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Should ALL City Employees Have to Pay Their Full Share of Pension Costs?
Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske
Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske
 
 Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske
 
Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske
 
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Should All City Employees Pay Their Portion of Pension Costs?
 
Dear Readers,

Is it "class warfare" to request that all city employees (including management) pay their portion of pension costs?

Mayor Foster accused me of engaging in "class warfare" last night at the Council budget meeting when I dared to ask why wasn't management paying its portion of pension costs. (They are only paying 2% of the 8% employee portion.)

I don't think it is "class warfare." I think it is fiscally sound. It also strikes at the hypocrisy which some have engaged in by bashing non-management employees who are in the process of voting on pension reform. These staff employees have been referred to as "greedy" and having a sense of "entitlement."

Why isn't management paying the full 8%? The City Manager explained that because they haven't received a pay increase in 5 years and a full pick up of pension would mean a 6% decrease in their overall salary. The other problem it would create is that there would be little difference in salary between management and non-management -- they call it salary compression.

Yes, we have gotten all the other employee groups to pick up their share of the employee pension costs -- but these groups have all received salary increases which they are using to pay for the pension pickup.

So perhaps we should do the same for the management group -- provide a 6% salary increase and then require that it be used to pay for the full employee share of pension costs.

Last night in City Council we had families come to the podium in tears, begging the Mayor and City Council not to cut programs in our parks or in our libraries. Cuts that will seriously impact the heart and soul of this community. We listened as police and fire discussed the serious cuts they are making.

I cited two recent studies about Long Beach that should be of great concern as we are asked to essentially change what people like about the city. The first is the Knight Gallup Study done of 25 cities across the US -- including Long Beach. Click here to see video on this study.

The second study was the national literacy rating of cities over 250,000. Once again we were down at the bottom. Out of 75 we ranked 65. Click here to read the reports.

How can we ask our residents to bear the brunt of cuts in important city services that impact their daily lives -- the services they depend to keep their neighborhoods clean, safe and livable -- and at the same time not do everything we can to lower the costs of pensions for all of our employees and while we sit on another year of surplus?

If that isn't "class warfare" then I don't know what is.

Let me know what you think by emailing me at: district5@longbeach.gov.

Thanks for taking time to be involved.
Gerrie
Gerrie Schipske
Councilwoman, 5th District
Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske