Entries by Ed Ring

How Glendale Saved Money on Retiree Health Costs

In most cities and counties in California, “OPEB” (other post-employment benefit) costs are a growing expense. While OPEB costs do not amount to nearly as much as costs for pensions, they are significant, and like pension costs, they are increasing every year. And unlike pensions, cities and counties usually have more flexibility to modify OPEB […]

Prohibit Public Money in Campaigns for New Taxes and New Bonds

What’s the difference between “communications” and a political campaign? The difference should be obvious. When you engage in a political campaign, you are explicitly supporting a particular candidate or ballot measure. When you are “communicating,” you are compelled to limit yourself to presenting objective facts and information to the public; you cannot take a stand […]

Explaining the Pension Crisis – Additional Graphics

The following set of five financial graphics are offered as additional templates (ref. previous post “Graphics to Explain the Pension Crisis to Colleagues and Constituents“) that can be prepared and used by any local elected official, journalist, or citizen activist who wants to explain to others how pension obligations affect the financial health of their […]

Graphics to Explain the Pension Crisis to Colleagues and Constituents

The following financial graphics can be prepared and used by any local elected official, journalist, or citizen activist who wants to explain to others how pension obligations affect the financial health of their city, county, or other public agency. While these tables depict data for the City of San Jose, the format they use can […]

Pension Questions To Ask Your Agency’s CFO, Actuary & Auditor

The following list of questions, compiled by the Reason Foundation, offers the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of any public agency pension plan. This list can be useful to any local elected official, journalist, or citizen activist who wants to know much more about how pension obligations affect the financial health of their city, […]

Privatized Prosecutions Are Coming To California

Across America there are harrowing tales of public agencies using private firms to enforce laws and ordinances. From the troubling IRS privatizing collections of past-due taxes, to the more sinister “alternatives to incarceration” industry, or the terrifying “ex-parte guardianship” scam, exploitative public/private partnerships abound. Often the potential for corruption and abuse is huge, as a supposedly […]

How Local Officials Can Prepare for the Janus Ruling

“A public employer shall provide all public employees an orientation and shall permit the exclusive representative, if applicable, to participate.” – Excerpt from California State Assembly Bill AB 52, December 2016 In plain English, AB 52 requires every local government agency in California to bring union representatives into contact with every new hire, to “allow […]

Coping With the Pension Albatross

Instead of the cross, the albatross About my neck was hung. –  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1798 In Coleridge’s famous poem, a sailor who killed an albatross has it hung around his neck as punishment. Since then, the albatross, which sailors used to consider good luck, has come to symbolize an oppressive […]