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Reader says Just reading some of the comments from municipal pensioners and union hacks on this blog, and it’s no wonder we’re in such a mess in this state

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file photo Boyd Loving

Reader says Just reading some of the comments from municipal pensioners and union hacks on this blog, and it’s no wonder we’re in such a mess in this state

Just reading some of the comments from municipal pensioners and union hacks on this blog, and it’s no wonder we’re in such a mess in this state. They are living in fantasy land, expecting new municipal hires to be able to afford their own house and property taxes in Ridgewood, and thinking that their oversized pensions and gold plated healthcare-for-life are sustainable if we just keep raising property taxes every year… I’m not even sure these benefits were negotiated in good faith anymore judging by the comments – when you have a potential conflict of interest with former Police and Fire management on the Village Council approving outrageous wage and benefit increases, i.e. in the 2009 CBAs and again when they were re-opened in 2010, you leave the Village taxpayers with an even bigger entitlement liability. Were those CBAs really negotiated in the best interests of taxpayers when you hand out +4% annual wage increases during a recession ? All the union guys talk about is the current cost for public safety – they always ignore the future fixed costs for pensions & healthcare which will cost us hundreds of millions of dollars in the next 15 years – money that we won’t be able to use for services and improved quality of life for Villagers. Many of these retirees don’t even live in Ridgewood !

14 thoughts on “Reader says Just reading some of the comments from municipal pensioners and union hacks on this blog, and it’s no wonder we’re in such a mess in this state

  1. The record today reported that in Paramus, the municipal portion of the taxes went down!
    Average homeowner gets $105 lower bills.
    Good job Paramus!
    Note to Ridgewood: See how Paramus did it!

  2. In 2009, there were 68 Police Chiefs, 76 School Superintendents and 70 Borough Clerks in Bergen County. The total payroll for these three positions ALONE in Bergen County totaled over $30 million.

  3. OK I will bite. What is your plan to fix the system. How would you handle retires pension plan and medical benefits ? We all know going forward current employees will have to give back and we all know that their has to be some pension reform but those that have retired for many years what about them? Should we take away their benefit package and let them start over again or what?

  4. #1 just how do you compare Paramus with any town in the county when they are nothing more than a huge mall?


  5. Anonymous:

    What is your plan to fix the system. How would you handle retires pension plan and medical benefits ? We all know going forward current employees will have to give back and we all know that their has to be some pension reform

    Maybe the state should tax pension checks at source if they are being sent out of state so we can keep state income tax ? Maybe all new hires as of the next CBAs should contribute more of their wages to defined contribution 403(b) style retirement savings plans instead of defined benefit plans ? Maybe all employees should contribute considerably more than the $20/month they currently pay for health insurance and pay percentages of drug co-pays and doctor’s visits instead of low fixed rates ? Maybe the Village should limit how much sick leave employees can accumulate, with annual “use it or lose it” limits ? Maybe we could buy employees out of their approx $7.0 million in “accumulated leave” today in exchange for a new “use-it-or-lose it” clause in their contracts ? That liability will only get bigger because sick leave payments upon retirement are made at the employee’s daily rate of compensation at the time of retirement, but the Village has only reserved $584,378 against this expense. Maybe we shouldn’t be giving 31 days of annual paid leave to our most senior employees ? Maybe we need to lengthen out step wage increase schedules and hold annual base pay increases below 2% or link annual wage increases to CPI-based inflation ? Maybe we should reduce longetivity bonuses which are folded in to base wages when calculating pension benefits ? There are lots of ways to reduce the rate of growth in future liabilities for tax payers.

  6. Hey #5,

    Maybe if our Past Governors didn’t use the government employees pension systems as their personal piggy banks without repaying what they took, and if the municpialities and state actually paid in what they were suppose to there wouldn’t be a pension funding problem.

    Read this story about how your elected officials screwed the NJ taxpayers.

    https://www.publicsectorinc.org/2014/01/the-good-news-about-jerseys-pension-reform-was-also-the-bad-news/

    To #5 it’s time to pay up for your ignoring the rob Peter to pay Paul tricks your elected officials pulled on you with the pension systems. Your State income taxes are about to go up even higher. Maybe now you will pay attention to what those rascals in Trenton are doing.

  7. All good ideas. Some are being implemented now and in the next year. I would assume that you would include BOED employees in your suggestion.


  8. jjj:

    #1 just how do you compare Paramus with any town in the county when they are nothing more than a huge mall?

    Apparently you have never been off the highway.
    There are plenty of homes.
    The malls require a lot more police presence than a neighborhood of that size, and obviously less of a school population.
    It proves that Paramus ‘gets it right’ with their costs.


  9. Anonymous:

    All good ideas. Some are being implemented now and in the next year. I would assume that you would include BOED employees in your suggestion.

    Absolutely. I think they’ve already moved some employees to 403(b) plans ?


  10. Anonymous:

    Hey #5,
    Maybe if our Past Governors didn’t use the government employees pension systems as their personal piggy banks without repaying what they took, and if the municpialities and state actually paid in what they were suppose to there wouldn’t be a pension funding problem.
    Your State income taxes are about to go up even higher.

    Agreed #5, Whitman, McGreevy and Corzine played serious games with pension funds. But the health care benefits are an even bigger liability than the unfunded pension liability, $59bn vs $47bn. That’s over $100bn in unfunded promises made. Taxes may be going up, but benefits will have to be reduced, too, it’s not a one way street. Here’s a good question: We already have the second highest state and local taxes in the country vs,. one of the largest unfunded pension liabilities, so where did all that money from the pension piggy bank go if it didn’t balance budgets ?

  11. Could you put that in quarters.

  12. #5 Please run for public office…

  13. #5 Charlie, sick time in the village is paid out @50% of what was earned the rest goes back to the town. To put use it or lose it clauses in a contract for comp time is unlawful according to the flsa. Employees contribution to health care was modified by the legislature to increase to 33% over several years. If you are unhappy with the cost of health care go after the vendors, that’s where the real saving are. #10 is correct with regards to the assault on public employee pension funds. Gov. Christie just did it again. There is an online article from the oal (non) partisan that says Christie cannot unilaterally alter the pension systems, and the state of NJ cannot go bankrupt to get out of it’s pension obligations. “Like so many wall street types” were saying.

  14. Typo correction OLS not OAL. OLS office of legislative services.

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