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Readers say state worker entitlement promises have been too generous and that concessions need to be made

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Readers say state worker entitlement promises have been too generous and that concessions need to be made 

Interesting that municipalities across the country continue to file for bankruptcy protection after over-promising to their retirees. This is despite taxing our middle class to death. Middle income in the US is not keeping pace with growth in Canada, Britain and Sweden. The WHOLE story would also include admitting that entitlement promises have been too generous and that concessions need to be made to taxpayers going forward.

There have been at least 54 Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filings just since 2006, with the largest being Detroit, followed by Stockton, San Bernardino, and Jefferson County. Central Falls, RI and Westfall, PA are some others. Harrisburg, PA filed for bankruptcy in 2011 but the judge denied their petition. NYC based hedge fund Bridgewater did a study suggesting that roughly 85% of public pensions will go bankrupt within three decades. US public pensions have $3 trillion of assets with which they are expected to make $10 trillion of retirement payments over the next 30 yrs. This implies a required annual return of roughly 9%, vs. the current 30 year US Treasury yield of 3.44%

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20 thoughts on “Readers say state worker entitlement promises have been too generous and that concessions need to be made

  1. o k start with the paid fire and police dept;s .

  2. Better yet start at the BOE. Do away with the solid gold medical coverage & pension benefits for people who only work a part time job.

  3. yes thats a good idea .


  4. Anonymous:

    Better yet start at the BOE. Do away with the solid gold medical coverage & pension benefits for people who only work a part time job.

    You just don’t get it #2, do you ? What do the four municipalities in Bergen County with paid fire suppression departments have in common ? Of Bergen County’s 69 fire departments, 4 are staffed by career firefighters, and ours includes both career and volunteer fire fighters. The others are Hackensack (99 career firefighters, 6,000 runs annually), Teaneck (93 employees; 31 Officers, 60 firefighters and 2 civilian staff) and Bergenfield (only 7 career staff with up to 90 volunteers for a community of 26,000 residents). So Bergenfield is the only comparable community, but according to the 2010 Census, they have a population density of 9,306.5 per square mile and an average housing density of 3,199.1 per square mile. Ridgewood, by comparison only has 4,399 people per square mile, and an average housing density of 1,520.0 per square mile, ie. less than half the densities of Bergenfield.

  5. Volunteer Police wow genius idea.


  6. Anonymous:

    Better yet start at the BOE. Do away with the solid gold medical coverage & pension benefits for people who only work a part time job.

    so you think it’s fair for taxpayers to subsidize almost 100% of your Cadillac healthcare ? Why ?

  7. You are the one who doesn’t get it #4…..Having a combination Fire Department with a career and volunteer staff is beneficial to the community. It results in lower damage to property due to fires and favorable fire insurance rates.

    I bet you are not now or ever have been a volunteer firefighter, yet you want someone else to volunteer their time and for them to be away from their family so that you can save some dollars on your property taxes. How hypocritical is that? Would you also want someone to volunteer to maintain your lawn, wash your car, paint your home. Yea, you are one of those kids from the Burger King generation, I want it my way and I want it my way now! Time to grow up and stop being so selfish.


  8. Anonymous:

    You are the one who doesn’t get it #4…..Having a combination Fire Department with a career and volunteer staff is beneficial to the community. It results in lower damage to property due to fires and favorable fire insurance rates. Yea, you are one of those kids from the Burger King generation, I want it my way and I want it my way now! Time to grow up and stop being so selfish.

    Pure chutzpah #7, you are from the “Me” generation of entitlement greed that got us all in the trouble we’re in now. You pigged out on free healthcare, a pension at 65% of your final comp (base + longetivity pay) for life, and among the highest wages for your profession in the country, all on the back of high property taxes thanks to Ridgewood’s proximity to NYC and it’s well regarded school system. You are selfish – don’t pin that on anyone but yourself. Anytime anyone suggests union contract concessions, out you come with pure thuggishness. You are nothing more than a union hack.


  9. Anonymous:

    Volunteer Police wow genius idea.

    Actually, not a bad idea.
    Ridgewood — USED to have ‘specials’ many years ago, responsible old timers who even carried weapons.
    I suspect laws were passed, at the urging of the unions, to abandon this.
    Many resort towns that have high population increases during the summer season successfully (historically) relied upon part time, seasonal, or special officers to supplement full timers.
    It would make sense to have special officers and part timers here to answer the calls that really do not require a trained, armed police officer.
    Parking complaints, noise complaints, loose dogs, mischief/vandalism complaints, directing traffic all come to mind.
    Also, a police presence in the down town area of officers walking, answering questions, and interacting with the general public would create a positive public perception of the department.*

  10. The contracts don’t allow specials – and the cops go beserk when anyone suggests specials for the extra duty work protecting villagers from PSE&G and Verizon trucks – why would you let a special get the extra duty rate when a full-time officer can get the gig on their off duty time (30 days paid vacation for senior officers) while using RPD cars and cellphones for free ? There is no net benefit to taxpayers overall, and yet god forbid that we hire specials.

  11. Rpd had specials and Aux police both were disasters. One pulled a gun out and stuck it in the back of another another time there were 2 arguing over who was driving the ambulance, another time one of the motor cycle unit was in uniform in a bar having a beer after the detail he was at. The interest in specials faded when a law was passed that they had to pass the same psyche exam as the regular cops.

  12. # 8 said….Pure chutzpah #7, you are from the “Me” generation of entitlement greed that got us all in the trouble we’re in now.

    Just as I thought, you never were and never will be a volunteer firefighter. You want others to sacrifice so you can save money so you can live your Burger King life style of I want it my way and I want it my way now!

    Listen to your self, you cry….why don’t we have volunteer firefighters, I don’t want to be a volunteer firefighter but someone else should give up their time with their family so I can reduce my property tax. How greedy! How self centered!

    And while we are talking about Pure chutzpah #8 you don’t know who I am yet you assume I am a village employee and union member. I am NOT! I support our fine public safety team. They are true professionals and have earned what they have received. If you don’t like what they have earned vote with your feet and move, you will not be missed!


  13. Anonymous:

    Rpd had specials and Aux police both were disasters. One pulled a gun out and stuck it in the back of another another time there were 2 arguing over who was driving the ambulance, another time one of the motor cycle unit was in uniform in a bar having a beer after the detail he was at. The interest in specials faded when a law was passed that they had to pass the same psyche exam as the regular cops.

    I guess that psyche exam didn’t work out too well for a couple of our former ‘regular’ officers.
    Didn’t one or 2 of them get fired for a drunk fight at a Paramus rd bar when one pulled a gun on the other?
    Didn’t we lose a full time officer when he pulled a gun and SHOT his friend at the liquor store that used to be where the Rwd coffee company is?
    Lets not point the fingers at a few bad eggs…of either group.


  14. Anonymous:


    Anonymous:

    Rpd had specials and Aux police both were disasters. One pulled a gun out and stuck it in the back of another another time there were 2 arguing over who was driving the ambulance, another time one of the motor cycle unit was in uniform in a bar having a beer after the detail he was at. The interest in specials faded when a law was passed that they had to pass the same psyche exam as the regular cops.

    I guess that psyche exam didn’t work out too well for a couple of our former ‘regular’ officers.
    Didn’t one or 2 of them get fired for a drunk fight at a Paramus rd bar when one pulled a gun on the other?
    Didn’t we lose a full time officer when he pulled a gun and SHOT his friend at the liquor store that used to be where the Rwd coffee company is?
    Lets not point the fingers at a few bad eggs…of either group.

    Whatever happened to the cop who stole $180,000 ? Did he get fired ?


  15. Anonymous:

    # 8 said….Pure chutzpah #7, you are from the “Me” generation of entitlement greed that got us all in the trouble we’re in now.
    Just as I thought, you never were and never will be a volunteer firefighter. You want others to sacrifice so you can save money so you can live your Burger King life style of I want it my way and I want it my way now!
    Listen to your self, you cry….why don’t we have volunteer firefighters, I don’t want to be a volunteer firefighter but someone else should give up their time with their family so I can reduce my property tax. How greedy! How self centered!
    And while we are talking about Pure chutzpah #8 you don’t know who I am yet you assume I am a village employee and union member. I am NOT! I support our fine public safety team. They are true professionals and have earned what they have received. If you don’t like what they have earned vote with your feet and move, you will not be missed!

    Lie after lie after lie…. so you think it’s fair for taxpayers to subsidize almost 100% of your Cadillac healthcare ? Why ?


  16. Anonymous:

    Rpd had specials and Aux police both were disasters. One pulled a gun out and stuck it in the back of another another time there were 2 arguing over who was driving the ambulance, another time one of the motor cycle unit was in uniform in a bar having a beer after the detail he was at. The interest in specials faded when a law was passed that they had to pass the same psyche exam as the regular cops.

    So why can’t they handle the extra duty work ? We could pay them less of the extra duty rate and make more as a Village.

  17. #15 SAID……Lie after lie after lie….

    Nice attempt at changing the subject. Dodge and spin and hope no one notices. Well that will not work. You still haven’t answered if you are now or ever were a volunteer firefighter! Why is that?

    I will tell you why! It’s likely that you have NEVER volunteered for anything in your life no less having volunteered for something in Ridgewood.

    You think it’s ok for everyone else to volunteer but you….oh no that is beneath you. Your not a commoner, your a graduate of college with many degrees. Only the little uneducated people should volunteer.

    You are what is wrong in this country you want others to volunteer and sacrifice so you don’t have to.


  18. Anonymous:

    Rpd had specials and Aux police both were disasters. One pulled a gun out and stuck it in the back of another another time there were 2 arguing over who was driving the ambulance, another time one of the motor cycle unit was in uniform in a bar having a beer after the detail he was at. The interest in specials faded when a law was passed that they had to pass the same psyche exam as the regular cops.

    What happened to the FF who won $3.5mn from the RPD, later reduced to $500,000 ? He won because proved he was denied a promotion. Taxpayers pay that, but will we also pay for his pension in retirement ?


  19. Anonymous:

    Having a combination Fire Department with a career and volunteer staff is beneficial to the community. It results in lower damage to property due to fires and favorable fire insurance rates.

    There is no one questioning this, it’s a fact. But we are mistating the cost, and taxpayers should understand the full cost of what they’re paying for. We pay our median Public safety employee between $125-135K/yr. That’s close to the median household income in Ridgewood. We also give 10% longetivity pay, annual wage increases, step wage increases and 30 days paid vacation in addition to 15 days sick leave a year. That adds up to over $3.5mn in total comp over a 25 career. Then we subsidize a defined benefit pension for the 30+ years on average that the average public safety official lives from their avg retirement age of 52 to the avg lifespan in the US of over 80 years. Based on recent divorce settlements in NJ, that pension alone has a present value of $3.0mn which is well above what was contributed by the employee over those 25 years. Add in subsized healthcare, where current and retired public safety workers only pay $20 a month max for healthcare coverage, and only $5 for a doctor’s visit and $15 drug co-pay, and taxpayers need to know that they are guaranteeing over $6.5mn in wages & benefits everytime we hire a new public safety employee. Multiply that by over 70 for the number of police & fire and its a $455mn cost ot taxpayers over the next 25 years alone ($18mn/yr or 40% of our Village budget). And that mistates the full liability because NJ taxpayers will also make up any shortfall in the pension fund if it doesn’t earn 7.95% in a given year, as well as pay as we go on any healthcare costs incured by our municipal retirees because the healthcare insurance plan is unfunded (estimated cost $60bn). Is this all worth it in a town where less than 3% of the FD calls are fires, and violent crime is virtually non-existant ? How many people have been fired from the RFD and RPD in the past 25 years for cause ? Effectively, once hired, it’s almost impossible to get fired. The guy who won $500K from taxpayers for proving that he was denied a promotion at RFD ? Still on the roster and still getting his pension. The cop who stole $180,000 ? No answers there.

  20. #19 the cop who stole the money was arrested and fired, the fireman who sued the town is retired now and I’m sure collecting his pension that he earned. You cannot fire someone for suing you successfully. Those issues are old news and have been addressed numerous times in the paper as well as this blog. Your broken record rants are old and have been torn apart by many other posters your disdain for public employees is evident, and it effects your credibility.

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