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Old 09-21-2008, 07:27 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
I think there will be continuing and vocal backlash against federal pensions. I am hoping the system doesn't change much for those of us who are currently in it, otherwise I will have to consider my options.
I'm pretty vocal that things need to change and that taxpayers can't afford this much longer -- but I'd be even more vocal against changing the rules for people already in the system.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:00 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by accountingsucks View Post
Or we could just all be train operaters for the city of New York and become "disabled" at retirement.

Read this article and I guarantee you will be pissed

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/ny...1&ref=nyregion
NY has some pretty strange laws about work related disability. i know of several cases of able bodied folks who got themselves classified as "disabled, work related" and continue to play golf, drive cross country on vacations, work part time doing construction, etc etc. it just sickens me!
all you need to do is talk a good line with your doctor, fake the symptoms and you are home free. these scammers are an epidemic that needs to be cured.
the sad part is the truly disabled [work related] workers often do not know how to work the system and are honest, and are refused benefits.
thanks for posting that. we have a pretty good state attorney general in place, so i'm hoping this gets rooted out.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:05 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
I'm one of those "lucky" federal employees who migrated from the GS pay plan to the new pay for performance pay plan called NSPS. ...From what I can see, the system is designed to save uncle sam money at my expense. But, I'll reserve judgement until JAN...

One of the most distressing part of how my command is implementing NSPS pay raises is the mandatory split between salary increase and bonus. My command is mandating a 70/30 split. Bonus pay does not count toward the TSP match, pension, next years pay raise, etc. I expect a considerable erosion of my base pay, and therefore pension, over the next 14 years.
this was done as a "demonstration" for us back in 1997. the net result i saw was the "fox was loose in the henhouse and the farmer was in the lower forty". a few favorites at the top were awarded tremendous bonuses and the rank and file was given pittances. i sincerely hope it is done fairly where you are. good luck!
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:41 AM   #44
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Yes, fairness is a concern. That and my boss is 1400 miles away, so its a constant struggle for me to update him on my projects and to make sure he knows I'm doing a good job.

He did say there was no pressure to fit ratings to the normal bell curve. So, I guess in reality he could rate all of his employees a 5 (1 to 5 scale, 5 being walk on water, 3 being the "norm" as a valued performer). Trouble is, the funding wouldn't be available to reward everyone with a 5.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:46 AM   #45
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Nope, government workers are not the richest. Long Island Railroad retirees are the richest ... at least according to the NYTimes (as accountingsucks already posted):
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/nyregion/21lirr.html

Something doesn't smell right in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:34 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by BanDit1 View Post
At the risk of being blasted out of existence, I offer the following:

1. As a Federal employee, now annuitant, I pay taxes just like everyone else. In a sense, I paid my own salary through my income taxes, and I pay my own pension through my income taxes.
2. I pay income taxes on every dollar in pension I receive. Most Social Security recipients donít pay taxes on their benefits, and those that do only pay on a portion.
3. I paid 7% of every dollar I ever earned as a Federal employee into my pension plan.
4. Even though I worked and paid social security taxes for enough time to earn a benefit, when I turn 62, the maximum I will get will be about $100.00 per month due to the windfall elimination provision.
5. Unlike employees in the private sector who could contribute up to 10% of their salary to a 401K, most often with employer matching funds, as a CSRS employee, by law, I was limited to contributing no more than 7%, with no matching contributions.
6. While availability of health insurance is primarily what allowed me to retire at age 56, it is by no means free, or even inexpensive. Premiums this year for my wife and I amount to $320.00 a month, and they are increasing at a rapid rate every year. My 2007 premium was $235.00 per month (a 34% increase from 2007 to 208).
7. COLA Ė yes itís nice. But everyone who gets social security also gets a COLA.

Itís not a free ride.
For me:
1. Ditto
2. Ditto
3. I paid 4.5% of every dollar into a muni/county/state pension plan.
4. Fortunately I won't be affected by the WEP.
5. Ditto
6. Same here....health ins. was a key factor for my ER. I feel fortunate that my monthly premium (single coverage) is only $155 (up from $142 in '07).
7. Ditto
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Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
being in private sector vs govt service is always a personal choice.
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Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
It is a free country, anyone who thinks this is the way to riches fill out an application.
That's what I always tell my friends....but they laugh it off, and stick with the jobs that they have, that they hate & complain about incessantly! At which point, after a while, I tell them to either do something about it or STFU.

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Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
.....I have a military pension (not included in the 23 million figure) and I appreciate and value it a great deal, but I feel that my service and sacrifice over the years is now being compensated to me on a monthly basis.

Less then, more now.
Though I don't have a military pension, I feel exactly the same as mickeyd.
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:09 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
Yes, fairness is a concern. That and my boss is 1400 miles away, so its a constant struggle for me to update him on my projects and to make sure he knows I'm doing a good job.

He did say there was no pressure to fit ratings to the normal bell curve. So, I guess in reality he could rate all of his employees a 5 (1 to 5 scale, 5 being walk on water, 3 being the "norm" as a valued performer). Trouble is, the funding wouldn't be available to reward everyone with a 5.
ah, the "Fully Successful" rating rears its ugly head.
my reaction when i first saw that was "I would like to think we are Fully Successful in life."
i often wondered who had a brain fart way back when and made that one up, but thinking about that too much just made my head hurt...
an idea...when i was a contractor (pre-govt service era), i had to do weekly status reports for my govt PM. so i used my email calendar as a note taker for what i did every day, at a very top level. it chimed at me every day 30 minutes before i was done. i jotted down the day's accomplishments and misguided boomerangs.
i continued this habit when i became a Fed. it really helped me keep focused in a fast-paced, multi-tasking position.
maybe you could adopt a similar habit and then do bi-weeklies or monthlies to your boss? use the KISS method.
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Sorry for the looong post, but...
Old 09-21-2008, 12:26 PM   #48
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Sorry for the looong post, but...

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Originally Posted by youbet View Post
The problem with pensions being the "sweetener" is that they are vulnerable to politicians not funding them adequately in the present time and the next generation being responsible for promises being made today.

I'd like to see govt DBP pensions eliminated (phased out gracefully over time) and the compensation packages sweetened to attract plenty of qualified applicants. In this way, we'd be on a pay as you go basis instead of always building up huge debts for the next generation.
The public pension plan that I'm under operates "pay as you go". I paid in 4.5% of my wages for 30+ years, and my employer paid in a similar %. The day I retired I quit paying into the plan......and so did my employer! Neither myself nor my employer will ever pay in another nickel to cover my pension.

I realize that not all public pension plans are like that, maybe not even most, but mine is.

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Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
An old saying "they check in but never check out" would describe government workers. It's very, very hard to leave a government job since benefits and pay increase significantly with time. The longer the stay, the better the benefit. They complain about the lower pay, the bureaucracy, and lousy assignments but continue to stay.
I don't think that's confined only to the public sector. I think it's more a matter of perspective......'the grass being greener on the other side of the fence'. Maybe the private sector looks over and thinks that the public sector has it made in the shade is better off than they themselves. But the public sector does the same thing while looking over the fence at the private sector. Just a matter of perspective.

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Originally Posted by haha View Post
If unions don't like it, it is probably good for the taxpayer.
You mean my Union was against me (a taxpayer) for all those years by fighting for higher wages, better working conditions, and better benefits? 'Cause I really thought I was a taxpayer for all those years, since Uncle took out his more-than-fair share of my weekly paycheck. Maybe I should've refused the pay raises and benefits when they were given to me......or maybe I should go beat-up Uncle Sam and get back that money he stole from me each payday 'cause maybe I really wasn't a taxpayer after all!

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Originally Posted by Free To Canoe View Post
.....the government employment is a more lucrative deal.......
All kidding aside, I am just stating that it is a good deal working for the govt vs private sector. Count your blessing guys/gals.
Again, I think it's mostly a matter of perspective.....'the grass is greener' deal. Because I always thought you guys in the private sector were gods!

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Originally Posted by Rustic23 View Post
.....I do get tired of people telling me how 'Lucky' I am to have a military pension. Most them had the same chance to serve as I did and chose not to.

Most are still working!
Exactly! NOT luck! It was/is a thing called "CHOICE".....everybody has it! Six other co-conspirators co-workers ER'd at the same time I did from our gubmint jobs. VERY few of our peers who work in the private sector have been able to ER. We made our choices...they made their choices......pretty simple.

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Originally Posted by youbet View Post
Your post is a bit of a oxymoron. You're tired of being told you're lucky to have a govt pension yet boast about being RE while the private sector folks are still working......

You are "lucky" or "fortunate" or "things worked out well" or whatever word you wanted to use. I understand that you don't want to hear about it, and I don't blame you for that, but you have a situation most folks would aspire to.
Again, not 'luck'....but 'choice'. "Fortunate"? Absolutely! But not 'lucky'. Luck has to do with chance......while fortunate has much more to do with choice.

I applied for a job a large international industry that (at the time) paid MUCH better than public jobs did, and had FAR better benefits than public jobs did, and our local facility employed ~1000 people. Since then, their wages have stagnated, benefits have been gutted to near nothing, and they currently employ (as of a year ago) 182 people.

And, yeah, we may be proud of the fact that we were able to ER, while our private sector peers are still running in the hamster cage......but they're probably still better off than us though! I mean, hey, they can still contribute to their IRA's, 401K's, SS, Medicare, etc., but us poor ol' public retirees can't do those things anymore. We have to scrape by on our measly COLA'd DB pensions, and our other investments.
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OK, this is it...then I'll shut up....
Old 09-21-2008, 12:39 PM   #49
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OK, this is it...then I'll shut up....

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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Could be. The thing is, if I knew 10-20 years ago what I know today, I would have made different career choices.
Nobody knew when they first started out, how things would work out one way or the other. We all weigh things out and think things through, and then make the most reasonable choice that we can given the info we had to work with.

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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
As times get more uncertain, I think we'll continue to see more and more taxpayer backlash.......
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I'm pretty vocal that things need to change and that taxpayers can't afford this much longer......
No offense intended toward you or any of the others here.....but I keep hearing this "taxpayer" rhetoric, not just here in the forums but also in real life, and it strikes me as a bit odd. I mean, do private sector folks think that public sector folks don't pay taxes or something. I know for a fact that I've been paying taxes since I had my 1st 'real' job back in HS, and paid taxes for over 30 years as a public employee, and continue to pay taxes as a retiree.

As a taxpayer, I am against ALL wasteful spending, but not against spending for reasonable wages and benefits for ALL gov't employees...from the bottom of the food chain, all the way to the top. And I also think it's a shame that CEO's and corporate execs in the private sector make bazillions of bucks, while their employees wallow in the squalor of less than acceptable wages and meager benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen View Post
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Times are changing and the private sector is doing away with pensions, they are a rarity these days. The gap is widening between private sector and Government workers and the resentment is growing.......

I do think things need to change. If pensions are no longer a part of the private sector, then they probably shouldn't be a part of the Government retirement system.
On the other hand, maybe the private sector should start channeling some of the profits away from the CEO's and corporate execs, and start reinstating pensions and better benefits. But since the CEO's and corporate execs have the say-so, it probably isn't likely to happen. But why should public employees suffer simply to 'level the playing field' due to the greed and corruption of the private sector's hierarchy and their gutting of their employees' benefits.

I say raise the standard in the private sector, instead of lowering it in the public sector.
-----------------------------------------
OK, I'm done....time for lunch!
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:40 PM   #50
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WHAT HE SAID!

woohooo, Goonie, good response!
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Old 09-21-2008, 02:18 PM   #51
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I'm retired from the Navy but spent several tours of duty at a government agency that was about 80% civilian/20% military. After I retired, I worked as a contractor (with two separate companies) on projects for that agency for a few years. For what they're worth, here are my observations:
- there were many hard-working, smart, dedicated civilians working at this agency. They could have made more money "on the outside" but were dedicated to the agency's mission and its role in our country's security.
- there were also many drones who were just there for the paycheck and the benefits.
- the majority probably fell somewhere in the middle.
- I made more money as a contractor than I probably would have in a comparable civilian job with that agency. But, as a contractor I:
-- got less vacation;
-- had no pension plan (with one company) and a less generous pension plan (with another company.) I never worked long enough as a contractor to earn a pension.
-- got a 401K match. (But I never worked long enough to get vested).
-- had to do about as much uncompensated work as the more dedicated gov't employees did.

I found that a lot of civilian employees at this agency would work there until they were eligible for retirement, take their gov't pensions and then go to work for the contractors supporting this agency for 5 - 10 years before really retiring. Not unlike what a lot of military folk do, except that military people are generally about 10 years younger when they hit the first retirement point.
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:39 PM   #52
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I'm one of those "lucky" federal employees who migrated from the GS pay plan to the new pay for performance pay plan called NSPS. I'm trying to remain positive, but have yet to receive my first yearly review and payout/raise.
.
.
.
One of the most distressing part of how my command is implementing NSPS pay raises is the mandatory split between salary increase and bonus. My command is mandating a 70/30 split. Bonus pay does not count toward the TSP match, pension, next years pay raise, etc. I expect a considerable erosion of my base pay, and therefore pension, over the next 14 years.
The MegaCorp that I work for instituted this change last year, except the ratio is more like a 25/75 split (25% salary increase to 75% bonus). Most of us did not get any salary increase. The bonus was nice to get but --- as Bimmerbill noted --- this results in considerable compensation erosion over time because other benefits are tied to salary, not bonus money.

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Old 09-21-2008, 05:17 PM   #53
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I like your comment a lot, Goonie. I totally agree, the CEO's are grossly overpaid while the people who keep the lights on keep getting screwed.

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On the other hand, maybe the private sector should start channeling some of the profits away from the CEO's and corporate execs, and start reinstating pensions and better benefits. But since the CEO's and corporate execs have the say-so, it probably isn't likely to happen. But why should public employees suffer simply to 'level the playing field' due to the greed and corruption of the private sector's hierarchy and their gutting of their employees' benefits.

I say raise the standard in the private sector, instead of lowering it in the public sector.
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OK, I'm done....time for lunch!
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:20 PM   #54
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Quote:
I'm pretty vocal that things need to change and that taxpayers can't afford this much longer......
No offense intended toward you or any of the others here.....but I keep hearing this "taxpayer" rhetoric, not just here in the forums but also in real life, and it strikes me as a bit odd.
Thanks for the selective editing and for deleting the part where I *very* clearly state I want existing promises to be kept and honored. I appreciate it.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:21 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Goonie;[I
choice[/I].

I applied for a job a large international industry that (at the time) paid MUCH better than public jobs did, and had FAR better benefits than public jobs did, and our local facility employed ~1000 people. Since then, their wages have stagnated, benefits have been gutted to near nothing, and they currently employ (as of a year ago) 182 people.

Well Goonie, I just didn't realize you had the ability to predict that your gov't job would ramain and flourish through changes in administrations, budgeting cycles, etc. and that the private company would falter years and years before those things happened. So, yep, no luck for you! You saw what would happen years in the future and picked the one with the most favorable outcome for you. Good job!
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:54 PM   #56
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I'm retired from the Navy but spent several tours of duty at a government agency that was about 80% civilian/20% military. After I retired, I worked as a contractor (with two separate companies) on projects for that agency for a few years. For what they're worth, here are my observations:
- there were many hard-working, smart, dedicated civilians working at this agency. They could have made more money "on the outside" but were dedicated to the agency's mission and its role in our country's security.
- there were also many drones who were just there for the paycheck and the benefits.
- the majority probably fell somewhere in the middle.
- I made more money as a contractor than I probably would have in a comparable civilian job with that agency. But, as a contractor I:
-- got less vacation;
-- had no pension plan (with one company) and a less generous pension plan (with another company.) I never worked long enough as a contractor to earn a pension.
-- got a 401K match. (But I never worked long enough to get vested).
-- had to do about as much uncompensated work as the more dedicated gov't employees did.

I found that a lot of civilian employees at this agency would work there until they were eligible for retirement, take their gov't pensions and then go to work for the contractors supporting this agency for 5 - 10 years before really retiring. Not unlike what a lot of military folk do, except that military people are generally about 10 years younger when they hit the first retirement point.
I've heard many stories from people who work for defense contractors where a lot of 40ish military guys are retired after their 20 years. They then work for another 15-20 years with the defense business and retire again. And finally, after they "retire" at age 55 or 60, they still get retiree health insurance, two generous pensions AND continue to work for the aerospace company as a contractor making $75-100 an hour. And a few of them were also collecting Social Security after hitting 62!
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:01 PM   #57
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Well Goonie, I just didn't realize you had the ability to predict that your gov't job would ramain and flourish through changes in administrations, budgeting cycles, etc. and that the private company would falter years and years before those things happened. So, yep, no luck for you! You saw what would happen years in the future and picked the one with the most favorable outcome for you. Good job!
I didn't predict either set of circumstances, I merely chose the one that I thought to be the best for me at that time. Just as many of my peers chose what they thought to be the best for them at that time. None of us could find the directions to use our crystal balls back then, so we just did the best we could, with what info and knowledge that we had to go with.....nothing more...nothing less. For myself and some of my peers, our choices paid off with the ability to FIRE at or near 50 years of age, or even younger. For others in our peer group, even some who chose public sector, the choice they made hasn't paid off in like manner.....for whatever reason. Some due to job choice, or to spending habits, or to saving/investing habits, or family circumstances, or whatever.

Unfortunately, not all of my peers survived the circumstances of their choices as well as myself and some of the others did.....whether in private or public sectors.

I was fortunate to survive eight political administrations (4 years each), several 'belt tightenings', a few pay freezes, several changes in insurance companies and coverages, several insurance premium hikes, many threats of downsizing, job elimination, and outsourcing, a lot of shuffling, reshuffling, and unshuffling of departments and personnel. And a lot of 'take aways' in our benefit packages. That's not to say it was all negative, all of the time....because it wasn't! Our Union fought tooth and nail for every contract we ever negotiated. Some contracts we "got"....some contracts we "gave"......but through every contract we avoided downsizing and outsourcing, even of those who either chose not to be in the Union or who were ineligible to join because of their job classification (i.e. management). And through the tough times we not only preserved all of the public services that the citizens had come to expect, but we were able to expand them, and offer new services to them (at no additional cost to them).

I decided a loooong time ago to live my life by choice.....not by chance or luck......and it seems to have paid off. YMMV
-----------------------------------------------
Granted there's an exception to every rule. For me the exception is when I punch the button while playing the slots in Vegas.....if I win (fat chance of that happening) it's purely 'luck'!
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:23 PM   #58
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Thanks for the selective editing and for deleting the part where I *very* clearly state I want existing promises to be kept and honored. I appreciate it.
I didn't edit that out for the purpose of changing or twisting the meaning or the intent of your post. I only edited it because I was aiming solely at the term "taxpayer", and I was only trying to limit the length of my quotings and my overall post. My only intent was to reaffirm the fact that those of us who were, or are, in the public sector are also "taxpayers". Thus meaning that there are millions of us taxpayers that are for quality benefits and pensions for public sector employee. And like all "taxpayers", whether public or private sector (or at least I would hope all), we are against the outright wasteful squandering of our tax dollars by the bureaucrats for dumb stuff.

I certainly didn't do it to irritate or agitate or misconstrue anything. My apologies if that's the way it came across.
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:23 AM   #59
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I was fortunate to survive eight political administrations (4 years each), several 'belt tightenings', a few pay freezes, several changes in insurance companies and coverages, several insurance premium hikes, many threats of downsizing, job elimination, and outsourcing, a lot of shuffling, reshuffling, and unshuffling of departments and personnel. And a lot of 'take aways' in our benefit packages.

...And through the tough times we not only preserved all of the public services that the citizens had come to expect, but we were able to expand them, and offer new services to them (at no additional cost to them).
and let us not forget the constant BRACs of the 90s. i thought my j*b was toast with each one. there were many sleepless nights in those years....rethinking public service vs private sector, wondering if we could sell the house if involuntarily relocated by BRAC, or if RIFed in place, how to find jobs...whew...
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:56 AM   #60
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And that is why you guys defend it so vigorously.
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