Category Archives: public employees

>Those Horrible, Overpaid Monmouth County Public Employees Donated Over $50,000 From Their Bloated Public Salaries To Charity Since September

>OMG ! I can’t believe it.


Those horrible, good for nothing, overpaid Monmouth County public workers have sooo much money laying around, they can afford to donate over $50,000 from their bloated paychecks in order to give it to charity.

If these workers can afford to give excess dollars from their tax payer supplied pay checks to charity, than maybe their being paid too much in the first place! I think an investigation into this outrage is in order, where are those Tea Partiers, I want my tax dollars returned to their rightful owner, me!

Just kidding there folks, I think it is great that people find it in their hearts to donate to those that are less fortunate then they are and evidently so do our Monmouth County Freeholders.

The County press release below honors the good deed of these employees from the County and several school districts throughout Monmouth.

This is just another reason why people shouldn’t be so fast to demonize and jump on public employees, they’re good people just like the rest of us trying to make ends meet. Hooray to them I say!

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County workers and several school district employees donated more than $50,000 to support more than 1,300 charitable organizations throughout the United States.

The Public Employees Charitable Campaign, begun last September with bi-weekly payroll deductions administered by the United Way of Monmouth County, raised $53,241, said Luis A. Navarro, who has served as the county’s Charitable Campaign chairman for the last 21 years.

“Charitable giving by county employees is down slightly this year,” Navarro said. “Public employees have demonstrated their generosity by making bi-weekly contributions through voluntary payroll deductions. This money is needed now more than ever due to an economy that is impacting the fundraising abilities of many of the nonprofit agencies located in Monmouth County.”

As “Partners in Giving,” government employees throughout New Jersey were asked to contribute donations through payroll deductions.

To encourage participation in the Monmouth County campaign, employees donating more than $3 per paycheck were included in a drawing for an extra day off. This year’s winners are Leslie Hunt of the Monmouth County Library System, Tara Ruddy of Corrections, and Sarah Bent of the Monmouth County Park System.

Freeholder Director Robert D. Clifton and Freeholders Lillian G. Burry and Amy A. Mallet drew the winners. “I want to thank each and every public employee who was involved in this year’s charitable campaign,” Clifton said. “Even in a tough economy public employees continue to show their compassion by donating part of their income to charity.”

“Public employees in Monmouth County are amazingly generous people who have opened their hearts and their wallets to help others,” Mallet said. “Many of our nonprofits have been hit with funding reductions and have had difficulty raising money at a time when the need is greatest. I want to thank our public employees for their generosity and encourage even better participation next year.”

In addition to county employees, public employees from the Freehold Regional High School District, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, and the Monmouth County Vocational School system participated in this year’s fund drive.

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Filed under charity, donations, Monmouth County, Partners in Giving, public employees, The United Way of Monmouth County

>DGA Video: Will GOP Governors ‘Stand with Scott’ Walker’s Power Grab?

>A new ad by the Democratic Governor’s Association features Republican Governors distancing themselves from Scott Walker and asks if they back Walker’s latest efforts to ram through anti-worker agenda. Featured prominently in this video is non other than our Governor, Chris Christie.

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Democratic Governors Association released a video calling on Republican governors to say whether or not they stand with Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting power grab in Wisconsin.

“Many Republican governors understand that the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose Governor Scott Walker’s brazen power grab and they have abandoned him in droves,” DGA Communications Director Lis Smith said. “Now that Governor Walker has resorted to underhanded tactics to subvert the will of the people in Wisconsin and strip workers of their rights, voters in Republican-governed states need to know whether their governor will stand with them or with Scott Walker and his destructive, ideological agenda that will do nothing to create jobs or improve opportunity.”

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Filed under collective bargaining, Democratic Governors Association, Gov. Chris Christie, Gov.Scott Walker, power grab, public employees, Republican Governors, Uncategorized, video, Wisconsin

>Finally Some One Explains "Why employee pensions aren’t bankrupting states"

>

It’s good to see that the news media is finally starting to wake up and tell it like it is when it comes to all the fall information being spread by the ubber-conservative wing-nuts who are insisting that public union employees and their pensions are bankrupting states all around the country.

The following article is from McClatchy Newspapers –

WASHINGTON — From state legislatures to Congress to tea party rallies, a vocal backlash is rising against what are perceived as too-generous retirement benefits for state and local government workers. However, that widespread perception doesn’t match reality.

A close look at state and local pension plans across the nation, and a comparison of them to those in the private sector, reveals a more complicated story. However, the short answer is that there’s simply no evidence that state pensions are the current burden to public finances that their critics claim.

Pension contributions from state and local employers aren’t blowing up budgets. They amount to just 2.9 percent of state spending, on average, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College puts the figure a bit higher at 3.8 percent.

Though there’s no direct comparison, state and local pension contributions approximate the burden shouldered by private companies. The nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that retirement funding for private employers amounts to about 3.5 percent of employee compensation.

Nor are state and local government pension funds broke. They’re underfunded, in large measure because — like the investments held in 401(k) plans by American private-sector employees — they sunk along with the entire stock market during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. And like 401(k) plans, the investments made by public-sector pension plans are increasingly on firmer footing as the rising tide on Wall Street lifts all boats.

Boston College researchers project that if the assets in state and local pension plans were frozen tomorrow and there was no more growth in investment returns, there’d still be enough money in most state plans to pay benefits for years to come.

“On average, with the assets on hand today, plans are able to pay annual benefits at their current level for another 13 years. This assumes, pessimistically, that plans make no future pension contributions and there is no growth in assets,” said Jean-Pierre Aubry, a researcher specializing in state and local pensions for the nonpartisan Center for Retirement Research at Boston College….

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under bankrupting the states, health benefits and pension, McClatchy Newspapers, public employees, public unions

>Sunday Must Reading

>

I’ve come across a few articles posted on different websites over the past couple of days that should be must reading for those that support the rights of union members, both public and private, to engage in collective barganing.

They deal with what is going on in Wisconsin and public opinion on what’s happing, not only in Wisconsin , but also across the country. These posts can be found on Forbes.com’s Policy Page blog by Rick Ungar, ThinkProgress.org and from the Washington Post’s Plume Line blog by Greg Sargent.

Rick Ungar’s post over at Forbes is titled “The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Tax Payers Actually Contribute Nothing to Public Employees Pensions” informs us that public employees in Wisconsin fully fund their own pension system… the state adds no tax payer money to the fund contrary to what people have been hearing.

“Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining
agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans.
Accepting Gov. Walker’ s assertions as fact, and failing to check, creates the
impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from
taxpayers. They are not. Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and
health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state
workers. “

Over at ThinkProgress they post, “Top 10 Disastrous Policies From The Wisconsin GOP You Haven’t Heard About” where they talk about how:

“…Walker’s assault on public employees is only one part of a larger political program that aims to give corporations free reign in the state while dismantling the healthcare programs, environmental regulations, and good government laws that protect Wisconsin’s middle and working class. These lesser known proposals in the 144-page bill reveal how radical Walker’s plan actually is…”

And Finally Greg Sargent’s Plume Line post over at the Washington Post, “Public employees not such an easy scapegoat after all” informs us that according to recent Gallup Poll “…Public employees are turning out to be far harder to scapegoat in the public mind than many predicted…”

* Among those who make less than $24,000 annually, 74 percent oppose the proposal, versus only 14 percent who favor it.
* Among those who make $24,000 to $59,000, 63 percent oppose the proposal, versus only 33 percent who favor it.
* Among those who make $60,000 to $89,000, 53 percent oppose the proposal, versus only 41 percent who favor it.
* Among those who make $90,000 and up, 50 percent favor the proposal, versus 47 percent who oppose it.
Sargent concludes:
“…For all the attention being lavished on the likes of Chris Christie and his supposedly successful formula of targeting public employees as the new “welfare queens,” the bigger and more interesting story is that they aren’t turning out to be such easy targets, after all.”
Take a look at these articles and see what you think, I really believe they are must reads. If the radical right-wing and the GOP are successful in stripping public workers of their rights, it wont be long before they attack private sector worker looking to eliminate overtime, health, pension and other long standing rules.

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Filed under Forbes.com, Gallup poll, Gov. Chris Christie, Gov.Scott Walker, Greg Sargent, labor unions, public employees, Rich Ungar, Think Progress, Washington Post, Wisconsin

>Are Public Workers Really the "Villains" Or Are They Being Scapegoated By Politicians

>In this second clip from last night’s Rachel Maddow Show,which also features Gov. Chris Christie prominently, guest host Chris Hayes, DC Editor of The Nation magazine focuses on whether or not the mindless and faceless members of public employee unions are the real culprits behind the $100 billion budget shortfall that States throughout the country are facing.

Speaking of teachers, fireman, policeman and others, guest Dorrin Warren an Assistant Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University states, …” I think that as soon as you dehumanize and disassociate from real human beings it makes it easy to create a villain to attack…I think this is a convenient attack instead of focusing on the real villains of economic crisis, bankers, Wall Street, of actual people that made decisions that put us where we are today, its much easier to create new villains out of public sector workers, who are police officer, teachers, firefighters, who are our neighbors, our friends, our relatives.”

The bottom line in all this simple, if the $8 trillion dollar housing bubble did not burst and the state of economy was not as it is today, than politicians would not be going after public workers they way that they have. As stated in the report public workers salaries on average across the nation is ~4% less than private employee salaries, it’s states like NJ that have shorted public pension systems over the years that have created much of this problem themselves and are attempting to skirt the responsibilities and promises that they have made to their employees.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Filed under Chris Hayes, Gov. Chris Christie, health benefits and pension, public employees, scapegoats, The Nation, villains

NJPP Monday Minute 8/2/10: Rutgers Report Compares NJ Public and Private Employee Compensation


NJPP’s July 19 Monday Minute asked and answered the question: are public employees overpaid? National studies suggest that, on average, public sector employees are paid less than private sector employees – particularly in professional positions – but that public employee benefits (health insurance and pensions) tend to be better than private sector benefits.

Now that question can be asked and answered about New Jersey thanks to a new report by Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations professor Jeffrey Keefe. His report has just been published by the DC-based Economic Policy Institute.

This is an important question in light of the governor’s interest in privatizing an increasing number of public services. The most significant savings in most privatization proposals come from salary savings – from reduced salaries and the constriction or elimination of benefits.

Professor Keefe’s data analysis controlled for education, experience, hours of work, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity and disability and found that no significant difference exists between private and public sector compensation cost on a per hour basis.

But he finds that the public and private sector use substantially different approaches to staffing and compensation.

Salaries:

  • New Jersey public sector workers, on average, are more highly educated than private sector workers: 57 percent of full time New Jersey public sector workers hold at least a four-year college degree compared to 40 percent of full time private sector workers.
  • New Jersey state and local governments pay college educated workers, on average, 10 percent less than private employers. As noted in the July 19 Monday Minute, the earnings differential is greatest for professional employees, lawyers and doctors.
  • But the public sector sets a floor on compensation. Compensation of workers without a high school education is higher for public employees than for private employees.
  • State and local government employees receive a higher portion of their compensation in the form of employer-provided benefits and the mix of benefits is different from the private sector.

Benefits:

  • Public employers contribute, on average, 34 percent of employee compensation to benefits compared to 31 percent in the private sector.
  • Health insurance accounts for 11 percent of public sector compensation, but only seven percent of private sector employees’ compensation.
  • Retirement benefits are eight percent of public employees’ compensation compared to four percent in the public sector. And most public employees participate in defined benefit pension plans, while more private sector employers have switched to defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans. A significant difference between these two plans is risk. Defined contribution plans shift much of the risk from the employer to the employee.

Using a standard earnings equation, Dr. Keefe estimates that fulltime state and local employees are under-compensated by about four percent. When the number of hours worked is included in the calculation, there is no significant difference in total compensation between fulltime state and local employees and private sector employees.

It is alleged that public employee unions and collective bargaining have produced an over-compensated workforce. Eligible public employees are almost completely unionized in New Jersey. It is well known that taxpayers do not want to pay higher taxes and so exert considerable pressure on elected officials to resist increases in compensation, creating an incentive to hold government below market compensation.

This report only considers fulltime public employees in New Jersey. It makes a strong case that fulltime public sector workers are not the cause and cannot be the solution to the state’s financial problems.

Lessons for privatization
It is likely that schemes to privatize state services will fail to result in savings if those services require more than a high school education – since the compensation differential between private sector and public sector salaries tends to be greatest as education levels increase.

Even in situations where a high school education is sufficient, savings may be questionable when health insurance and pensions are considered. When the Whitman administration privatized janitorial services in state buildings, state employees lost their jobs and benefits. The average state salary for a custodian at that time was just under $20,000 with benefits. When state office buildings were raided after the private contractor was hired, it was discovered that a number of the new cleaning staff were undocumented workers working off the books at below minimum wage with no benefits. The only person who benefits from this situation is the private contractor as long as he doesn’t get caught.

The actual cost to the public of low wage private sector workers is greater than people think. People with no health insurance, no vacation or sick days and no retirement are cheaper for their private sector employers to hire, but ultimately are supported by public services.

The children of the person who drives the privately owned school bus, often qualify for New Jersey’s FamilyCare program because they have no other health insurance. That driver personally may use emergency rooms in the hospital more because he or she can’t afford to go to the doctor. If that person’s child is very sick, New Jersey generally allows her to take paid family leave so she can take care of her child. If that person has no employer-sponsored retirement plan, she will need greater public support in his or her old age.

What everyone seems to forget is that when the private sector fails to provide for its workers, it is the public and the taxpayer who picks up the slack. What may seem like a good deal often doesn’t include the hidden costs.

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Filed under compensation, Monday Minute, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ FamilyCare, private employees, Professor Jeffrey Keefe, public employees, Rutgers University

NJPP Monday Minute 7/19/10: Public Employees: Are they overpaid?


State and local government budgets are under severe strain. Rather than blame the world-wide recession, which has caused tax revenues to fall and the demand for public services to increase, politicians want to blame public employees who, they claim, are over-compensated.

Gov. Christie has proposed his 33 bill “Tool Kit” as a solution to reducing costs for towns, schools and higher education. The 2.0 percent property tax cap is the centerpiece of his package, which he claims will bring property taxes in New Jersey under control. The Tool Kit includes policy changes in the areas of “civil service, collective bargaining, employee pensions and benefits, red tape and unfunded mandates, election reform, executive superintendent authority and shared services.” All of these changes are likely to substantially change public employment in New Jersey.

But are public employees really overpaid?

In May of this year, Rutgers University held a seminar at which this question was the central issue. Professors Jeffrey Keefe from the School of Management and Labor Relations and William Rodgers from the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development presented some facts about public-private employment in New Jersey. Among their findings:

  • A basic comparison of wages indicates that private sector employees are on average paid more than public sector employees.
  • These comparisons vary markedly when education is considered. Workers with only a high school education are compensated better in the public sector than in the private sector because most public sector jobs are not paid at minimum wage and include health insurance and pension benefits.

The table below compares annual earnings at various education levels. People with bachelors’ degrees, those with professional degrees and those with master’s degrees all earn significantly more when employed by the private sector rather than the public sector. Clearly the differential between the private sector and the public sector is not due solely to wages.



Comparing Public-Private Annual Earnings

Compensation by Education Private Public

Average Wages $69,979 $56,694


Average Total Compensation $104,409 $89,917

Wages by Education

Less than high school $27,719 $41,000
High school $44,760 $44,050
Some college $53,901 $47,567
Associates $56,181 $50,916
Bachelors $89,041 $56,641
Professional degree $175,141 $79,330
Masters $107,328 $69,171
Doctorate $108,528 $109,482

  • Public employees are more educated. Forty-four percent of private sector workers have at least a college degree compared to 57 percent in the public sector.
  • Wages of less educated men in the private sector have eroded over time. Some of the possible reasons for this are the erosion of the state’s manufacturing base; the decline in private sector unions; and an increase in the supply of less educated and less skilled men.

These trends are mirrored in a report released in May 2010 by John Schmitt at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He found that state and local employees appear to earn more than private sector employees and he attributes that to the fact that state and local employees are older and substantially more educated than private sector workers. Another interesting bit of data he cites is that 60 percent of state and local government employees are women compared to 46 percent of employees in the private sector.

Professor Keefe has done further analysis of the public-private compensation issue since the Rutgers seminar in May. Many of New Jersey’s financial problems stem from inadequate information. If it had been known that the state would lose $24 billion in revenue from the sales and income tax cuts under Gov. Whitman, would we still have done it? If it had been known how high the cost to the state of providing pensions to every public employee who earned $1,900 a year would we still have permitted it?

The Senate is considering bills included in Governor Christie’s Tool Kit starting today and the Assembly plans to review the reforms during the summer. That’s as it should be – open and public and transparent. But let’s also be transparent about the affect this legislation will have on local governments, too. For a change let’s do things right. Let’s figure out what the true future costs and the benefits of such changes will be to the services provided in New Jersey.

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Filed under Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey Policy Perspective, private employees, public employees, tax saving tool, wages