Friday, December 9, 2011

My comments before the county commission

This was just before they voted for the three new union contracts:

"You have been elected by the public and we the electorate have entrusted you the authority and responsibility to make informed and wise decisions on our behalf.
As you all know, you will vote today to approve or disapprove 3 union contracts binding county employees and taxpayers.
And as you surely must know, the specifics of those agreements have been kept from those who will ultimately be paying the cost of these legally binding documents.
The citizens and taxpayers of our county.
So I would ask, before you vote, to inform us taxpayers and residents of Muskegon county and to answer some simple questions that I'm sure you have already asked yourselves:
How many paid days off from work, including holidays, sick days, vacation days, personal days, birthdays and any other paid leave from the work of the county will these new contacts grant?
How do the new contracts differ from the current contract in this respect?
The retirement and healthcare benefits including vision and dental for county employees have been described as Cadillac plans and are definitely far more lavish than those of private employers and local municipalities in our county.
They more resemble union agreements in Detroit's Wayne county and Flint's Genesee county rather than the balanced budget counties of Oakland or Kent county.
Do these new contracts address those unfair disparities?
Our county has made promises of secure healthcare and pensions to current and already retired employees that are estimated to be underfunded by approximately $100 million dollars .
Exactly how will these new contracts affect the county's ability to fulfill your promises to county employees without reducing services or increasing taxes?
Simply stated, how much more or less will these contracts cost the taxpayers of Muskegon county.
If it will be less, let's celebrate together.
If it will be more, please explain.
If you don't know, how can you vote on these contracts?
In short, you have a sacred responsibility to fully understand in great detail, just how these union agreements will affect the ability of the county to provided services and manage the scarce funds available.
Please assure us citizens that you have the answers and will share them with us before you vote.
Otherwise, I implore you to postpone your vote until you have fulfilled your responsibilities and know specifically what your vote would cost.
Just like you would do if it was your own money."

Letters: Consolidation: One government.; one bad idea

Letters: Consolidation: One government.; one bad idea
Consolidation is an ideology that claims smaller government by enlarging the perimeters of the area, eliminating the individual governments within those boundaries and replace them with one government.
However, this is not smaller government.
It is one government.
And contrary to the supporters' claims, one government does not mean smaller government.

Well stated!
Now that more Americans are understanding what "consolidation" really means, watch out for the new word "collaboration".
Nice new word to describe the same old power grab.