View Full Version : More government fiscal responsibility

04-26-2010, 02:45 PM
or...another reason California is going broke!



04-27-2010, 06:39 PM
And people dont wonder how we are going to pay over 2,000,000 federal employee's.

<span style='font-size: 14pt'><span style="color: #000000">More than 1 in 3 of San Francisco's nearly 27,000 city workers earned $100,000 or more last year - a number that has been growing steadily for the past decade.

The number of city workers paid at least $100,000 in base salary totaled 6,449 last year. When such extras as overtime are included, the number jumped to 9,487 workers, nearly eight times the number from a decade ago. And that calculation doesn't include the cost of often-generous city benefits such as health care and pensions.

&lt;&lt; See database of city's top earners &gt;&gt;

The pay data obtained by The Chronicle show that many of the high earners bolstered their base pay with overtime and "other pay," a category that includes payouts for unused vacation days and extra money for working late-night shifts.

Leading 2009's $100,000 Club was the Police Department's Charles Keohane, a deputy chief who retired midyear.

His total payout was $516,118, city records show, the bulk of which came from cashing out stored-up vacation, sick days and comp time. Several other police employees who changed rank or retired also saw their annual earnings swell.

When asked how he felt about landing in the No. 1 spot, Keohane joked, "Not so good, if it's going to get my name in the paper."

The 36-year SFPD veteran, whose last assignment was head of administration, said much of that pay was taken out in taxes. "I helped reduce the deficit," he said.

The average city worker salary in San Francisco is $93,000 before benefits, according to Deputy City Controller Monique Zmuda. The data take into account everyone from park gardeners and street cleaners to attorneys and technology specialists.

Almost 100 city employees made $200,000 or more in 2009; six bumped past $300,000 when overtime and other cash-outs were included.
Muni chief's base pay

Only one city employee had a base salary topping $300,000. Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the Municipal Transportation Agency, made $332,489.

Mayor Gavin Newsom had a base salary of $250,903 in 2009, which put him 29th on the list of best-paid city employees.

The ballooning number of highly paid workers is driven by several factors, including inflation, a persistent reliance on overtime and generous contracts in a city known for its politically potent unions.

The city also negotiated a deal to give raises to some workers who agreed to pick up a portion of their pension contributions, City Controller Ben Rosenfield said. That arrangement pushed almost 2,000 city employees above the $100,000 mark in recent years, he said.

In years past, the $100,000 Club included large numbers of Muni operators, transit supervisors, firefighters, police officers and sheriff's deputies who padded their paychecks with hundreds of hours of overtime, paid out at a rate of time-and-a-half.

But a 2008 rule capped most employees' overtime to 30 percent of base pay, in effect spreading out overtime opportunities to more employees, Zmuda said. That and other efforts to curtail overtime appear to be working, with payments projected to drop to $139.8 million this fiscal year, down from $142.1 million last year and $167.7 million the year before, according to the controller's office.

In the fiscal year that ended in June 2009, city salaries accounted for $2.5 billion of the $6.6 billion budget. That does not include the cost of benefits.

Faced with a $483 million deficit heading into the new fiscal year that starts July 1, Newsom is looking to reduce labor costs to help plug the gap.

The mayor last week struck a tentative deal with union negotiators that includes 12 furlough days, equivalent to a 4.6 percent pay cut, for about 90 percent of city workers. The mayor also has asked city department heads and their top managers to take a 10 percent pay cut. The mayor and his chief of staff plan to give up 15 percent of their salary.
Good work

For some government jobs, San Francisco pays similar salaries as other Bay Area jurisdictions, according to compensation surveys compiled by the city's Department of Human Resources.

For example, a stationary engineer in San Francisco earns a maximum annual base salary of $72,488, 1.6 percent above the Bay Area average. A San Francisco police officer has a maximum base salary of $102,648, 2.8 percent above the average.

Payroll clerks, however, have a base salary of $54,314, 16.4 percent higher than the average, and firefighters make $100,646 in base salary, 6.6 percent above the average, the surveys showed.

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Falk said that annual salaries of $100,000 or more aren't as eye-popping as they were a decade ago.

"I don't think the $100,000 pay threshold continues to be the best measure of city government efficiency. It is certainly a good tool for monitoring anomalies and excessive overtime pay, but the real concern is the pay comparison with the private sector," he said.
Above private sector

He pointed to state Employment Development Department data that show city workers on average earn 20 percent more than those in the private sector in San Francisco.

In addition, Falk said, city workers "have significantly better health and pension benefits" that continue to be the biggest cost driver threatening city services. That needs to be reformed, he said.

Many of the highest-earning city employees - including engineers, doctors and attorneys - are paid comparably to their counterparts in the private sector or can help make up for earning less pay with better benefits.

"City government is becomingly increasingly technical and more sophisticated, and you have to pay for the talent," said Bob Muscat, head of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21.

In 2007, when Newsom was running for a second term as mayor, he negotiated a 23 percent pay increase for police and firefighters spread over four years. Muni drivers, whose pay is guaranteed under the voter-approved city charter to be the second highest among American transit operators, are set to get an 8 percent raise July 1.

Biggest earners: Search a database of San Francisco's $100,000 Club members here.</span></span>

04-27-2010, 08:24 PM
How about the CA teacher's Cadillac retirement pensions? Why not retire rather than serve?

California pension reform group posts list of 3000 retired teachers with pensions of $100,000 or more
Under the Freedom of Information Act the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility (CFFR) has obtained and posted “The CalSTRS $100,000 Pension Club” — a list of more than 3,000 retired educators who are receiving pensions of $100,000 or more per year.

04-28-2010, 06:47 AM
Those retirement pensions are paid by the taxpayer. They could be subject to change.

It seems the largest problem with pensions is that the money for them is never well invested so that the actual payments don't come back to bite the tax payer.

If the state is going to agree to the demands of the teachers union where as expenditures such as pensions are concerned then it is incumbent on the state to have those funds stored away accruing interest and inaccessible for use other than what they are intended in the first place.

CA is the testing ground for what the rest of the nation is going to be facing shortly.

04-29-2010, 10:36 AM
Here is a story of NY and here in CA the teacher's retirement fund was invested in Madoff's Ponzi Scheme - they will be looking for taxpayers to bail them out.

Teachers' pension fund under-funded by $36B

Last Updated: 2:04 PM, April 13, 2010

Posted: 2:00 PM, April 13, 2010

Comments: 10 | More Print
We’re in double the trouble.

The city’s teachers pension plan is under-funded by as much as $36 billion — more than twice the current estimates of that gap, according to an alarming new report.

While in much better shape, the State's retirement system could be as much as $25 billion short of the funding needed to fulfill its pay-out promises.

Overall, a new Manhattan Institute study found that teacher pension systems across the nation are under-funded by $484 billion because they’re overestimating the returns on their investments.

That money is guaranteed by taxpayers — through tax hikes or cuts in services — no matter how the funds ultimately perform.

The failure of pension systems to account for the recent stock market plunge in their balances boosts the funding shortfall by an additional $116 billion, the study says.

Adding both of the shortfalls to the current funding gap estimate of $332 billion puts the country’s pension plans at a whopping $933 billion in the hole.

"States need to recognize how expensive this problem is that they’ve created," said Josh Barro, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. "We think that states need to do what's been done in the private sector and start moving employees to defined-contribution plans, like 401Ks."

Barro said the crux of the problem is that most public pension plans — including New York’s — guarantee a hefty 8 percent return on their investments.

By contrast, most private pension funds anticipate a more reasonable return of 6 percent, the study says.

Applying the more conservative estimate of returns — and factoring in the recent stock market losses — shows just 46 percent of the city’s pension plan to be funded.

The average across the 59 city and state pension plans studied was a 54 percent funding rate — with New York State’s ranking fourth overall, at 77 percent.

While Barro applauded recent changes to the city’s teachers pension plan, he said its relief was still a long way off.

Those changes — which created a new Tier V category for entering teachers — doubled vesting time to 10 years, raised the retirement age to 62, and extended annual employee contributions through their retirement.

"I’d call it a small step in the right direction," Barro said.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/teach...L#ixzz0mVXLMgZq (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/teachers_pension_fund_under_funded_uz1t6WZIxCJcB90 Jqd6PoL#ixzz0mVXLMgZq)

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/teach...L#ixzz0mVXLPhTW (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/teachers_pension_fund_under_funded_uz1t6WZIxCJcB90 Jqd6PoL#ixzz0mVXLPhTW)

04-29-2010, 10:41 AM
"CA is the testing ground for what the rest of the nation is going to be facing shortly."

Not a pretty picture.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Study: California Public Pensions Underfunded by Over $500B

California's three major public pension funds are underfunded by more than half a trillion dollars, according to a report released Monday, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) commissioned the study, which was prepared by graduate students at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (Theriault, San Jose Mercury News, 4/5).

The study examined:

•The California Public Employees' Retirement System;
•The California State Teachers' Retirement System; and
•The University of California's retirement system (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/5).
The three systems serve about 2.6 million retirees (Bussewitz, AP/Ventura County Star, 4/5).

Report Details

The Stanford report estimates that California's shortfall for government pensions and health care benefits is about $535 billion (Anderson, Contra Costa Times, 4/5).

Researchers tallied CalPERS' unfunded liabilities at $239.7 billion and CalSTRS' liabilities at $156.7 billion.

The new figures are significantly higher than previous estimates from the pension funds. In July 2008, CalPERS estimated its unfunded liabilities at $38.6 billion and CalSTRS estimated its liabilities at $16.2 billion (AP/Ventura County Star, 4/5).

Pension Liabilities Could Lead To Health Cuts, Other Changes

The Stanford report suggests that California would need to put $360 billion into its pension and health benefit systems immediately to have an 80% chance of meeting 80% of the obligations within 16 years (Contra Costa Times, 4/5).

Schwarzenegger in a statement said the study "reinforces the immediate need to address our staggering pension debt." He added, "The consequences are clear: increasingly large portions of state funding for programs Californians hold dear such as schools, parks and health care will be diverted to pay for this debt."

The governor previously has proposed tightening eligibility requirements for retiree health care benefits and other changes to the pension system (AP/Ventura County Star, 4/5).

The new report echoes some of Schwarzenegger's proposals and calls for lawmakers to:

•Reduce benefits for new public employees;
•Raise annual pension contributions; and
•Shift workers into a partial 401k benefit plan (San Jose Mercury