Unions seek to muzzle taxpayer advocate

What really bothers me about government unions is that they keep on sucking taxpayers dry, regardless of the outcome of their greed. Look at what happened in the past few months in the City of Vallejo, where the firefighters and police officers nearly drove the city bankrupt.

Here in Orange County, “a 2001 labor agreement between the deputies union and the county that increased pension payments by one-third and granted the benefit retroactively, bringing the average pension salary for retired deputies to $70,000 per year, by the estimate of county Supervisor John Moorlach,” according to the L.A. Times.

Yes, the O.C. Board of Supervisors made a very stupid decision to overpay the deputies ad infinitum even though the money would not be there in the future to pay them. In fact, “Moorlach believed the county could not legally grant the benefit because he said it violated the state Constitution’s prohibition on deficit spending, committing the county to $187 million more in payments in the coming decades than it had money to pay. He led the board to a unanimous vote in January to file the lawsuit.”

The L.A. Times is reporting that union leaders are upset because the Chairman of their pension fund, Reed Royalty (pictured at left), is also siding with the Supervisors on the pension issue. Royalty wears two hats as he is also the head of the O.C. Taxpayers Association.

Who cares what the union leaders have to say? Is Royalty doing his job as Chairman of the Orange County Employee Retirement System? It would be one thing if he wasn’t. By all accounts he is doing his job.

This issue is about muzzling Royalty’s free speech rights. It is funny how ostensibly liberal union bosses will overlook our right to free speech if the speech in question is not convenient to them.

The real issue here is not that Royalty is supporting the Supervisors’ quest to overturn a very bad decision. It is that the unions in question pushed for that bad decision and are sticking to it, even though it might eventually drive Orange County bankrupt. Again.

Royalty actually wrote a pretty good opinion piece about the pension disaster, where he informs us that “general (non-safety) county employees will be able to retire at age 55 with over 80% of salary.” How many of the rest of us will be able to retire at 55, with 80% of our salary? None of us most likely!

What about the deputies? For a deputy earning $70,000 a year at retirement, the change meant the difference between a pension of $35,000 a year and one totaling $52,500 a year. Take a look at your Social Security statement and see what you are going to get when you retire.

Kudos to the O.C. Supervisors for standing up for the taxpayers. Too bad the 2001 Supervisors did not do so. We elect our Supervisors, so they can stand up to, not bow down to, special interests. Kudos to Royalty for bravely voicing his concerns even though the unions don’t like it.

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.