

I have no expectation for the above to happen though. It will be business as usual until the first pension check bounces or the City misses a debt payment (the city is over $800 mil in the hole). Then all hell will break lose. Jersey City will be in Chapter 9 bankruptcy and the State will be in default (States have defaulted before).

Posted on: 2010/10/31 13:48
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Do we cut the public employees a break?
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Over the past year we've seen some major changes driven by cost reductions across Jersey City. A lot of long-term public employees have cut and run, taking their pension, unused sick days entitlements, etc. The JCPD are also being asked to make further cost cutting.

As a resident I think there are always ways to improve public services to JC. And over the past few years we've challenged public spending, and provided multiple opinions on how things could be improved. To those public employees, that have not cut and run, not taken the pension/payoff when you could, I'd like to say a big THANK YOU. You are the type of people we need to help JC get back on it's feet.

Us JC residents are a tough crowd to please, but I personally want to thank those of you who haven't bailed out on us.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 2:44
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