On May 23, the Marin IJ published an article regarding union workers and their protest of the county contract. Mr. Katz, the chief negotiator for Marin Association of Public Employees, never mentions the upcoming budget deficits over the next three years or that the county’s debt is increasing at an alarming rate. Perhaps there’s another angle to consider.
Ten years ago, the county had 2,242 full time employees, total assets of $319.7 Million and $25.6 Million in total liabilities. As of June 2017, there is virtually the same number of FTE’s, but the financial picture is quite different. Now we have total assets of just over $2 Billion and total liabilities of $707 Million. The debt to asset ratio was 8%, now it’s a whopping 35%. This trend is not sustainable. Personnel cost represent 70% of the county’s budget. That is stunning. Seems more like a government jobs program than anything else.
One of Marin’s premier public companies, Auto Desk, reports $2.2 Billion in expenses of which Salaries & Benefits represents 13.5%. Can you imagine what would happen to this company if the number was 70% of expenses? Game over!
You won’t hear Mr. Katz talk about that. What does he think our county finances will look like in ten more years? I think public employees should be more concerned about what’s looming down the road versus the challenges of today. There may be nothing left to protest, regardless of past promises made by our elected officials.