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Public pension costs on the rise

Original post made on Sep 23, 2009

With the fund for the California Public Employees' Retirement System dropping 23 percent in the 2008-09 fiscal year, local jurisdictions will be asked to shoulder more of the burden.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 9:34 PM

Comments (49)

Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 23, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Just some more despicable public sector corruption. Move along, nothing unusual here.


Posted by Harry, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 23, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Interesting point, given that a current union proposal is to negotiate a freeze in salary increases for two years as a "cost-cutting" measure. A retirement benefit cost increase that is >35% is not my idea of saving money.

The private sector has long ago abandoned the notion of guaranteed future salary and benefit increases, regardless of the health of the business. The public sector should not make such guarantees, nor take them for granted as a baseline in cost-cutting negotiations.


Posted by alvin spectre, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2009 at 12:44 pm

yet another reason why Atherton should get rid of its police department.


Posted by Fiscally responsible, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Alvin's point is very prescient. I doubt Atherton is taking into consideration the escalating pension commitments when coming up with their back of the envelope figures of why the police department costs just this much, and why our "safety" and "special services" justify that $750/household outlay. What is the projected outlay with these pension costs factored in with various assumptions and scenarios? Residents deserve to know before making their vote.


Posted by public servant, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2009 at 9:23 am

I work for a small town here on the Peninsula.

I am better than those of you who post such derogatory comments about me and my colleagues.

I am better than you because money is not my primary motivation for comming to work each day.

I am better than you because I absorb your insults and still hold my head high.

I am better than you because I know what work life balance is. Because I choose to leave the office each day at five to see my family instead of avoiding those whom I profess to love so that I can attend to supposedly more pressing committments at the office.

I am better than you because I made the wise choice of accepting a much lower salary in exchange for a decent pension while you wasted the extra money you earned on fancy imported cars and now look forward to working at McDonalds to supplement your social security during the later years of your life.

I am better than you because I work in an industry that sees value in helping those whom are less fortunate, the infirm, the poor, the ignorant.

By calling me despicable without attempting to get to know me you reveal just what kind of a person you yourself really are and regrettably that kind of person is not a pretty sight.


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 24, 2009 at 9:48 am

Er, do we really want, much less need, workers on the payroll who are so focused on enumerating the ways in which they are better than we are? They work for us! If I were the city manager, I would fire anyone with that kind of attitude. Oh wait...they're union members -- they can't be fired!

public servant, you have revealed what kind of person you yourself really are, and no one is surprised.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2009 at 11:04 am

Taxpayer, you might have more accurately called yourself "slaveholder" with the attitude you seem to have about public employees. A public employee "works for us" in exchange for decent compensation. The person you want to see fired was addressing "those of you who post such derogatory comments about me and my colleagues," not anyone who disagrees with him/her. And yes, that person is "better" in terms of taking the high road than posters whose union-bashing agenda causes them to be disrespectful and vicious toward people who are providing public service to our community.

I think post-employment benefits are out of control. They need to be brought under control. But I see no need to attack public employees in general. Many -- most, in my experience -- are committed to doing the best job they can, and they, like anyone else, deserve our respect.


Posted by taypayer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Not just public employees, Diana. I suppose I should have clarified. I don't think anyone who serves customers, whether working in a private capacity (law firm, medical office, grocery store) or the public sector (well-paying, 40 hour/week job with awesome pension and benefits) should be looking down on the people whose hard-earned money pays their salaries. Note I'm not even expecting people in these roles to be competent, just respectful. In what universe does expecting respect from people whose salaries we pay make us slaveholders?

Someone has a serious and unmerited sense of entitlement, and it aint me.


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm

The private sector argument just doesn't fly with me when the VCs and the execs start coming to council meetings.

These execs and VCs I see asking the city to look at the private sector to see how it works seems insincere.

These guys in Menlo Park, make a ton of money at company X, Y and Z. They manage big funds made up of big money players around the country. These funds are critical to the success in our key sector, technology. So they do provide a great service.

But these guys are part of an elite group of players who know when and where to get in and get out of opportunities. Most people do not have that luxury. We work long hours for a good salary (much better than the public sector for the most part) but few of us get the big win on IPO or some form of exit strategy.

We don't get homes in Menlo Park from one deal. We get to work hard at another company and hope those shares go up. Most often, they don't. They remain flat and those VCs move on and the execs move on and they get into new opportunities and they get to buy more homes in other places.

I understand the middle of the road private sector worker having issues with peers in the public sector getting set up for life, if they work enough time to get it.

But a lot of folks out here are playing the lotto with their careers, jumping from one start up to another hoping to become one of the elite VCs, to get the big payout. The public sector is no lotto, just a long career and a payout at the end.

No one forced you into the private sector. No one forced me into it. I could have and could still join the public sector. I don't want to.

But having a multi-millionaire VC exec, an insider among insiders, having a choice to work or not, telling us that life is unfair is just a joke.

You guys aren't looking out for us middle of the roaders so don't pretend to now. You are looking our for your political ideology.

Just be honest about it.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 25, 2009 at 11:19 am

Public sector corruption is despicable. The form of the corruption is that politicians take money from taxpayers and give it to public sector unions in the form of grossly inflated compensation / benefits in exchange for votes and support. Everyone wins except the citizenry.

If so-called "public servants" desire respect, then they should ensure that their representatives do not participate in corrupt practices. Everyone, even our "public servants," should receive fair, market-based compensation, not ridiculous and unaffordable salaries, pensions, and benefits.

By "fair", I mean, the minimum possible compensation commensurate with hiring qualified employees.


Posted by Captain, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Sep 25, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Public sector corruption is despicable. The form of the corruption is that politicians take money from taxpayers and give it to public sector unions in the form of grossly inflated compensation / benefits in exchange for votes and support. Everyone wins except the citizenry.

That's pretty much it!


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 26, 2009 at 7:11 am

Glen Rojas, the city manager for Menlo Park, makes over $250,000 per year in salary and bonuses. FYI


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2009 at 8:02 am

The personal attack on Glen Kramer by "Long Time Resident" is despicable. I cannot believe that the Almanac does not consider it objectionable content and remove it as I asked. As "Long Time Fool" stated, Mr and Mrs Kramer retired at 55, therefore to cast dispersions as to Mr. Kramer's educational abilities more than 30 years ago should cause the same disgust in you as it does in me.

My God what is wrong with you people. Are any of you really interested in resolving the problems we face, or are you more interested in spreading as much muck around as you can.

Long Time Fool and those of the same ilk should hang their heads in shame.


Posted by Richard Hine, managing editor of The Almanac
on Sep 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Richard Hine is a registered user.

Interested: I took the post you referred to offline. TownSquare is a place to constructively exchange information and ideas, not disparage individuals.


Posted by A Public Servant, a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2009 at 7:53 pm

To whom it may concern,
It is my opinion that people in down times always look for a scapegoat, someone or something to blame for the state of things and the reason why they are that way. When the Dot Com Bust happened was it the public sector that was being greedy and cooking the books no it was the private sector. The housing (Bank failures) bust and Wall Streets failures of 2008 was it the public sector that was being greedy and cheating the system no it was the private sector.

Hence my point, we whom you rely on to take care of your cities infrastructure are called upon 24/7 365 days a year to ensure that you have the services you so very well deserve and we take great strides to see that you receive with your hard earned money just that.

Labor unions protect workers from unfair treatment and ensure that a fair contract is reached by all parties. It is true Calpers has had some financial problems due to some shortcomings mostly from the private sectors failures at being truthful and honest with their financial dealings. No doubt that things will have to change in the near future and they probably will.

I myself have worked in the public sector for 20 years at one place and have strove to be the best at my job and provide the public at large my very best. I also believe public service for the most part is very satisfying and I enjoy serving the public that I deal with.

Please stop the name calling, that serves no one and solves nothing. One thing that I think people misunderstand is how Calpers works, read up on it. I won't try to explain all the legal stuff that goes with it (Not enough space here to go into detail). Just know that we are people too and even though we may not live in your city we take pride it providing you with the best we have to offer.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Dear "Public Servant", is there some way that I can opt out of your ridiculously expensive and inefficient services? No? You will take my money at the point of a gun? Thank you for your "service."


Posted by A Public Sevant, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2009 at 9:35 am

Dear Joseph E. Davis you offer nothing to this discussion but anger, sad very sad. How do you provide service to others?


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 1, 2009 at 11:21 am

By creating things of value that they want and voluntarily pay me for. It's a win win situation.

I am indeed angry at the corrupt nature of our government and the special interests that leech money from it against the common interest, an excellent example being public sector unions. I urge my fellow citizens to become equally angry if they think it justified.


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Joeseph E. Davis,

You are a thoughtful, insightful, prescient person who really cares about the community. You really cut to the heart of the matter and expose the insidious alliance between the SEIU and the Menlo Park City Council. Woodside is fortunate to not have Union Stewards as council members.


Posted by A Public Servant, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Dear Joseph E. Davis, sounds like your a Lawyer,Real Estate Agent Or Insurance Salesman to me.Now I will stop you right there, My wife is a teacher and works far too hard and receives far too little a salary to deal with kids whose parents don't want to raise their own and expect teachers to be held accountable, when it should be the parents held accountable. My wife stays late every night to ensure she is prepared o carry out her responsibility. I see that you are just a whiner with no solutions but hey I don't want to pay for what is reasonable. Maybe your 401k dried up, not because of my wife nor myself,it's because of the private sectors failings at being honest and playing by the rules. go figure that it's always somebody else s fault for your problems. Sad I work hard and earn a decent salary, my wife works even harder and because we chose a government job which gives us less pay on the front side we receive flack for having a decent retirement(Calpers. Go get a government job and learn to live with less money, who knows maybe you won't be living in Woodside anymore then you can join me whereI live in a 1000 sq. ft. home with 4 adults in it. That's my reality


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Public Servant, in many ways, your post speaks for itself.

I have worked mostly in the private sector, mostly for a lower salary and essentially non-existent benefits compared to those of city employees. I have also worked for two nonprofits, and in those situations have received even less money but slightly better benefits. I wish I could get a job with the city. I am envious of their work hours, salaries, and benefits. Many of my neighbors feel the same.

Just because a few greedy people created havoc in our financial system does not mean that the private sector has failed. If it had, we wouldn't be having this discussion because there would be no money for those who are fortunate to feasting at the city trou..payroll. You have jobs only because we all work hard to pay your salary and retirement.

I don't know what overpaying our city employees has to do with our teachers (also unionized, what a joke), though I certainly wouldn't accuse any local parents of abdicating their responsibilities, as most are extremely involved in their children's education and many volunteer in the classroom and wherever else needed.

It's a fact that the geometrically increasing cost of supporting city employees is now driving the decisions that the council is making. The council's focus should be on the wellbeing of the community, but instead, many decisions are framed in terms of whether or not they are helping pay for the staff's salary and retirement. That's just backwards!


Posted by A Public Servant, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Dear taxpayer, I think I have a solution. Since city governments are in a sad state of finances and so are public schools maybe we should resend prop. 13 that way the cities won't suffer or the schools. Since it was The Jarvis/Gann initiative that caused the mess years ago by capping property tax increases to a maximum of 1% a year, that is really at the bottom of this. It really all comes down to funding right!
That's a great solution start taxing the people who have the higher priced homes in the fancier parts of the state with the big paychecks accordingly. That ought to bring things back down to earth.


Posted by curious, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Whose portfolio didn't drop in 2009... and who's hasn't come back a long way... Why in the world does anyone think that 23% needs to be restored immediately? In theory... the fund is paid for by current employees paying into it anyways.... like social security... except that public employees put a larger percent into their retirement than gets put into Social Security. (ok... and it is matched...)

IF by some miracle the fund is solvent perhaps fixing social security shortfall could be in part just having everyone put a bit MORE into the pie for the future. (and to stop allowing politicians to use it as a slush fund.... for their poor money management)(and lifting the caps)

I'm not sure why the CALPERS investments would have been put into anything so volatile, but then again I was amazed that San Mateo County lost so much in the Lehman Brother's collapse.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2009 at 4:50 am

Curious...Am afraid you are incorrect about the way CalPers is funded. It is not funded by the employee in many cases at all. And when employees do make contributions they are capped at 8% of salary. The rest of the monthly contribution is paid by the Employer (In CalPers case that's YOU)and can be well over 30 percent of salary.

CalPers did not invest in volatile markets. On the contrary their investments are quite conservative, however like everybody else they lost out on real estate and other investments.

You are correct that the current 23% required to "balance" the fund is a long term need. If the assets increase in value the requirement is less, however because CalPers is a Defined Benefit program you will always be responsible for ensuring its viability.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Public "Servant", my solution is to shrink the size of the public sector to match what taxpayers can sustain. I think that means firing at least 50% of the public sector employees and cutting benefits dramatically to the rest. Although that will cause hardship in the short term, it will be a net benefit to society, since most public sector jobs don't really need to be done in the first place.

I am an engineer, not a lawyer, real estate agent, or salesperson. But those people deserve respect to the extent that they engage in *voluntary* commercial activities, and do not compel me or anyone else to pay them at the point of a gun, unlike your fellow "servants".


Posted by A Public Servant, a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Dear Joseph E. Davis,
Your solution seems like you've put no thought into the situation as I see it. Who will do your building inspections when you have work done on your home?, who will fill your potholes on your street when you need them filled?. Who will keep your parks clean and groomed when you want to take your kids there?, who will repair your sewer lines when they need repairing?. You ! Those are just a few of the things that we do. Who will you call when somebody burglarizes your home?, who will you call when your house is on fire? I know and work with engineers at times, yes the public sector has dealings with engineers and I know that there are two types, the ones who actually visit the site where the work is to be performed and then there are the ones who sit at a computer and use AutoCad and never have had any field experience, which catagory do you fall under? I know I work damn hard at my job and provide the public the best of my God given abilities every day. I earn my pay, that's why they call it labor. I think if you get your way you shall live to regret ever wishing that, when your streets deteriate or your sewers fail. Next time you need a cop, fireman or a building inspector why don't you take care of it youself after all your an engineer.


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Public servant, there are many kinds of engineers, just as there are many kinds of city employees. No need to stereotype!

Many of the tasks that you specify -- the pothole filling, the park maintenance -- are outsourced by the city, and most of us have to pay for our own plumbers. Outsourcing is great -- saves the city a lot of money while giving us short-term specialized assistance -- and enables us to wean ourselves off the bottomless pit of union greed.

Joseph Davis is right: the number of people working for the city needs to be halved. And Menlo Park would run just fine without those extra servants. I find it interesting, for example, that a few key positions in the community services area, including that of director, are currently empty with no apparent degradation of services. The traffic department has tripled in size with no apparent improvement in management or maintenance of traffic signals or vehicular flow. (In fact, on some streets the traffic has gotten worse as a result of changes to the lights, but that is a topic for another thread.) Our city, like others up and down the peninsula, is way overdue for a housecleaning.


Posted by A Public Servant, a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2009 at 5:15 am

Really Pothole filling is outsourced and your park maintenance is outsourced and plumbers are doing your main sewer repairs. I think you need a wake up call friend. Do you really think that somebody will have a vested interest in working in your city at half the cost and half the pay,you think your city would remain the way it looks today. Go take a drive over to East Palo Alto some day for a reality check. You people make good money in your jobs yet you only complain about government work when times are lean, when your profits are high you soon forget about us little people behind the scenes. Go watch Michael Moore's New Movie (Capitalism: A Love Story). You'd be surprised at who the real crooks are out there, it's not us bottom feeders. I hope you get what you want, privatize and watch your services go down. Like my Father used to say you get what you pay for and he lived a good long life and wasn't a rich elitist neither.


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 3, 2009 at 9:15 am

No, PS, no one will be working for half the pay. But the city hires a company to come fill potholes for a few weeks each year. They are well paid, and it's a lot cheaper for MP than having them on staff and having to pay their retirement benefits for 40 years after their period of productivity ends. Same with park maintenance -- the city hires gardeners.

The people who work for the city should get good salaries, but given that they tend to work pretty easy hours (40 hours/week is just not reality in the private sector -- try 60+ hours for no extra money or benefits) and have that lethal defined benefits package, they have no cause to whine. And I believe our city could do just fine with a much smaller staff. I'm not talking about cutting back on police or firefighters but about the folks who hang out at City Hall all day and go to meetings and complain on this forum.

You seem to have subscribed to some myth that most people in the private sector make a bundle. Yeah, there are a few crooks who walked off with a mint -- just as there are a few criminals in public sector jobs -- but a lot of us also are bottom feeders, without fancy retirement packages. We're not hedge fund managers or venture capitalists. There's a lot of pretty ugly selfishness among city employees. Just curious, PS, do you contribute to any charities? Or do you think that should be the sole responsibility of the private sector?


Posted by A Public Servant, a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2009 at 9:39 am

Dear Taxpayer,
Yeah ever hear Of the Southern Poverty Law Center or maybe Habitat For Humanity or The World Wildlife Foundation Or Maybe Greenpeace Or May Christian Children's Fund, I've sponsered two girls in Ethiopia for over twenty years and you?????? P.S. I work for an hourly wage it's different than salaried employees, Thats why I get overtime. See there is this thing called Labor Laws anything over 40 hours is 1 & 1/2 times my hourly wage. Another thing I can't afford on what I make to live in Menlo Park, See some of us have a different reality, go see Michael Moore's new movie and maybe you'll learn something about most of America's reality not yours.


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 3, 2009 at 10:47 am

Reality is that Menlo Park City employees make 44% more salary and 63% more benefits than people in comparable positions in the private sector. It is time that all the cities in San Mateo Couny band together and set a salary for city positions county wide. No salary or benfit increase should be given until the City salaries are on par with the private sector

The next step is to convert to the Saratoga model and gradually outsource most city services to private companies. We just can not afford the SEIU.


Posted by Curious, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 3, 2009 at 11:09 am

Hank: Please give us a source for your statistics.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Curious.....I would not hold my breath if I was you


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 3, 2009 at 5:59 pm

You smug leftists. There are more sources of news than the New York Times and the Washington Post. This past Summer Diana Diamond ran a series of articles in the Daily Post exposing the egregious disparity in pay and benefits between city workers and the private sector. Now go back to reading a Paul Krugman editorial in the New York Times and reading the Nation.


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 3, 2009 at 6:29 pm

I don't know anything about this publication, but here's a citation: Web Link -- and here's another: Web Link

That's with about 10 seconds of online searching. But empirically speaking, it makes sense. Just look next door at Palo Alto, where managers with average salary/benefits exceeding $160k/year are considering unionizing so they can obtain even more.

Public Servant, in the private sector, only the lowest paid workers get paid overtime, those earning minimum wage (or a little bit more) typically in crummy service jobs. Most working stiffs in the private and non-profit sectors work very long hours and don't get a cent extra, much less 150% of our salary for each hour worked overtime.


Posted by Ah To Be A Real American, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 3, 2009 at 9:42 pm

So now the Washington Post is leftist too, eh Hank?
So I guess that we all should read Sun Young Moon's Washington Times instead as an unbiased source of information?
And of course Diane Diamond is just the local version of that beacon of all that is great with "real Americans" living in "real America", a.k.a., Ann Coulter, eh?
Ah, if only Joe McCarthy were around - he'd set this nation straight, eh Hankie?


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 4, 2009 at 7:17 am

Ah To Be A Real American,

And who was McCarthy's second chair sitting right next to him going after the communists? Why it was none other than your beloved Robert Francis Kennedy ("RFK"), the brother of Ted Kennedy.

You know Ted? He is the one who tried to get his cousin Joe Gagnon to take the fall for him at Chappaquidick.


Posted by beancounter, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Hank

Back up your statistics!


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 5, 2009 at 7:27 am

Bean Counter,

This is from the Bureau of Labor & Statistics.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2008, the average yearly pay for state and local government employees was $53,800. That's $13,500 more than the average private-sector employee.

There also is a huge gap between public and private employees in benefit packages. The average annual benefits for government workers is $27,800. It's only $16,600 for private-sector workers.

Total compensation (salary, pensions and other benefits) for the average public worker is $81,600, far above the $56,900 for private-sector employees. That's difference of $24,700 or 43.41%.

This is from the Oakland Tribune dated August 11, 2009

The argument that ever-higher pay and benefits are needed to retain public employees is bogus in most instances other than law enforcement.

There is little market demand for public employees, who generally are not seeking to leave their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says job turnover is tiny in the public sector compared with the private sector.

The fact is that especially during a weak economy, public employees could be retained and well-compensated with salary freezes and a two-tier pay and benefit system in which new hires would receive 401(k) plans or contribute substantially to their retirement benefits.

We do not intend to demean state and local public employees.

They offer valuable services that are essential to the well-being of society. But their total compensation has risen faster than the average private-sector taxpayer's ability to fund it.

Even with substantial reductions in benefits and/or increases in contribution toward pensions, public employees would still fare better than their counterparts in private business.

What is needed is a better sense of balance by state and local government officials regarding fair compensation for public employees and fairness toward taxpayers. It is not an easy task, but it is an essential one to prevent future fiscal crises and even bankruptcies.

Bean Counter,

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Unless of course you are smoking something else.


Posted by A Public Servant, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 8:40 am

Looks like your statistics guy James E. MacDougald from The Free Enterprise Nation sure isn't hurting for money. I know he got it the old fashioned way, by providing a service which is free to purchase with no gun at your head, yeah right. Look here Web Link , then go see Michael Moore's new movie if you so dare!

Professional:
MacDougald spent 17 years in the employee benefits division of Home Life Insurance Company of New York. With the help of his wife, Suzanne, Jim founded the company that eventually became ABR Information Services, Inc. In 1994, the company went public (NASDAQ:ABRX). In 1995, 1996 and 1997, ABR was named as one of "The Best 200 Small Companies in America" by Forbes Magazine. ABR stock increased 1000% from 1994 to 1999 and was acquired by Ceridian Corporation (NYSE:CEN) in 1999.

MacDougald later became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NYSE:OMR) and later to NASDAQ:OMEX. MacDougald retired in 2001 and has dedicated his time since then to public service.


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 9:43 am

Public Servant, what does the fact that someone in the private sector makes a ridiculous amount of money have to do with the issue at hand? Or are you arguing that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (itself a government agency) is wrong?

The fact is that government employees are overpaid relative to employees doing comparable work in the private sector, and we're not even talking about retirement benefits. We, the taxpaying public, can no longer afford to subsidize this outrageous imbalance.


Posted by A Public Servant, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 10:36 am

Where is the Bureau of Labor Statistics web link to this information so as to be fair. I think that if that info is there I would at least like to look at it first hand. Thank you Taxpayer


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Oh Hank.....What a shame you are to lazy to do your own research and just try to repeat what you have read elsewhere.

"Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, 6 hours ago

Bean Counter,
This is from the Bureau of Labor & Statistics.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2008, the average yearly pay for state and local government employees was $53,800. That's $13,500 more than the average private-sector employee.

There also is a huge gap between public and private employees in benefit packages. The average annual benefits for government workers is $27,800. It's only $16,600 for private-sector workers.

Total compensation (salary, pensions and other benefits) for the average public worker is $81,600, far above the $56,900 for private-sector employees. That's difference of $24,700'

And from MediaNews editorial

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2008, the average yearly pay for state and local government employees was $53,800. That's $13,500 more than the average private-sector employee.

There also is a huge gap between public and private employees in benefit packages. The average annual benefits for government workers is $27,800. It's only $16,600 for private-sector workers.

Total compensation (salary, pensions and other benefits) for the average public worker is $81,600, far above the $56,900 for private-sector employees. That's difference of $24,700.

Hank, have you no shame, you can't even do your own research. You are a plagarist


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Interested,

You are an illiterate. Because you obviously don't know the meaning of the word plagiarist. A plagiarist is one who steals from another's work and represents that as his own. If you attribute the information to the originator then it is not plagiarism.

For Instance, Vice President Joe Biden appropriated words from one of Neil Kinnock's speeches without attribution. Neil Kinnock was the leader of the UK's Labor Party at the time of Biden's plagiarism. Biden plagiarized Neil Kinnocks words for one of his own speeches in September 1987 when he ran for President in the Democratic Primary. I got the information regarding Joe Biden's plagiarism from the UK telegraph dated August 23, 2008.

See how weak the leftist mind is. This is a result of reading far left propaganda rags such as the Nation and then actually believing what it says.


Posted by Palabra Smith, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Sorry, but "interested" is right. That's plagiarism when you cut-and-paste published work without correct attribution.

The Media News editorial writer may have gotten the information from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, but interpreting the information (and translating it out of bureaucratic jargon and into English) is the work of the editorial writer and should be credited as such.


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Dear Word Smith,

You don't know what the heck you are talking about (a normal state of mind for the far-left). I gave full attribution. You always give attribution to the originator and not the secondary source.

This is more than what your Buddy Joe Biden did. He had to drop out of the Democratic presidential primary because of his blatant plagiarism.

I can not believe the sophmoric comments that come from people like you. You should take time to learn the English language.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Hank.

[Portion deleted.].

1. You did NOT quote the BLS in your comments to Bean Counter. You quoted exactly an editorial comment without attributing it to its original author or source. Read the dictionary. Look for the word Plagiarist. You will find yourself.

2. [portion deleted], you resort to a wrong assumption that because I find your behavior reprehensible I must oppose your political views. On the contrary, I, rather than being a "Leftist", am more conservative than you will ever be.

3. Biden may have plagiarized Kinnocks speech, but at least he did not repeat it word for word as you have done in your post. Indeed I will be surprised if the Almanac allows it to remain since neither they or you have paid to reprint them word for word on this website.

Oh and Hank...lets not forget that both Biden and Kinnock lost their argument..Kinnock to be replaced by a certain Tony Blair (apparently about to become President of Europe, God Forbid) and Biden to become an ineffectual Vice President.

But at least you and Biden have something in common...You cant think for yourselves


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Interested [portion deleted] I gave full attribution to my sources. Now have another glass of the Kool Aid and enter the "Doors of Perception". Now how is that for Plagiarism.


Posted by RHine@AlmanacNews.com, managing editor of The Almanac
on Oct 6, 2009 at 12:01 am

I'm locking this thread because it's strayed far from the topic.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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