The impoverished city, operating under a receiver for a year, has promised $80 million worth of retirement benefits to 214 police officers and firefighters, far more than it can afford. Those workers’ pension fund will probably run out of money in October, giving Central Falls the distinction of becoming the second municipality in the United States to exhaust its pension fund, after Prichard, Ala.
“Time is running out,” warns Robert G. Flanders, the state-appointed receiver, who recently closed the public library and a community center to save money. He has no power to cancel the city’s contracts with workers, so instead he has begun approaching retired police officers and firefighters with what he describes as “the Big Ask”: will they voluntarily accept smaller benefits in the name of saving Central Falls?Rhode Island. Well, cities can go bankrupt. States, it's debatable. The Feds can just print money.
We've sent our citizen legislators to Washington to stop the spending, because the DC red ink is only part of the bleeding we have to stanch around this country at every level of government.
These uniformed workers can retire after just 20 years of service, receive free health care in retirement, and qualify for full disability pensions when only partly disabled.[snip]
If the city were contributing the recommended amount to the plan each year, it would take 57 percent of local property tax revenue.
Emphasis mine. Sound familiar? We can't afford these contracts. Ask your city. Find your state. Say no, vote no.Daniel L. Beardsley Jr., executive director of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, said it was not the city’s idea. Other states limit what can be decided in collective bargaining, but Rhode Island’s law says that for police and firefighters, “wages, hours and any and all terms or conditions of employment” are subject to negotiation.“That means even the length of a mustache,” said Mr. Beardsley, who over many years has represented Central Falls and other municipalities in contract negotiations. Talks broke down more often than not, he said, and then the same state law called for binding arbitration, which for many years was a clubby process that emphasized comparable benefits all across the state more than any city’s ability to pay.
And then the government needs to get out of the way so we can grow this economy again. P.S. Chicago Sun Times: Hundreds of city workers earned over $10,000 in OT in four months
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