The point is a good one, of course. How much money can a small city of around 11,000 people be expected to pay for the lifelong comfort and well-being of its retired employees? How many millions of hard to come by tax dollars would have to be spent in order to do this? That question never seems to get brought up. Even when City Hall is asking you to vote yourself a tax hike for just that purpose.
Here is an example of what I mean. Recently the City of Sierra Madre sent out the following press release.
How you feel about contracting out Library services is a discussion that needs to be had. Like many of this city's services, such costs have become an issue. The money isn't as plentiful as it used to be, and certainly the sunsetting of the UUT (AKA "CalPERS Tax") has contributed to this situation. But it is by no means the only reason why things have gotten to this point.
One of the biggest financial problems facing the Library going forward will be the pensions of its two most recently retired Directors. Both of whom received over $150,000 in total annual compensation during their working years.
This following item can be found in the most recent edition of the City Manager Report (link):
Per the Transparent California site, here is what Carolyn Thomas pulled down in total compensation in the year 2014 (link):
Am I the only one who believes that $157,600.77 is a lot to pay someone yearly to run the library of a small town of around 11,000 people? Any idea of how much money Carolyn Thomas will be paid by the taxpayers of Sierra Madre in yearly pension costs for the rest of her life?
Here is what the previous Sierra Madre Library Director Antoinette "Toni" Buckner received in pension payments last year (link):
To the point of the person who sent us the email I cited at the top of this post, once a new Sierra Madre Library Director is hired, exactly how much will it cost yearly to pay that person, plus his or her two predecessors?
My guess is, and this includes our mandatory continuing participation in CalPERS, somewhere in the vicinity of $300,000 a year. That is what needs to be covered. Some for one active Library Director, the rest for those two aforementioned retired predecessors.
Just in case you're wondering where a big chunk of the Library's budget gets spent. And why under such pressing financial constraints this venerable city institution might actually end up having to be outsourced to Los Angeles County. Along with one or two other similarly financed departments, like the SMPD.
Of course, don't look for that kind of information in any City of Sierra Madre press releases. They don't really want you worrying your pretty little head over things like that.