Jan 5, 2009

Pondering Pawlowski

Without a doubt, Pawlowski is the most political mayor Allentown has ever had. Although even his own controller, Bill Hoffman, stated there is no uncertainty that taxpayers will have to augment shortfalls in the pension funds, Pawlowski says no one knows for sure that the stock market will not sufficiently rebound. Knowing that the investment market has punished the pension funds by almost 50%, there is no question that Pawlowski is being political in this election year; he has proposed no tax increase or cut backs for 2009. Pawlowski, and his finance director Larry Hilliard, have their fingers crossed that the state will provide aid and also allow municipalities to reimburse the pension shortfall over a longer period of time. On another pension issue, I do support his deferred retirement option plan, which would allow experienced officers to qualify for the lucrative pension under the expiring contract, yet continue working. After losing over 80 officers because of Afflerbach's contract, we must try to retain the senior officers. Although this plan will cost the taxpayers an additional premium, it's value for the money, something not often seen recently in Allentown.


Glenn said...

How did we in this country start down slippery slope?

For years the only retirement anyone could receive Social Security. Pensions were up and above that. Shouldn't they still be a private choice? Pensions should not be borne by either government nor business. We started down this road and now it's time to backup and dig ourselves out by stopping it, unpleasant as that may be. It simply doesn't work and we can no longer afford to continue this mistake!

Instead of divvying up public monies, if anything, we should focus on SS that everyone benefited from in order to strength it [if that's the road people still favor]. As far as anything beyond that. No matter whether taxpayers or employees like it or not.. the system's crumbling beneath us at this very moment. If someone needs more then SS can provide, that should be the individual's call.

That's what I call a compromise [bipartisan ideals] between capitalism and social needs.

Anonymous said...

Michael, your comment, "On another pension issue, I do support his deferred retirement option plan, which would allow experienced officers to qualify for the lucrative pension under the expiring contract, yet continue working."
No matter how you analyze this issue, the taxpayer will end up paying more dollars under this plan. I agree that he pension obligation will not change but do we really believe that the officers will work at a lesser salary than they are currently receiving? Also, a major consideration the taking away promotions of qualified current lower rank officers. It is their desire to rise in rank and now they may have to wait to be promoted and may even retire before those that are retained, retire.
I, also, believe that experience at the street level policeman is what is most important and not the administrative police. Therefore, in my eyes, we would gain very little in police experience.
I believe the police issue is one that is very complicated and a "fix" such as this is not all encompassing.
By the way this is not a Palowski idea, I believe is has some roots in Philadelphia.
Maybe what we need to do is ask Cunningham for another $5,000,000 to fix the problem. (Just kidding)
Bob Romancheck

Anonymous said...

Michael -

Here's what I gather from the DROP proposal:

1) It will only affect a "few" members of the force at the top;
2) The Mayor states that it will not cost the city anything; and
3) Although the Mayor and Finance Director cannot agree on exactly what it will cost, there is no need for an actuarial study because the cost will be negligible.

If I am not mistaken, I heard something very similar only 4 or 5 years ago. That did not work out very well.

Mike Schware

michael molovinsky said...

bob r and mike s, yes this drop plan will cost the taxpayers one or two hundred thousand, but in my opinion it's worth it. the option has already attracted 20 street officers (not top brass). it goes without saying a senior officer is at a higher pay-grade, but we have already lost too much collective memory (40% of the force in 3 years). at this point in time, it would be penny wise and dollar foolish to reject this option.

Anonymous said...

MM -

You might be correct about the cost. However, the accountant in me would like to see something that would back up that claim.

Again, we've been down this road before (promises of low cost and no actuarial study) and it didn't turn out very well.

Mike Schware

michael molovinsky said...

mike, i understand your concerns, but on the last deal there was no upside for the taxpayers, all the police rushed for the door. this program gives them a reason to stay put, they don't give up their right to that absurd previous pension plan, yet we get the benefit of keeping some experienced officers. bob r. was concerned that it might discourage middle age officers from getting the promotions they deserve;
1. without the afflerbach pensions the older officers would not have retired anyway.
2. this program has a shelf life of 5 years.
3. the pipeline for new officers never filled up anyway, creating a shortage of manpower.