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The 70% Solution

Original post made by Common sense, Atherton: other, on Aug 7, 2013

Question: How many private companies do you know of that make an employee's 401(k) contribution for him in addition to providing the employer match?

Answer: Zero.

Question: How many police departments in the Bay Area make a cops' pension contribution for him, in addition to providing the employer match?

Answer: One. Atherton.

Question: Same as above, replace California for Bay Area.

Answer: One (as far as I can check). Atherton.

Question: Will the APOA purchased city council of Wiest and Lewis roll back this practice in contract negotiations?

Answer: Hell no. The APOA is going to get what they paid for.

In an alternative universe in which the Atherton town council was actually trying to work for the taxpayers of Atherton, the following obvious measures would be taken to reduce the parcel tax down to about 50% of its current level. It would only need to be kept at the 50% level for four more years to pay down unfunded liabilities and perform capital improvements, and then go away entirely.

Reform #1: Stop making a cops' pension contribution for him. Just make the employer contribution, like every other city does. A no brainer, right?

Reform #2: Unfortunately it may not be possible to roll back an existing cops pension from the 90% level. At least reduce it for new hires. A no brainer, right?

Reform #3: Reduce Atherton police officer pay from the 70th percentile of neighboring cities to the 50th.

APOA: "If you do that, no good officers will work in Atherton."

Answer: Baloney. Plenty of good cops would figure getting median Bay Area police pay –†hardly shabby – in exchange for working in the least dangerous city in the Bay Area is actually a pretty good deal.

By "least dangerous" I mean a cop has never been killed or even truly injured in the line of duty in Atherton. Ever. There are no gangs, no violent crimes, no armed robberies, no businesses to rob. The list goes on and on.

These reforms probably make too much sense. They benefit the Atherton taxpayer, not the Atherton cop. For this reason, the city council members Lewis and Wiest probably will regard them as foolish, inflammatory, or just plain mean.

But in the alternative universe in which council members actually represent the people who vote for them and pay the taxes in their city, rather than the union who gave them money to win the election, it's hard to argue with these reform measures. They make good sense.

Comments (1)

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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 7, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Just to give some idea on what the value of Atherton making an Atherton police officer's pension contribution for him is, in San Francisco, it amounts to about 20% of a cop's salary. Figuring $100,000 per year (a low end estimate) for Atherton cops, that's $20,000 of extra compensation in addition to being paid at the 70th percentile.

Nice work if you can get it!

You won't hear this being discussed by the APOA, Lewis, Wiest, or at council meetings. They don't want it known.


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