Bloated pensions dragging us down

Many safety personnel have salaries of more than $100,000 and $200,000 plus as their final pay at retirement. Union contracts in the cities of Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena allow public safety to retire after 30 years at age 50 or 55 with 90% of their last year of income.

If, for example, a public safety person in the city of Glendale had a final salary of $100,000. and if this individual contributed 9% toward their pension, in 30 years they will have contributed $270,000. In past years, safety personnel have often contributed less than 9%, and often the 9% contribution was offset with a salary increase of like amount.

In the first year of retirement, Glendale taxpayers will be giving a public safety worker $90,000 plus in retirement money, plus cost-of-living adjustments and benefits. By the third year, taxpayers will have given such a worker $270,000, equal to the amount the union employee had contributed toward his/her pension.

With a life expectancy of more than 75 years, the taxpayers will have paid more than $2 million in pension monies per employee.

With two payrolls to pay annually, retiree and current employees, is it any wonder the cities of Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena are years behind in road maintenance, parks, libraries and other city services?

According to the Social Security Administration, a worker in the private sector who retired in 2011 at the full retirement age of 66 received the highest yearly benefit of approximately $30,000. The average Social Security recipient receives less than $15,000 annually.

Unfunded and unsustainable pension obligations have grown by more than $600 million in the city of Glendale and counting and will eventually drive our city into bankruptcy.

We wish the new one percenters and council members who approved these contracts a happy and prosperous new year.

Mike Mohill

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