In his effort to shoot the messenger, MAPE Executive Director Rollie Katz falls back on well-rehearsed spiel that I have heard and read enough times to be able to deliver it myself. It is all available, including the 3-legged stool analogy, in his speech given February 4, 2015. https://youtu.be/NbwNSrxVHN0
Mr. Katz still insists that MAPE workers, indeed most government workers, are underpaid. This is said in the face of statistics recently issued, and included in my Marin Voice, showing that MAPE employees earn more than most Marin residents. Even more interesting is that he uses this “low pay” as a reason for not saving toward retirement, when the fact is simply that they don’t need to worry about saving because the taxpayers are on the hook for public employee pensions that are far more generous than those of the private sector.
It’s worthwhile to remember what happened in the 1970’s when Marin County government opted to drop Social Security and move to the current system. According to then-Supervisor Denis Rice, employees first voted down the proposal made by the supervisors, but those elected officials were determined – and made a great effort to win over the employees - followed by a second vote. This time they “won”, although Supervisor Rice warned them that it was “unsustainable”.
He was right.
Therefore, when Mr. Katz laments the fact that they are not eligible for Social Security, he need look no further than the county brass for blame, if indeed he actually believes what he’s saying.
I think these two sentences astound me even more than Mr. Katz’s other ridiculous remarks:
“These are hard-working middle class employees who struggle to even live in our high-cost region. Many, even if they have a working spouse or partner, cannot afford to live in our county and will be unable to live here when they retire.”
Does he not realize that he just described the plight of many Marin taxpayers – and most of their adult children? Maybe he has isolated himself in the government world for too long. Or maybe he limits his scope to only the very wealthiest of Marin residents, as he accuses us of doing with public employees when calling for pension reform.
Jack Dean of Pension Tsunami reminded me of a quote that is too good not to share:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." ~ Upton Sinclair
I hope you will take a moment to leave a comment on Rollie Katz’s recent Marin Voice piece in the Marin IJ.