Keep an Eye on Local Government

August/02/2010 16:41PM
Write Comment
Please follow and like us:

Was Bell, California, a wake-up call? It’s really hard to believe but in many cases local government may be stabbing you in the back deeper than Washington. How many more Bell California’s are there? Places without a newspaper, or a newspaper that watches, where the top three officials in town can give themselves $2 million in pay to run a 30,000 population town.

We hear a lot about golden parachutes. Tony Hayward got a $2 million severance deal. The public detests these payoffs. But, the public doesn’t know they happen every day in their local communities. They have two forms. One is double or triple dipping. The second in pension spiking. Neither happen often in the private sector.But, if they do, it’s not your tax dollars.

I have two homes. One in Illinois and one in Arizona. Two broke states. The school superintendent in Illinois was canned less than a year after he was hired. He had two years left on the contract. They agreed to pay the contract. He got hired by the school district in Arizona where I have the house. They gave him a raise in pay and another multi-year contract. So, he now collects from both of my property tax contributions. And, one is paying another superintendent to do the same job they are paying him to do, with a bigger salary. He is collecting nearly a million a year. Nice work if you can get it. And, he will collect pensions from both states.

Remember when Highland Park, Illinois hit the headlines when they agreed to let their girl’s basketball team boycott a tournament in Arizona over the Arizona immigration bill? Very wealthy and wise people in Highland, Park. Very progressive too, based on the boycott.

Wealthy and wise, but not vigilant. The Chicago Tribune showed they had people who headed up their park district that were grossly overpaid. The head guy got a raise taking him to over $400,000 and others got big raises. When investigated it was just a simple case of pension spiking.

You have a nice long-term loyal employee who has done a good job for years and years. You want to do something nice for him that doesn’t cost you anything. Sure, future generations will have to pay it, but it won’t be seen in your budget. You have a little spare budget money. Just double his pay for the last year he works. It will add thousands to his pension and that’s really a nice going away gift. Better than a watch.

These behaviors are like Social Security. They are making promises that can’t be kept. As more and more public workers get the pension spike obligations made that cities won’t be able to keep. Already cities and states are looking to the Federal Government for financial help because they can’t pay their bills. The Federal Government is looking to China for help in the form of loans. Much of the stimulus money went to cities and states to help with their financial woes.

So, up and down the line it goes. The governor of Illinois gives his staff big raises when the state is broke and workers are being laid off. The city of Highland Park pays a park district manager $400,000 so he can have a nice retirement. Obama runs up a 2 trillion debt for 2010.

Is Chris Christie the answer? He has closed a $9 billion budget deficit in New Jersey in less than a year. He says things like, “I love teachers, but I’m not going to give you a pay raise in this economy and you are going to pay 3.5% of your formerly free Cadillac heath insurance plan. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else and do something else.”

Whether you think Chris Christie is the second coming of Ronald Reagan or not, I have one pearl of wisdom for you. You had better watch your local government and what they are doing because is many cases they no more regard for you tax dollars than the Federal Government. Evidence is mounting to support that premise.

Please follow and like us:

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

Leave a Reply