Police, Teachers, Firefighters Defend Public Pensions In Carson

LOS ANGELES (CBS)— A state legislative panel met in Carson on Wednesday in the first of what is likely to be several hearings on a hotly-debated topic: public pension reform.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports the audience was packed with a number of firefighters, cops and teachers and other public employees fighting to hang on to payments they feel they deserve.

Many attendees at Carson City Hall voiced their fear that their public pensions are being unfairly targeted in these tough financial times.

“Pensions are not the problem, fiscal irresponsibility by public officials is the problem,” said Brian Moriguchi, president of the Professional Police Officers Association.

The so-called “Pension Truth Squad” noted that public employees have agreed to changes that are saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars in pension costs.

But according to committee co-chairman Warren Furutani, before that can happen they need to institute specific reforms to curb abuses like pension spiking and “double-dipping” where someone retires on a pension on a Friday, and get rehired on salary on a Monday.

“We need to do this more surgically with a scalpel, rather than with a meat cleaver or a sledgehammer,” said Furutani.

Public employees overall blamed government officials for mishandling pension funds and seemed to signal that early retirement makes sense for some workers such as cops and firefighters.

“If your wife and kids need police assistance, they’re being mugged, something’s happening, I don’t think you want 65-year-old police officers,” said one attendee.

More from Jon Baird
  • JT

    First of all they already make 33-50% more in salary/overtime than they should. then they get their ridiculous platinum plated pensions and health care benefits. A 401K plan for everyone will solve the problem. And pay for half your health care costs. If you retire in your 50’s, go get another job. NO MORE PENSIONS!

  • mike shore

    supply and demand,,, we have a ton of qualified servicemen and women who would be happy to take jobs in law enforcement for a lot less than we are being made to pay now. Police,fire and teachers should not have a union other than the government.

    • mike

      you are to stupid to do any of those jobs. go stick your head in the sand in another country.

    • Artie Manhattan

      Unions their killing this country

      • mike

        No dumb ass the illegals are.

  • Pilau

    The problem was started when legislators gave these people medical and retirement benefits exceeding the public’s instead of pay raises so they could stay within budget. Now it has caught up on them. But, the issue here is how do people solve this problem. Perhaps we need to pay them better and have them get their own medical and retirement after they retire. Maybe have them contribute more. Legacy costs have affected both corporate and public sector
    a like. There are no simple solutions.

  • Pratt Robert

    greed……GREED………greed……on all sides is the problem in the intired state an local public employees. Can afford them. time for them to get there own, an see how well they do.

  • Newell Knox

    I am a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. There is no such thing as teacher overtime.

    Secondly, we are not like police or fire. For me to get a FULL pension, I need to work 38 years. If you don’t believe me, call up Cal STRS and ask.

  • Pauline Belleville

    I am a City employee and in order to get a full pension I have to work 30 years, no retiring at 50 for me either. While tax dollars DO pay my salary, my pension is deducted from that salary, so it’s not greed, I am working for it. We don’t pay into Social Security either, so I don’t know what “platinum” benefits you are referring to. The previous comment about giving us better benefits instead of pay raises years ago made sense at the time. Now that the economy is in the toilet (no fault of mine BTW), everyone is pointing a finger at those who have something they don’t.

    Why aren’t people looking into health insurance reform and putting as much effort into trying to cut THOSE costs instead of penalizing the working class?

    • sick of it

      Look everyone is innocent, including us taxpayers who are having to pay a bigger share of your retirement because of the short comings of your retirement fund (no fault of mine BTW). Was it us private employees that sunk your retirment account? Guess what when my 401K takes a hit I take a hit, why should government employees be protected by us taxpayers who aren’t afforded the same protections? See when the market crashes we suffer loses too, but then after we take that hit in the market, we are also asked to shore up your retirment accounts. Seems government employees should share the same risk the rest of society does when it comes to retirement accounts.

    • Artie Manhattan

      because your unions are sucking the life out of california. Oh my work 30 yrs???… poor baby. I have been in my job for 38. a teacher starting out of college at what 23, 24…. 30 yrs your 53, poor baby

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