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Thread: Super Sized Pensions

  1. #11
    Senior Member zeus3925's Avatar
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    Some egregious cases have been cited above. But, there is a temptation is to extend the "sin" to all retired government workers, which is not the case.

    In most cases, government employees have nothing to say about their pensions. In many cases the policies are set by the pols or a board. In fact, pension funds are frequently raided and/or under funded to cover budget short falls, leaving the pensions in dire straits. I was president of two union locals in two different states. The pensions were not negotiable by law.

    In both states, the pension rates were 1.5% of the an average salary per year served-- the average salary being computed on the five highest years. I also worked in private industry. My spouse worked for several major corporations. The computation of retirement benefits, private and public, were essentially the same.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeus3925 View Post
    Some egregious cases have been cited above. But, there is a temptation is to extend the "sin" to all retired government workers, which is not the case.

    In most cases, government employees have nothing to say about their pensions. In many cases the policies are set by the pols or a board. In fact, pension funds are frequently raided and/or under funded to cover budget short falls, leaving the pensions in dire straits. I was president of two union locals in two different states. The pensions were not negotiable by law.

    In both states, the pension rates were 1.5% of the an average salary per year served-- the average salary being computed on the five highest years. I also worked in private industry. My spouse worked for several major corporations. The computation of retirement benefits, private and public, were essentially the same.
    The difference is that almost all private companies began eliminating defined benefit plans 20 years ago and fewer and fewer people have them each year. However, they have remained the norm in the public sector even as public sector salaries, excluding benefits, have become increasingly competitive with the private sector.

  3. #13
    Senior Member pat addis's Avatar
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    i didn't work in gov. long about 9 yrs.i was a mechanic and get 500 per mo not a lot but it helps.i have back problems from many years of heavy work. most that retire get more but they were there 30 yrs or more

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Thomas View Post
    All this crap sets a tone that is not the standard Country wide. Certainly there may be pockets of departments that resemble the suggestion, but these type of extravagant #'s are not the rule. As an example, I am employed by the Houston Fire Department whose pension is currently 95% funded and extremely sound. After 35 years (4 more until retirement) as an officer, I'll leave with @$5500 a month pension. That’s after putting 8+ % in for my entire career. If anyone thinks this is extreme for the time spent and job done, you're delusional....not to mention the average lifespan of a firefighter is 58 (last I heard).
    Also, the issues of pensions and benefits are typically voted in and supported by the Dem's....I should know, our Dept. always encourages us to vote that way....crazy!
    It sounds fairly extravagant to me !!!!!!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Thomas View Post
    Quote:
    Another common pension abuse is “double-dipping” – a practice in which employees retire and start collecting their pension, then are rehired to perform their old job at their old salary. It’s a common practice for government employees around the country, despite many rules forbidding it. Employees often argue that they have earned their pension and their right to retire, and if they decide to work during retirement, they're entitled. But the logic there is deeply flawed, said Dean.

    "Pensions were designed to make sure government employees were allowed to grow old with dignity, not to make them rich," he said.


    This is just another example of twisting the truth....the fact is, when one enters this type of deferred retirement program they no longer increase their % of salary determining the monthly pension check.....(their pension check amount ceases to increase, with the exception of cola's) The city also no longer deposits their contribution into the fund. In reality the city gets (in my case) the expertise from an employee necessary to train/guide younger employees in what are typically dangerous circumstances while not incurring the contribution costs. This reduces the number of employees cities must contribute for to the fund. The negative to this is two fold...one issue pertaining to our department, typically the firefighter attempts to remain longer than they normally would, alot of the time not living to enjoy his/her efforts. The other (not a problem with Houston) is pensions underfunded needing bailouts from the city.
    Fixed it for ya .

    Quote Originally Posted by zeus3925 View Post
    Some egregious cases have been cited above. But, there is a temptation is to extend the "sin" to all retired government workers, which is not the case.

    In most cases, government employees have nothing to say about their pensions. In many cases the policies are set by the pols or a board. In fact, pension funds are frequently raided and/or under funded to cover budget short falls, leaving the pensions in dire straits. I was president of two union locals in two different states. The pensions were not negotiable by law.

    In both states, the pension rates were 1.5% of the an average salary per year served-- the average salary being computed on the five highest years. I also worked in private industry. My spouse worked for several major corporations. The computation of retirement benefits, private and public, were essentially the same.
    You could have knocked me over with a feather when you posted that!!!!!!!! Your knowledge of the private sector is either lacking or you are cherry picking to prove your point.
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Tim Thomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    It sounds fairly extravagant to me !!!!!!!!!!!

    What exactly sounds extravagant.....The couple of private sector examples I'll offer is my father and ex-wife. My father retired after 29 years from a large gas co. with close to 70% of his salary upon retirement...this after putting away less a month than my current withdrawal. My ex-wife working for a large oil co. has put away an equivalent amount with her 401k....the withdrawal and matching amounts basically the same.

    Fixed it for ya .

    What you fixed was actually the MSNBC quote from the OP. I'm sure MSNBC appreciates it.



    You could have knocked me over with a feather when you posted that!!!!!!!! Your knowledge of the private sector is either lacking or you are cherry picking to prove your point.
    As far as my point, the examples up to when I posted were what I would call extravagant numbers. A firefighter retiring at 44 with 100k a year is extravagant. An officer in the Houston Fire Department retiring after 36 years with 66k a year before taxes and before the $750+ (and rising) for insurance is not....in fact, % wise, my father did better on less time while putting away less. Go figure! All in all, I wouldn't trade it for the world! I've appreciated the opportunity to serve and will forever cherish the group of men and women I've worked along side all these years. The problem with the extravagant examples is that it's not the norm.....most guys retire with pensions no where near these #'s. Personally, I believe the rhetoric is isolated examples given headlines by politicians drumming up support to go after pension funds. As I stated earlier, there are funds that are underfunded, mainly from being sucked dry by those drawing enormous $$.
    You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it

  6. #16
    Senior Member zeus3925's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    You could have knocked me over with a feather when you posted that!!!!!!!! Your knowledge of the private sector is either lacking or you are cherry picking to prove your point.
    Marv, you better get to know my background better and who I am before you go on a rant. You think all retired public employees are ripping you off. It is you that needs to go back to school.

    In case you want to know, I get a grand sum of $1900/ mo, before taxes, based on 30 years of service, most of that was in protection of children and vulnerable adults. Some of that came out of my pocket as an involuntary contribution. During that 30 years, pulled kids out of incredible dangers and houses filled with indescribable filth. I have had guns pointed at me, butchers knives thrown at me and had numerous threats of violence from people that beat their kids and throw their blind mothers down flights of stairs. I've been called by every name that is unfamiliar to the clergy. Frankly, Marv, I am not going to apologize for a single damn penny of what I get.
    Last edited by zeus3925; 11-23-2010 at 03:48 PM.
    Zeus

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  7. #17
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Much as I respect the danger and devotion of policemen and firemen, they are also a group of people that can have their bad apples.

    A few years ago, one of our local cities accepted a pension plan for police that would base retirement income on their last year of service. Some whose retirement was imminent realized how to tweek the game. There is an annual tourist event that requires overtime for police. The near-retirement police volunteered for this substantial overtime. Early in the next year many then took their retirement at much, much more than their "regular" annual salary ever was ... as they had inflated their last year with enormous amounts of overtime. We're talking numbers like $90,000/year.

    It was all perfectly legal, so I fault the city jerks who were dumb enough to approve the negotiation that led to this system without provisions for preventing abuse.
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Thomas View Post
    is An officer in the Houston Fire Department retiring after 36 years with 66k a year before taxes and before the $750+ (and rising) for insurance is not.....
    You keep telling yourself that! You forgot to add the opportunity to participate in a 403B, SS + the widow benefits that go to all without a nickel of contribution. All in All, a very generous package. BTW, what you talk about is what someone in the private sector would do along with their real job.

    Quote Originally Posted by zeus3925 View Post
    In case you want to know, I get a grand sum of $1900/ mo, before taxes, based on 30 years of service, most of that was in protection of children and vulnerable adults. Some of that came out of my pocket as an involuntary contribution. During that 30 years, pulled kids out of incredible dangers and houses filled with indescribable filth. I have had guns pointed at me, butchers knives thrown at me and had numerous threats of violence from people that beat their kids and throw their blind mothers down flights of stairs. I've been called by every name that is unfamiliar to the clergy. Frankly, Marv, I am not going to apologize for a single damn penny of what I get.
    If you want to convince yourself, go ahead, I've heard the same pitch from just about every venue on the public teat. If the problem is/was so bad, why didn't you fix it?

    But we recently had an election in our leftist state, results were mixed, but in the Whatcom County part there was a contest for State Representative between someone from the private sector & the chief architect of last years failed budget & I'll quote you an exchange from the Bellingham Herald website:

    Quote Originally Posted by decolores
    This is the same guy who pointed to a room full of social workers & angrily asked us "what have you done for the community". Of course, he asked us this after he went off about how he travels to ANOTHER COUNTRY to dig wells. Shame on you Mr. Conservative Republican candidate. Most of us don't stop working at 5:00 PM, we take our work home with us. We do more in a year than he will do in a lifetime. What has Mr Conservative Republican candidate done for Whatcom County? Nothing, unless you consider being a well to do white Christian family consisting Mom, Dad & two kids.
    Birdfeeder responded about 45 minutes later with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by birdfeeder
    Did you respond to the candidate by saying you fed from the public trough, felt benevolent & indignant because liberals have been in power in Olympia for a long time, see him as a threat to your gravy train, & look forward to taxes raising because that means a pay raise for you? Did you tell him how you recognized how many hours per day & days per week a contractor has to work in order to be successful, all without begging for more & higher taxes to support his career? Did you tell him how much you resent average Americans that come from stable homes? Did you tell him you were a single mother who embraces an alternate lifestyle?

    Of course you didn't. You expected tolerance & acceptance of your diversity without affording him the respect you should offer a successful individual businessman from a stable decent home with traditional ethics & values. Instead you verbally attacked him & became more indignant when he responded with equal enthusiasm. Face it Cupcake, your gravy train is about to become derailed & it really pizzes you off.
    Before you go off again you might consider this - there is little that I haven't experienced in life, from being very poor & unwanted to choosing where I would put my experience to work. The trip on the turnip truck has been long & eventful. One thing I figured out, on my own, was that too many guarantees lead to sloth. I am no fan of unions, as I believe their bureaucracy is probably more crooked than any politico that comes down the pike. But enjoy your SEIU friends, at least we know where you're coming from .
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  9. #19
    Senior Member Tim Thomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    You keep telling yourself that! You forgot to add the opportunity to participate in a 403B, SS + the widow benefits that go to all without a nickel of contribution. All in All, a very generous package. BTW, what you talk about is what someone in the private sector would do along with their real job.
    Thanks Marv, I will....BTW, the deferred comp you mentioned is an option for those that want to put away more. Myself, I didn't get much of a chance. I didn't have the extra income to allow for increased investments.....instead, I put away the $$ to put my son through college and afford my wife staying home. As far as SS...we (HFD) don't contribute, so I won't be benefitting from that program. As I said earlier, not all Firefighters, Police Officers, or Teachers fit into the mold you and others have forged. In fact, you are a prime example of the problem with this notion....the idea that all those serving in the public sector are getting rich.....if you only knew.
    You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it

  10. #20
    Senior Member Chris Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    You keep telling yourself that! You forgot to add the opportunity to participate in a 403B, SS + the widow benefits that go to all without a nickel of contribution. All in All, a very generous package. BTW, what you talk about is what someone in the private sector would do along with their real job.
    In California while working in public sector you don't pay into SS and you don't receive SS benefits when we retire. Even it you work in the private sector for 20+ and have 20yrs in the public sector you do not receive the total SS benefits that you would have they are reduced significantly. Yes we can contribute OUR money to a 401k of 457 just like you can but our employers do not match the contribution.
    Chris~

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