I am writing in response to the previous letters from Debra Marlow and James C. Morris. While I appreciate the heartfelt response from Ms. Marlow regarding her husband having chosen a career as a police officer, she should remember it was his choice. Therefore, the situations he will find himself in, dangerous or otherwise, are inherent with the job. He knew this when he took the job.
Regarding the letters from James Morris, his complaints sound more like sour grapes than anything else. He states he paid 9 percent into CALPERS while the city he worked for matched that contribution at the time of his employment. He then retired at 60 percent after working for 30 years.
I worked for a city government as a police and fire dispatcher for 36 years, paying half of my CALPERS retirement the entire time of my employment. My husband is a retired police officer who worked for a city government for 29 years, also paying half of his CALPERS. The only reason he retired was due to the heart attack he had while working. Certainly not his choice, otherwise he would still be employed as a police officer, which he very much enjoyed doing.
Your retirement payments and your end result retirement package, Mr. Morris, are the fault of your bargaining unit. I really doubt that while the economy was at a high you even cared what anyone else’s compensation package was. I think now you are realizing that while you were employed, maybe your contract wasn’t that great. I have no idea how long ago you retired, but from your compensation package, I would say it has been a while.
Your complaint lies with your bargaining unit, your fellow firefighters who negotiated your contract. The fact that you feel the police and fire are overcompensated at this time is because they have personnel who work with the city to negotiate these contracts. If you have been reading the articles in the paper during the last six months, you would see that police and fire have both made many concessions in order to come to an agreement on current contracts within each jurisdiction.
If you want to complain about people being over compensated, try taking a hard look at the salaries and compensation packages of the prison guards in California. They above anyone else are putting a strain on California.
You also state in your letter that there are hundreds of people who would happily apply to become a police officer. This may be true as far as applicants go, but for every 200 or 300 applicants that do in fact apply when all of the background and testing is done, the jurisdictions are lucky to get 10 candidates who can make it all the way through. Then they have an academy to complete, during which many others wash out.
Homeowners have had their property taxes reduced due to the falling home values. If this is not the case with your home, then possibly you have not requested a re-evaluation of the property. That would be your fault. There is no possible way you can accuse all of these economic problems on contracts negotiated only for police and fire personnel.
Diane Blair, Antioch