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The Future of Public Workers

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatriotsReign, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    This is inevitable in many cities and states moving forward. Is it good? I guess that depends on one's definition of what is good or right for society (taxpayers).

    Costa Mesa to lay off nearly half of city workforce, outsource services

    "The city of Costa Mesa plans to lay off more than 200 employees and outsource 18 city services by the fall.

    The layoffs would cut the city's municipal workforce by 43%. The City Council approved the layoffs in a 4-1 vote late Tuesday night, despite nearly unanimous opposition from the audience.

    City officials said pink slips will go out in the next six months. The mayor blamed years of missteps by city staff and rising pension costs."


    Read more....

    Costa Mesa to lay off nearly half of city workforce, outsource services | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times
     
  2. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #91 Jersey

    Trolling again?...Does your employer :rolleyes: know you fck off this much?
     
  3. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    Right, it's like a scene out of Goodfellas:

    The problem is that now they won't have enough to pay anyone else. Had to shut down a few firehouses to cover those pensions? F**k you, pay me.

    But I keep forgetting that this whole business was just dreamed up wholesale by the Koch Brothers and the public employees are blameless. My bad.
     
  4. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey


    One of the dangers of outsourcing is that private companies, while not always concerned about paying their employees well, are often concerned with making more and more profit.

    My town outsourced it's ambulance service about 10 years ago even though it was a paid-on-call department with only 4 full time employees. They had graphs and charts and budgets which showed that paying a private ambulance service was going to be cheaper, faster, better and they could sell our two ambulances and close one of our fire stations and TA-DA!! No employees, no insurance, no maintanance, no property = Mo' money for the town!!! Less expense to the taxpayers!! Hurray!!

    Worked fine - until the first 2 year contract was up. (Well, not really "fine," because the private ambulance company was not actually located in our town and sometimes the travel time to a call took a bit, well, long - and sometimes they did not have the right kind of ambulance available because they also covered several other towns, too.)

    Anyhow, after the first contract was up and went out for bid again it turned out the the ambulance company who had gotten the first contract had bought out the other two competitors and the only company left to "compete" with was too small for our town's needs. Hence, there was no "negotiations," no "competitive bids," no "big savings." The only company in town had a monopoly and jacked their rates to the town outrageously. The town had no choice but to comply since it could not compete on it's own any longer, having sold/fired/closed/given away everything they would have needed to return to business on it's own.

    And when the contract came up for bid the second time (2 more years later, since the company would only sign a two year contract) they raised their price high enough that not only is the town paying far more for them than they would have for the semi-volunteer public ambulance service they had disbanded but they had to agree to allow the ambulance company to bill the patient's directly, as well. Up until then emergency ambulance treatment and transport was absorbed by the town which felt that the taxpayers paid a high enough property tax to deserve an occasional free ride in a medical emergency.

    The end result? There was no reduction in taxes to the town residents, there was no improvement in the services rendered, there was no money saved, in fact, there is more money being spent, and AND anyone who uses an ambulance is now not only paying for the contracted service through their property taxes, they are getting individually billed for it, as well.

    Collaterally, they've lost even more. When the ambulance service was publicly run and supported the employees did a whole lot of community service for free. We attended football games with an ambulance, provided an ambulance plus medics on the scene of all parades, firework displays, little league games, carnivals, etc.. Why wouldn't we? It was our community, these were our kids, this was our parade. We also went into the schools regularily and taught first aid and fire safety classes. We offered free CPR courses several times a year to the public and recertified all town employees yearly. Also free of charge.

    Now if the town wants any of that stuff done, they have to pay extra for it. Some of it was covered in the first contract - none of it was covered in any subsequent contract.

    It was a smallish town, sure - and maybe more neighborly than a big city might be - but the principal remains the same. Most big cities demand, as part of the employee's union contract, that the employee reside within the city limits. This makes it personal for virtually all employees. They have a vested interest in keeping the streets clean, safe and beautiful. They have a vested interest in keeping the schools up to par since their kids are going to have to attend those schools, too.

    Not so for contracted companies who don't give a damn where their employees live - and most of whom (in a big city or a wealthy suburban area) aren't going to pay a wage which allows that employee to live in the more expensive place where they work. There's no loyality, there's no personal stake, there's no nothing.

    It's a job.

    And a poorly paid one at that.

    There are downsides to privitization. These are just a few of them.

    It might be good to keep them in mind because with all this talk of budget, budget, budget and the need to get reelected in a year or two I'm pretty sure the politicians aren't considering it.

    What do they care? Most of them intend to more on to bigger and better things and places, anyhow.
     
  5. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    Also depends on how the outsourcing is executed.

    Like most issues, this isn't black and white.
     
  6. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv In the Starting Line-Up

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    So tax money flows into the coffers of the select wealthy... not sure that's a better solution.

    How do we ensure a 100% fair bidding process to allow any American Entrepreneur the opportunity to provide these services?
     
  7. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    This is why it is important to keep government focused on the things they are actually supposed to be doing (like public safety). If you expand the amount of non-essential services, then the essential services eventually suffer. To me the tragedy is that pensions and retirement health care for paper-pushers are putting a strain on the system to the detriment of police and firemen. Furthermore, those who abuse the system in any job function (firemen who get disability at a Captain's rate because they were injured on a day when they were covering for him, etc.) are putting all of us at risk because there are simply not enough funds to pay all of them and provide ongoing services at the same level.

    Bad, bad times ahead.
     
  8. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    My old bud Flex...I love you man!

    When you don't like someone's post, you resort to attacking the poster. Is that the best you can do? I honestly thought you were smarter than that Flex?

    Just had my review 2 weeks ago and was ranked the top performer in my group. Just had a phone interview with one of the top iconic brands in America that would pay me 40% more than I'm making now...(although I prolly won't get it). Hope that tickles you pink.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  9. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv In the Starting Line-Up

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    KY Jelly? No raise is worth what that job is offering... TRUST ME... :rocker:
     
  10. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    And this job may not be worth the risk of accepting it either. Co.'s like this one chew people up and spit them out. I have little interest in getting either chewed up or spit out!

    BTW...K-Y?? Funny dude mcgraw!;) Think more along the line of beverages.
     
  11. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    Just out of curiousity, what do you consider to be "non-essential services," which are provided for by local or state governments?

    Link, please?
     
  12. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    Any that I don't personally benefit from.

    But seriously, I would say that in my state toll collection is a waste of time and money. Massport and the Turnpike Authority have brought corruption to new heights. We need roads and bridges, no question, but do we need an entire bureaucracy on top of it?

    I'll try to think of some more, but it was a general point: waste and lack of focus crowd out necessary spending when it comes time to cut the budget.

    Do you honestly think that the government of the Commonwealth of Virginia is the most efficient organization on the face of the earth?

    3 arrested in inquiry into fire pension abuse - The Boston Globe
     
  13. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    I'd have to research what toll booth collectors make (I think I looked it up once before here and they made something like an average salary of $22,000 a year, but I'd have to check again. I'd also have to find out what a contractor would charge and compare the difference, if any, to the taxpayer) but I understand what you're saying.

    I don't think too very many local governments provide services which are unnecessary, tho. Most of them are pretty basic - garbage pick up, waste management, streets and sanitation, police, fire, ambulance. All of which would be pretty expensive to outsource, too.

    No, of course I don't. But having worked in the private sector most of my life I also know that they are also pretty bad at efficiency. They also tend to grossly overcharge - which is my point. If we hire private sector to do our currently public sector jobs we lose control - and we put ourselves at the mercy of companies who have, not the city or the town's best interest at heart, but their own.

    Just saying that there is a potential for serious abuse here, too.



    Well, they took care of the one problem, apparently.

    A state law passed this year, designed to overhaul the pension system, eliminates that so-called king-for-a-day provision.

    I have to say, I'd never heard that one and in most municipalities it wouldn't fly.

    MA seems to be pretty unique, I think. For some reason they've apparently got rampant fraud and misuse going on - to say nothing of salaries that are much higher than those in other locations.

    Reports disclosed that in recent years, 74 percent of all retiring firefighters in Boston had claimed career-ending on-the-job injuries, more than twice the rate of similarly sized cities.

    I find it kinda sad and pretty irritating at the same time. Everyone from MA seems to think that this kind of thing applies to public sector employees everywhere but it does not. Most public sector workers are just average guys and women trying to make a go of it - feeding their families and hoping to save a little bit for a rainy day. They don't abuse the system, they believe in it, they work hard and take pride in their work and in their cities.

    At least the ones I know of personally, anyhow.
     
  14. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv In the Starting Line-Up

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    Nearly the entire Garbage industry is already privatized.
     
  15. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    I'm trying to find statistics to either back that up or refute it but I'm not having much luck.

    I did find an interesting study done in Canada which is (apparently) trying to make the same decision and basing some of it's decision on studies done here in the USA.

    It basically backs up everything I've said about contracting out ambulance service.

    South of the border, in fact, a growing number of cities that had previously used private firms to do their garbage collection are now bringing it back in-house.

    The biggest single reason, according to surveys by the International City/County Management Association, is concern about the quality of service being provided by outside suppliers. That was cited by 61 per cent of the cities switching back between 2002 and 2007.

    But 52 per cent also said that any cost savings associated with contracting out were inadequate, while 34 per cent cited improvements in the ability of local governments to handle the job themselves instead.

    The problem with automatically assuming that private firms will be cheaper or better is that, when it comes to something like garbage collection, you’re really just replacing a public monopoly with a private monopoly. The private version might be cheaper at first, but Warner says that quickly erodes over time.

    Whoever handles the garbage, there are going to be what economists call “monopoly rents” — the built-in, financial bonus of being the only game in town. So the question becomes: Do you want those monopoly rents effectively going to government workers, or do you want them accruing to the owners of private companies?


    To save money, keep some trash collection public - thestar.com
     
  16. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv In the Starting Line-Up

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    I simply assume becuase I see WM or Waste Management commercials everywhere, and it's who handles the trash here, I see WM all over the East Coast...
     
  17. Triple-T

    Triple-T Practice Squad Player

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    Don't blame it on privatization. A two year contract where you throw away all negotiating leverage? That just sounds like the worst contract negotiations ever.
     
  18. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    Yeah, I don't know and I'm having trouble finding out. Sometimes "google" is not your best friend.

    I'd go so far as to say it might be 50/50 nationwide but that's just an uneducated guess.

    I honestly wish I could find out, though, it would be interesting. I keep finding little local articles where towns/small cities have costed it out and some have stuck with their public sector and some have switched to privatizing but there's no real way of following it through and seeing how it's worked out.

    But the mere fact that you mention one specific company with commercials all over and trucks all over makes me think that there's a monoply growing there, too, and a monopoly is never good news for consumers.

    Another yuck for Big Business, I suppose. They undercut the smaller guys then buy 'em out and pretty soon they're the only game in the business and we're all left with no other choice in the manner.

    Call me crazy but, like the article from Canada said, I'd just as soon pay the residents of my town to do the job as pour my tax or individual dollars into the pockets of some private company CEO.
     
  19. PatriotsReign

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    #18 Jersey

    The biggest issue concerning public sector workers isn't about unions, it's about the cost of their pensions to tax payers.

    The biggest advantage private co's have over public workers is that private co's don't have to fund pensions. When you add up the cost of a pension benefit that allows somoneone to retire after just 20-30 years, it's extraordinary. You end up paying 2 or 3 people to do one job.

    You have the guy/woman currently doing it, the guy that just retired and the guy who retired before him all being paid by taxpayers (with a little help from worker contributions)...no one can fund such a ponzi scheme...it just doesn't work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  20. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    Which most of them have agreed to pay more towards - most notably in Wisconsin.

    If you're talking about the pensions people are currently drawing, that's been discussed in the past here and there's no sense in doing it over again. These people were promised something - they have a right to expect to recieve it, just as you would have a right to expect whatever portion of your 401K or your retirement plan that your employer promised to contribute during your working years with him.
     

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