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Old 09-22-2008, 06:18 PM   #81
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My next door neighbor is a volunteer firefighter. They don't do it for free, but the amount they are paid is trivial. I give him money for all the fundraisers they do........
wooohooooo. very glad to hear that...
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:39 PM   #82
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So, you would like the govt to pay the same pay scale as private industry? If they did, the benefit package would change suibstantially, and you would start paying $400-$500 a month for health care, or more, and your pension would be gone. be careful what you wish for.......



Uh, No . I was responding to the OP's statement about Government workers being the "richest" . My point was that "so what" if it appears or is a fact that civil servants are well taken care of? Who do you want teaching, protecting, directing Air Traffic and Fighting wars.... Attracting the best and brightest costs big $$/benefits.

There is another side to this.... I think that there should be a higher standard for civil servants in conduct and work ethic. I feel that there are serious problems with the accountability and tools to get rid of bad civil servants. Some unions will defend the most shameful of people and they are maintained in the system making others look bad. Really liked my military days when we could throw a "blanket party" to deal with a bad apple.
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:48 PM   #83
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There is another side to this.... I think that there should be a higher standard for civil servants in conduct and work ethic. I feel that there are serious problems with the accountability and tools to get rid of bad civil servants. Some unions will defend the most shameful of people and they are maintained in the system making others look bad. Really liked my military days when we could throw a "blanket party" to deal with a bad apple.
oh, my, a topic very close to home. one of the minor reasons i exited my civil service job was the locals were doing some strange things with funding and procurement. i was asked to sign off on a few shady but not blatantly illegal things. i declined and paid for that with smaller bonuses and "management attention". i had no union to protect me (ineligible as part of Professional series).
i'm sure many of us here have had to face this type of decision - "go along to get along" or stick to your ethics. when i brush my teeth every day, i see a reflection of a person who retained her self respect. i hope you all see the same reflection too.
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:25 PM   #84
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There is another side to this.... I think that there should be a higher standard for civil servants in conduct and work ethic. I feel that there are serious problems with the accountability and tools to get rid of bad civil servants. Some unions will defend the most shameful of people and they are maintained in the system making others look bad. Really liked my military days when we could throw a "blanket party" to deal with a bad apple.
Agreed! In our Union Local we always tried to 'police' ourselves to keep things from getting out of hand and making everyone look bad in the eyes of both management and the public. We'd almost always fight to give anyone a second chance, but beyond that we didn't play games with them. If they didn't seem to want to change their ways, we did whatever we could to make them want to quit.....short of out right torture or other illegal actions of course.

In fact about a year before I ER'd we got one of our Union brothers 'axed'. He'd been an A #1 screw-up from the start (about 4 years), and we'd gone quite a bit out of our way to try to help him adjust to the way things had to be. He just didn't want to cooperate and his work was backing up on everyone else, plus all of us others were starting to draw heat from management for his continued screw-ups. So we just waited, gave him as much rope as he needed to hang himself, and then let him do it. He had a very minor fender bender while driving a very large truck through very narrow streets. When he got back to the shop we informed him management would probably require him to submit to a drug/alcohol test....just SOP. He said "like h*ll I will!" The superintendent heard him state that, and fired him on the spot.....expecting the Union to go to bat for him. The guy was too dumb to ask for our assistance, and so we didn't volunteer it. The guy never even showed up for his civil service hearing, where he could have asked for, and probably would have been granted, a 2nd chance.

He was sort of set up, in that the other work crew member was in the much smaller service truck purposely leading him through the narrowest streets he could find that had vehicles parked on both sides of the street. Normally the service truck driver would try to find the least congested, wider streets so the other driver would have plenty of room to maneuver. That time he didn't.....Oops!
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:12 AM   #85
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there is no good formula for compensation for the dangers that police and firefighters face...
It's not that I don't appreciate what they do but they choose the job right? In the last few cities I've lived in there has been a long waiting list to join the fire department, so it definitely has it's appeal.

A police officer where I live starts in the mid 30s and most make in the upper 40s, not including pretty good overtime pay if they want it directing traffic at construction sites, hanging around out front of nightclubs, etc. Not Thurston Howell but given no advanced education requirements and very strong benefits package including the pension at 20 years + age 50.

If we are evaluating their job based on the dangers they face every day then we need to start appreciating the dozens of jobs that are more dangerous like taxi drivers, construction workers, commercial fisherman, hell even truck drivers and farm workers are statistically at greater risk reporting to work. Sure one can point to "service to the community" but maybe we try to quantify how much benefit you or I receive daily from construction workers or truck drivers?

The police and fire do a great job, but they sure aren't the only ones facing danger when they punch the clock.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:16 AM   #86
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It's not that I don't appreciate what they do but they choose the job right? In the last few cities I've lived in there has been a long waiting list to join the fire department, so it definitely has it's appeal.

A police officer where I live starts in the mid 30s and most make in the upper 40s, not including pretty good overtime pay if they want it directing traffic at construction sites, hanging around out front of nightclubs, etc. Not Thurston Howell but given no advanced education requirements and very strong benefits package including the pension at 20 years + age 50.

If we are evaluating their job based on the dangers they face every day then we need to start appreciating the dozens of jobs that are more dangerous like taxi drivers, construction workers, commercial fisherman, hell even truck drivers and farm workers are statistically at greater risk reporting to work. Sure one can point to "service to the community" but maybe we try to quantify how much benefit you or I receive daily from construction workers or truck drivers?

The police and fire do a great job, but they sure aren't the only ones facing danger when they punch the clock.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:22 AM   #87
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It's not that I don't appreciate what they do but they choose the job right? In the last few cities I've lived in there has been a long waiting list to join the fire department, so it definitely has it's appeal.

A police officer where I live starts in the mid 30s and most make in the upper 40s, not including pretty good overtime pay if they want it directing traffic at construction sites, hanging around out front of nightclubs, etc. Not Thurston Howell but given no advanced education requirements and very strong benefits package including the pension at 20 years + age 50.

If we are evaluating their job based on the dangers they face every day then we need to start appreciating the dozens of jobs that are more dangerous like taxi drivers, construction workers, commercial fisherman, hell even truck drivers and farm workers are statistically at greater risk reporting to work. Sure one can point to "service to the community" but maybe we try to quantify how much benefit you or I receive daily from construction workers or truck drivers?

The police and fire do a great job, but they sure aren't the only ones facing danger when they punch the clock.
I don't think the pay rate should be focused on danger, but on whether you want corruption with police or the firefighter to charge into your house to save your life. My bet, when their houses are burning people don't care how much the firefighter is paid. That's what you pay for...insurance that when you need them you are getting the best.

I want to know that the cops on the street are not corrupt and I will get a fair shake. Paying them well goes a long way to getting the best...cheap out on the pay and suffer the consequences.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:33 AM   #88
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I don't think the pay rate should be focused on danger, but on whether you want corruption with police or the firefighter to charge into your house to save your life. My bet, when their houses are burning people don't care how much the firefighter is paid. That's what you pay for...insurance that when you need them you are getting the best.

I want to know that the cops on the street are not corrupt and I will get a fair shake. Paying them well goes a long way to getting the best...cheap out on the pay and suffer the consequences.
So, you are saying if we paid cops a lot more than now, it would eliminate corruption??
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:45 AM   #89
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I don't think the pay rate should be focused on danger, but on whether you want corruption with police or the firefighter to charge into your house to save your life. My bet, when their houses are burning people don't care how much the firefighter is paid. That's what you pay for...insurance that when you need them you are getting the best.

I want to know that the cops on the street are not corrupt and I will get a fair shake. Paying them well goes a long way to getting the best...cheap out on the pay and suffer the consequences.
Good Point ^^^^^ Government jobs are "government jobs" because the function they serve is supposed to be "inherently Governmental " in nature.

We do not want a private company in charge of our Police, Fire, Air Traffic Control etc. A Private company is concerned about the bottom line and therefore will cut services in order to increase profits.

We need well compensated public servants who are funded and prepared to serve the public without feeling a need to take shortcuts to keep our employer happy.

And yeah, when my house is burning down I want to be thinking "Glad I know they are paid really well --- I bet they will do their best to minimize my loss."

You get what you pay for ---
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:48 AM   #90
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So, you are saying if we paid cops a lot more than now, it would eliminate corruption??


It's a fine line...but we all know the problems with Mexican police and corruption there, which was perpetrated by historically low pay given to officers. There will always be problems of corruption but if you want professionals you have to pay them, and when they have a position of power in society they need to be held to a higher standard and compensated for that standard. This is the difference between western society and countries where police are extensions of the government.

In western countries police officers are extensions of the law, which transcends government.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:54 AM   #91
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If we are evaluating their job based on the dangers they face every day then we need to start appreciating the dozens of jobs that are more dangerous like taxi drivers, construction workers, commercial fisherman, hell even truck drivers and farm workers are statistically at greater risk reporting to work. Sure one can point to "service to the community" but maybe we try to quantify how much benefit you or I receive daily from construction workers or truck drivers?
The police and fire do a great job, but they sure aren't the only ones facing danger when they punch the clock.
Yes, but I think that firefighters and police officers are expected to run toward the danger instead of being able to substitute discretion for valor.

It's like the Coast Guard's rescue motto: "You have to go out, but you don't have to come back."
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:55 AM   #92
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It's a fine line...but we all know the problems with Mexican police and corruption there, which was perpetrated by historically low pay given to officers. There will always be problems of corruption but if you want professionals you have to pay them, and when they have a position of power in society they need to be held to a higher standard and compensated for that standard. This is the difference between western society and countries where police are extensions of the government.

In western countries police officers are extensions of the law, which transcends government.
Problem with your theory is something would have to give. The taxpayer system could not afford to raise base pay signifcantly and also maintain the benefit packages currently in place.
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:52 AM   #93
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Yes, but I think that firefighters and police officers are expected to run toward the danger instead of being able to substitute discretion for valor.
Like so much of the NOPD after Katrina?

Don't get me wrong -- that's the exception, not the rule, but it does show we have reason to be judgmental when on one hand they talk about being compensated for the danger and then refusing to face it.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:09 PM   #94
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We do not want a private company in charge of our Police, Fire, Air Traffic Control etc. A Private company is concerned about the bottom line and therefore will cut services in order to increase profits.
Interestin you mention this as the rescue service here is Rural Metro, currently trading at about $1.73 after posting a 1.5 million dollar 4th quarter profit.

Meanwhile the Sheriff's Dept (Joe Arpaio) has been repeatedly accused of sacrificing service by wasting resources on media friendly low effectiveness events.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:14 PM   #95
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You are not referring to salary of security guards in the private sector? Their compensation is inferior in comparison to that of a police officer.
?? Are you comparing the skill and ultimate responsibilties of a cop to the work of a security guard?? That is funny, in a pathetic sort of way.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:21 PM   #96
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?? Are you comparing the skill and ultimate responsibilties of a cop to the work of a security guard?? That is funny, in a pathetic sort of way.
You mean the fact that a private security guard won't have a union to hide behind to demand their reinstatement when they are fired for misconduct?
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:32 PM   #97
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Back in the late 80's, when national attention was first cast upon some serious problems in the New Orleans Police Department, I looked at their pay scale and wondered if the cops there all qualified for food stamps. Despite that, they didn't have much of a problem finding recruits. There was a joke I heard back then that the NOPD recruiting division was a guy with a box of badges. He just tossed them out an open window at headquarters and whoever picked one up was hired.

The standards for who gets hired, in most agencies anyway, have changed dramatically in the last 25-30 years. What was once a very subjective process has become much more objective and publicly defensible. Not perfect, far from it, but certainly more demanding. I don't think you'll find a major police agency in the country that doesn't reject more than 95% of all applicants. If you find one that isn't, I guarantee that agency has relaxed a critical standard for which they will one day be embarrassed.

When you have demanding standards, and demographics have shrunk the applicant pool, you have to come up with something to get enough applicants in the door so the less than 5% who are qualified amount to the right number of people. Money is an attractor. You could pay less, but then you would find yourself in a downward spiral of a shrinking workforce inadequate to the task, or lowering standards and hiring a lot of future nightmares.

As for financially compensating people for the risks associated with the job, that is part of the picture. Good applicants will be smart enough to realize the dangers (to some extent) and expect to get paid for assuming them.

Comparing death and injury rates between occupations really doesn't make sense to me. Yes, police work has fewer deaths per capita than other occupations. But what do employers expect of crab fishermen and loggers other than a strong back, strong work ethic, the ability to follow simple instructions and some degree of common sense? The same goes for your average cabbie or convenience store clerk, with less emphasis on strength and more on the ability to drive or make change. We're not talking about demanding hiring standards here. I bet that most of the employers of people for those occupations don't find themselves without acceptable applicants, or replacements for the ones that don't work out.

If you think of pay as the bait, the pension is analogous to the yank that sets the hook. I have a lot of friends who were former co-workers who left early in their careers who are now lawyers, judges, ministers, college professors, business owners, etc. They were far enough away from collecting a pension that it wasn't as strong of a hook as it would have been later in their careers. A pay cut in the mid-1980's took away the bait, and that spurred them to seek their fortune elsewhere.

Better pay means you get better people, and better pension means you keep them during their most productive years. Better pay and pension benefits also mean that you can be more demanding of the employees.

So, it's not about fairness to me. It's all about what are you willing to pay to get somebody like me to work for you.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:43 PM   #98
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It's not that I don't appreciate what they do but they choose the job right? In the last few cities I've lived in there has been a long waiting list to join the fire department, so it definitely has it's appeal.

A police officer where I live starts in the mid 30s and most make in the upper 40s, not including pretty good overtime pay if they want it directing traffic at construction sites, hanging around out front of nightclubs, etc. Not Thurston Howell but given no advanced education requirements and very strong benefits package including the pension at 20 years + age 50.

If we are evaluating their job based on the dangers they face every day then we need to start appreciating the dozens of jobs that are more dangerous like taxi drivers, construction workers, commercial fisherman, hell even truck drivers and farm workers are statistically at greater risk reporting to work. Sure one can point to "service to the community" but maybe we try to quantify how much benefit you or I receive daily from construction workers or truck drivers?

The police and fire do a great job, but they sure aren't the only ones facing danger when they punch the clock.
Im not asking anyone to feel sorry for me because I take risks as a cop. I knew that going in and Im fine with it, but dont try to compare the risks a truck driver takes compared to the risks I take. Thats blatantly ridiculous.

Ive been shot at more than once, had guns pointed in my direction several times, had bottles thrown at me, been chased by a put bull which I shot, been in a fight for my life with a guy trying to take my gun (ended badly for him), been in pursuits over 100 miles per hour for long periods, been in 2 car wrecks, needed shoulder surgery when injured chasing a guy on foot, broke my thumb in a fight....ect. And I left the streets for a detective position years ago or it couldve been much worse. Im not asking for higher pay because its a risky job. I just take offense to having the risk level compared to that of a taxi driver. Id like to see stats on how many taxi drivers are hurt on the job compared to cops. Cops are hurt all the time. You only hear about the dead ones on the news.

Also, its funny to me that this thread is about govt workers pensions being so rich, and now its turned to the fact that its ok to underpay us because we have rich pensions. I havent heard any govt workers in this thread complaing about our total compensation packages being low. I think we've established that we are underpaid and have better pension benefits but the entire package is probably on par with the private sector. Why are we still arguing?

Cooincidently enough.....Posted in todays Dallas Morning News was an article about government engineers salaries compared to a private sector engineer. I threw the paper away so I dont have the exact figures but the govt engineers pay was 28% lower. Thats significant.
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Old 09-23-2008, 01:00 PM   #99
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You mean the fact that a private security guard won't have a union to hide behind to demand their reinstatement when they are fired for misconduct?
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Old 09-23-2008, 01:49 PM   #100
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there is no good formula for compensation for the dangers that police and firefighters face...

how about the volunteer firefighters in small towns like mine? these folks work for FREE, and are on call 24/7. the next time you see a fund raiser by your local vol fire dept, bring a nice big fat check. the equipment and training it pays for could save your life.

but at least the school district is paying for teachers. my school district just HAD to put Astroturf on the HS football field. my taxes are still through the roof. argh...
Jobs don't pay according to the dangers they face but by the rules of supply and demand - except where unions are involved.
If it was based on danger - it would be loggers and fisherman who would be amoung the best paid.
Extra: The 10 most dangerous jobs in America - MSN Money

If your local vol. firefighters really wanted to get paid; they should ask for it and if they don't get what they want they should stop working. Your taxes might go up, but your home insurance might go down some. I don't think you should begrudge them the money.

I pay for the police and firefighters through my taxes.
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