You should have been a lifeguard. Like the handful in Newport Beach, California, who are pulling swimmers from the water and in some cases making $200,000 a year in salary and benefits. “It was reasonable at the time,” says city manager David Kiff. “When we were negotiating, people were making such ridiculous amounts of money on the real estate market and we don’t get those big jumps in salary that the private sector does.”
Reasonable public employee pension reform is about as reasonable as the union leaders in Rhode Island who are being asked to accept changes in their collective bargaining agreements. Take Middletown, Rhode Island, where legislation to eliminate pensions and replace them with 401(k)s (457b in the public sector) for new hires hit a roadblock. “We just negotiated our contract,” said firefighters union president Steve Rodrigues. “To have this now takes a back-door route to undermine that [agreement].”
In Newport, Rhode Island, the police chief and fire chief both tendered their resignations last week, claiming that the timing was just a “coincidence.” One is 48, and the other is 57. Both are eligible for full pensions based on years of service. With all this talk about “change,” why stick around? And all the taxpayer money paid to train them is now gone.