From the Harford Campaign for Liberty:
I want to make you all aware of the upcoming fleecing of the Town of Bel Air.
This is nothing more than a naked grab of the taxpayers wallet. The Bel Air Town Commissioners are going to vote on Monday 11/17 to increase the pension obligation of the town for new retirees by between 10%-15%. This is an outrage. The current pension rate is 40% of final year’s income.
If approved, it would grow to 50%-55%. This is a huge increase in the entitlement obligation for the town. Most governments are looking for ways to REDUCE their obligations. Not Bel Air! The state of Maryland is $1+ Billion in the hole for 2011. Harford County is $40 Million in the hole. Worse, the state of Maryland is going to push teachers pensions back on the counties, thus worsening the financial standing of local government.
Yet, during one of the biggest recessions in the nation’s history, one where 9,000 folks in Harford are unemployed (Aegis front page 11/10) the Town of Bel Air thinks it is an excellent time to pass the loot to their friends!! This is an abuse of power at worst. It is irresponsible & incompetent governance at best. Neither are good. Both are unacceptable. Politicians who use the public coffers to enrich their friends or themselves is one of the reasons there is a Tea Party & a great reason to throw them out at the next opportunity.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT THIS?
The Resolutions to approve this legalized theft will be voted on in the Town Commissioners meeting on Monday 11/15/2010 at 39 North Hickory Avenue @ 7:30 p.m. We need to get the word out on this ASAP.
We need to get people out to the Town Commissioner Meeting to speak out, protest this abuse & hold these Town Commissioners responsible to their employers…the taxpayers of Bel Air. The Commissioners were trying to sneak this through without anyone noticing. So much for transparency. This is flat out wrong plain & simple. I have included the link of the website for the Bel Air Town Commissioners.
Please call them & email them.
Voice your outrage at this assault on the town treasury. Please ask your friends & family to do the same. The people are not their private piggy bank!
Harford Campaign for Liberty
P.S. Please speak out about this abuse of taxpayer money on Monday at 7:30 at the Bel Air Town Commissioners meeting! See you there!
Mike Perrone Jr. says
Exactly… this is why the TEA Party movement exists in the first place. Kudos to the Harford Campaign for Liberty for spreading awareness.
Jimmy Stillwells says
this move, with some of the slackers getting ready to retire, doesn’t surprise me one bit….it’s business as usual for Bel Air government. The sneaks will feather their nest, at the expense of the town taxpayers.
Let’s make a list of who’s on the ‘short list’ to retire…and I bet they are behind this little stunt.
Just Sayin' says
this is what the news media is all about, letting the cat out of the bag, letting the citizenry know when some ‘surprise’ is in the offing. Good work by Dagger, and Harford Campaign for Liberty.
I do not know who is behind HCFL, but keep it up.
yeah…do it right after this election so that by the time the next election comes around no one will remember . And if someone gets called out, remember, time heals all wounds. Voters will have it as a non issue by then – hold their feet to the fire for this.
Trying to balance the budget of county/local governments on the back of its workforce is not the answer. Most government employees are hard workers and contrary to popular hype, are not overpaid. There are far more private sector employees who abuse expense accounts, cars, etc… than you can imagine.
That said, Bel Air would save a lot of money by being absorbed into the Harford County Gov’t. The Bel Air Gov’t in general duplicates most functions that the county already handles, such as police, sanitation, administration, etc…
The residents of the entire county would save $ by eliminating the incorporated city governments of Havre de Grace, Aberdeen and Bel Air, and letting Harford County take over all the government services. Without three seperate Mayors and their egos, much saving would be the result.
Hmmm, what a novel idea! Reduce spending, lower taxes, eliminate duplication of effort, streamline government, make Harford County a nicer place to live in! TAXPAYER IN HARFORD FOR COMMISSIONER!
Rob in Bel Air says
Great idea . . . that was brought up years ago in regard to police services. However, the towns did not (and do not) want to give up that power. The plan was for the officers in the town PDs to be brought in under the Sheriff’s Office (those who met the job requirements). It never happened. The only downside I see is that those living outside the towns may have to pick up the extra cost for the increase in services. Right now town residents pay a local tax (in addition to the county tax) to offset some of the costs.
Still, something to think about (savings: mayors’ salaries and benefits X 3; council members’ salaries; police chiefs’ salaries and benefits; etc.). The savings could be passed onto taxpayers – what a novel idea.
Steve Joyce says
Yes, Bel Air, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace the only three municipalities in Harford County should keep their communities but give up their government bureaucracies and consolidate with the county.
"Municipal Man" says
Unincorporate the three municipalities!!!! I’m all for it.
Think of how much money EVERYONE could save thanks to the economy of scale! Eliminate the redundancy (and the two-bit elected officials). Harford County Government would LOVE for this to happen! Do we start a referendum?
Typical Tea Party/Campaign for Liberty incendiary rhetoric using words like “fleecing”, “naked grab”, “outrage”, “pass the loot”, “abuse of power”, “legalized theft”, “irresponsible and incompetent”, “protest this abuse”, “assault”, etc. without knowing the facts! Talk about irresponsible and incompetent! The intelligence (or lack thereof) of their argument is prominently displayed in this article.
Give me rational arguments with revelant factual supporting evidence and I’ll listen. Otherwise these poorly informed RINO (Republicans In Name Only) Tea Partiers and Campaign for Liberty loons will NEVER get my vote – and I’m a life-long Republican.
Tony Passaro says
Snowdrift (why not “SnowFLAKE”),
I am always amused when reading the DAGGER. the more outlandish the pseudonyms the more ridiculous the post…
Your post focuses on how we said what we did, not what we said.
Stand by for a flash. You may be a long time Republican but you write like a LIBERAL. Stop causing aspersions to be cast at the Republicans, long time or recent. Use your head for more than a hat rack.
Whether we used inflammatory words or not, and here I would hasten to add that we expressed justafiable and righteous indignation, the facts are irrefutable.
The move to increase pensions to buy off marginal employees is unconscionable and will be opposed, free of charge, by the protectors of the HARFORD TAXPAYERS the TEA PARTY MOVEMENT of which C4L is a member in good standing…..
This stunt by the town indicates that there are those that still do not get the Tea Party message….
“WITHOUT QUESTION WE MUST REIGN IN SPENDING”………..
This stunt is worst than Presidents Obama’s policy of wealth distribution. At least he proposes that we take from the rich and give to the poor. This attempt by the town takes from the poor Bel Air taxpayer and gives to the rich (the very well paid and pensioned Civil servant)..
Until the budgets are balanced and until the Recession ends and until our people are again working, read my lips, Snowflake and all those of your ilk:
“NO MORE INCREASES IN SPENDING, NOW WAY, NO HOW”..
Now go and spend no more.
I hold these beliefs so strongly that I, as always, am not afraid to identify myself.
Bel Air Tea Party Patriots
Another Political Critic says
While I don’t always agree with HCFL, I believe this is definitely a good cause. There is no reason that the government workers need an increase in their (probably already very gracious) pensions. I see where you are coming from in regards to the language used, but if you look at the message they have a great point.
Here is the explanation/facts you wanted, the timing could not have been better. Bel Air is following the same path. Good reading.
If you were truly a Republican as you say you would understand that these actions are not consistent with the principles of the Republican party.
Using the levers of government to reward your friends is just wrong.
To increase the debt load of the town is wrong.
You may also me intrested to know that the town pension fund has lost over $500 MILLION in the last 2 years.
The majority of the town’s revenue is from property taxes. Revenue is down. Property values are down. Home sales are WAY down. They will not be coming back any time soon.
The 6 impending retirees earn from $95,000 to $105,000. This will add 1.2M to the debt load of the town if they collect for 20 years from the age 55 retirement age. That’s does not count every other employee which will retire down through the years.
Need any more convincing reasons???
Care to guess where the dollars to cover the revunue short fall will come from?? YOU! That is if you live in the town. Most governments use these buyouts to RIF their work force. Bel Air has no intention of doing so. May Carey said in Friday’s Aegis it is being done to bring in new blood, meaning that the upcoming 6 retirees will be replaced.
Worse, the town commissioners put this proposal out a week ago to be voted in in a mere 7 days. Sounds like they were trying to sneak it through to me. Even a cursory review of the town’s financial statements & pension situation (which is online) would have revealed this to those commissioner’s willing & interested enough to look into it. They would have seen the same things.
Tell me again how increasing the pension pay out of connected public employees, increasing the debt load of the town, while the pension fund has lost a half a million dollars in an environment when revenue is declining & will not likely come back to previous levels with out tax increases is a good idea? It is clearly not good stewardship of the public finances which is one of the things the commissioners are elected to do.
Doesn’t sound like something that a person who calls themselves a Republican could approve of, unless they are a liberal RINO or a member of the Democrat party that believes the people exist to support the government & it’s bureaucrats.
Let them eat cake, right?
Correcting to my previous post above.
I meant the pension funds a $500,000 shortfall the last two years in in paragraph 4. NOT $500 Million. I reference $500,000 later in the post in the 3rd paragraph from the bottom of the post. Sorry for the confusion. Clearly the plan is not sustainable with the increased payout without tax increases on town residents.
Dave Pridgeon says
Tonight Resolution #947-10 was heard before a packed house of over 50 people at the Bel Air Town Hall. Testimony from one of the plan administrators conferred that the pension fund currently has $3.5 million dollars in assets, after recent loses, with a total of 60 town employees participating. A total of six people it is believed would chose retirement if the current plan is enhanced as proposed in the new bill.
If the current resolution is adopted someone currently making $100,000 a year in salary would have their annual pension raised from $40,000 to between $50,000 to $55,000 dollars. If that person lives 20 years, the pension plan would pay out between $1 million to $1.2 million dollars for this single person. Remember the plan currently only has 3.5 million in assets.
It appears the current plan is unsustainable, and any increase in benefit payments is simply ludicrous. I am sure the current employees eligible for retirement have been good public servants and they deserve all that was promised to them when they accepted employment. But enhancing the current plan is simply giving the lion’s share of the accumulated assets to those currently eligible, leaving the scores of other good Bel Air Town employees that will follow in retirement the crumbs. And ultimately, over the years, how much will the retirement fund have to be bailed out by the Citizen’s paying increased property taxes.
The Council voted tonight to table the current Resolution until an independent advisor can review the current state of the pension plan. In light of his comments, and questions, the only Councilman that made it clear he was against enhancing the payouts of the retirement plan was Terry Hanley. It was clearly the Citizens in attendance and Mr. Hanley that slowed down and derailed this run away train tonight.
The last woman who spoke last night made the best comment. She said she was disappointed that the Commissioners were prepared to vote on this and didn’t know the taxpayers would be responsible to pay these pensions if the plan ran out of money. How sad and pathetic. Who are they repesenting anyway?
PS. Commissioner Carey actually tried to make the argument that there was a difference between a $100,000 salary and a salary in the mid-$90,000’s. Huh? That got a good laugh from the crowd.
The bill was described on page 9 of Friday’s Aegis. The only public info generated was from Campaign for Liberty, in the Dagger, and by phone calls. You all should be grateful for the interest and the awareness that this band of Americans bring to our county. Thank you, C4L.
Why was the bill presented to be voted on before it was reviewed by the council’s independent advisor? This sounds a lot like what congress did with obamacare, and Pelosi’s, ‘we’ll know what’s in it when it’s passed’. What is the definition of insanity, repeating the same things expecting a different outcome?
Get Real says
Some of the Commissioners do not think the the taxpayers would be responsible if the pension fund was underfunded, so where do they thing the money will come from (The Tooth Fairy)
In economics, a defined benefit pension plan is a type of pension plan in which an employer promises a specified monthly benefit on retirement that is predetermined by a formula based on the employee’s earnings history, tenure of service and age, rather than depending on investment returns. It is ‘defined’ in the sense that the formula for computing the employer’s contribution is known in advance. In the United States, 26 U.S.C. § 414(j) specifies a defined benefit plan to be any pension plan that is not a defined contribution plan where a defined contribution plan is any plan with individual accounts. A traditional pension plan that defines a benefit for an employee upon that employee’s retirement is a defined benefit plan
Dave Yensan says
Does anyone know of any organization or company where money must be earned (as opposed to confiscated form someone in the form of taxes) that still has any type of defined benefit plan? Most big companies stopped their defined benefit plans back in the 80s when it was becoming obvious that the costs would outweigh the ability to pay.
Yes, Northrop Gruman
Dave Yensan says
Does Northrup Grumman have a union involved at any level? If so it’s undoubtedly the only reason the Board of Directors is willing to continue this archaic practice.
Not that I know of but I will ask my father-in-law who works for them!
But that was not a qualifier in the question!
Dave Yensan says
Correct you are CDEV. I failed to make that a qualifier, but I should have. Mea Culpa. In my experience (18 years working in employee benefits) Financial institutions, Government agencies and very large union driven companies are still offering defined benefit plans. All others can not afford the huge hit on the annual report and have abandoned the “archaic” retirement plans in favor of employee participating plans (401K, 457, IRA Sep IRA,) etc.
Government agencies are now finding themselves way behind the power curve and find that their retirement palns are woefully under funded. This action by Bel Air is jsut some more out of touch stuff by a gang of folks who have no idea what they are doing.
Churchville Joe says
Well for someone in HR you should be aware that many companies are going, starting next year I believe, to what is known as a DB-K (Defined Benefit AND 401K plan). These old pension plans NEVER were bad for a company nor it’s bottom line. What was bad was that they borrowed and underfunded them (look up Luken’s Steel to see the first real “wealth transfer” of retiree bennies). This is nothing more than Corporate Welfare (say how did that 401-k work out during the great recession?)used by these great CEO’s to shift the burden of paying retirement benefits to the US Gov’t (ERISA). It always pi**es me off when people say it is saving companies bottom line, blah blah blah. Fully funded pensions that are NOT raided/borrowed from and successfully managed are good for the employer (employee loyalty). I have left Northrop (after they bought TRW) to go into business for myself and have a personal 401k and will convert to a DB-K as soon as I am eligible. My Northrop pension is now part of my retirement planning and any well run company knows it is a very good recruitment tool. Seems as though many of our parents did quite well IF they had a Pension because they sure as he** ain’t doing well with just Social Security if they didn’t! BTW, I am not in a union nor a government worker FYI since it seems that everyone on these board thinks we are still a 90% Unionized nation (its actually near 12%) so that boogey man should just be put down and buried.
My Father in law says there is no union. Joe is very correct. The problem comes when employers rob Peter to pay Paul with their contributions. The best example is the Baltimore Police and Fire fund. The MSRAPP is ver solid.
Some of you are ridiculous. Stop with the political party rhetoric. Bottom line, the residents of Harford County (who are comprised of all these parties) should have their best interests served by the various governments here.
To save money, stop duplicating government services. To do this, merge the three municipalities of the county into the larger County Gov’t. On an economy of scale, the savings would be fantastic. Egos are the only thing holding us back. Beating up government employees is pathetic…they didn’t cause the problem, the elected officials did with disregard for how $ was spent.
Instead of complaining, offer a solution for improvement.
Phil Dirt says
The only people who should get to vote in this matter are the residents of the incorporated areas since we are the ones who would be directly affected, and I would be shocked if anywhere near a majority of Bel Air voters would be for it. I do pay higher taxes than the unincorporated residents, and I think the increased level of services provided is worth it.
That is fine but the rest of the county should not subsidize by combining departments. If you want it you pay for it.
Phil Dirt says
Uh, that’s exactly what we do – I pay more than non-incorporated folks do.
Phil not directed at you as much the person who suggested Bel Air save money by combining some parts with the county govt.
Get Real says
State workers blame ‘greed’ of private sector for $33b shortfall
ANNAPOLIS — Maryland state employees and union leaders railed against cost-saving proposals on Monday that would roll back their retirement and health benefits to help rein in the ballooning costs of the state’s ailing pension system.
Secretary Agnes Valenzia reminded the commission of employees’ power.
“Let’s make one thing clear,” said Valenzia, a retired 29-year veteran of the Motor Vehicle Administration. “State employees do not work for the state, they run the state.”
Dave Yensan says
This posting by GET REAL is absolutely terrifying. How can we possibly get ahead or even caught up with this attidtude out there? I can only assume that Secretary Valencia is with AFSCME. They have far too much power now and Marty intends to just make it worse.