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Must the County of Santa Barbara pay such lavish, “competitive” pensions to its retired executives?

Yes, it's the only way to get qualified applicants. 15% 38 votes
No, use inducements that are not so costly. 61% 149 votes
It's not the handful of executive pensions that are the problem, it's the high number of union pensions. 22% 54 votes
241 total votes

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

The results of this poll show that 57% of the responders just don't get it. The "execs" are a small portion of the employee population and a small portion of the total pension problem. Pensions at ALL levels should be reduced, probably at the exec level most of all (but not exclusively). Also, shrink the size of gov by half - back to 2000 levels.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
September 3, 2011 at 8:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There are many people here locally who would take these jobs and probably do better at them then these transplants that have no idea what is going on in the community.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
September 3, 2011 at 11:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Both of your positions are little more than conjecture. Locke - what research has been done to show that cutting the government by half (whatever that actually means) will have the desired effect? Or that once the government is actually cut by half that it will retain functionality (do you even care? have you even considered the ramifications?)? Cuts are fine, but they need to be done with some modicum of intelligence not just guided by blanket ideological statements. And again, cutting all pensions is fine, but it needs to be done because it is backed by research based evidence that shows it will have the desired effect.

AZ - your statement is barely more than a guess.

All that said, I didn't even vote because the options were a little too limited for my taste. I would have said, "Maybe, but we need to know more about the impacts cuts would have before we make them."

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2011 at 11:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A couple of things:
I agree 100% with Num1UofAn.
I also did not vote.
Must the Independent phrase the question in such a misleading manner? It was disappointing to see the original article with absolutely no investigative reporting. The paper simply posted a bunch of salaries and called them "lavish."
JohnLocke's response is, I think, very typical when there is little information to go on. If there is a money problem, look at who is getting the most money and simply reduce that. Narrow. And, reducing government by half? How about reducing by half how much citizens need to have their hands held? It's amazing how little people do for themselves with the EXPECTATION that government will do it for them.
Lastly, there actually are a large number of locals working for the county. When it comes to filling a specific job though, it sometimes is necessary to go outside. Just because one or two high profile positions are held by "outsiders" doesn't mean most of county employees aren't locals.
Again, I'm disappointed at the lack of research and investigative reporting done by the Independent.

Whoknew (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2011 at 8:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Like our police chief?

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2011 at 12:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

AZ2SB - The County doesn't have a "police chief." We have a County Sheriff. This is a perfect example of not having correct information. And the County Sheriff comes from the Lompoc Police Department. Hardly an outsider who is not familiar with Santa Barbara County issues. It would be a difficult argument to make that the County Sheriff is not well informed of the problems facing his department and the law enforcement needs of this county.

Whoknew (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2011 at 2:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Research? Ramifications? Let's use SB city as an example. I've been here for 14 years. 10 years ago, the city population was within 1% of today's number, government was half its current size (not quite half its cost because most of the budget goes to employee compensation which has steadily increase during that time), and except for more stupid ideas to spend our money on (less so in the past 2 years, thanks to Francisco, Self, Rouse, and Hotchkiss) I cannot see any improvement in government or in the services provided. So in response I would observe that, instead of accusing those of us who believe in less and more efficient government of lack of caring, ignorant, not considering the ramifications, etc., do some research yourself.

I agree , however, is "reducing by half how much citizens need to have their hands held" which would go a long way toward reducing the size of government and its cost to most of us.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2011 at 8:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

John's argument of based on percentage makes sense to me.
Cut government size back to where it was 10 years ago.
I can not think of any increase in service over the last 10 years that I care about. Certainly not the brick sidewalks, bulb outs, and really do not care about the new mosaics at the beach. Nice but I would have never agreed to spend money on them.

loneranger (anonymous profile)
September 11, 2011 at 3:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I love the sentence from the above comment: "I can not think of any increase in service over the last 10 years that I care about."

Really! Let's take health care. The recent economic situation has put an increase demand for services at the County Public Health Department. If that Department has to reduce services due to staff cutbacks, then the people that would normally be served will turn instead to emergency rooms. Guess what; these people typically don't have medical insurance! So to avoid having to eat the costs, the hospitals raise their rates which affects everyone, including people with medical insurance.

discoboy (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2011 at 11:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

JohnLocke, help me out if you would. You said that 10 years ago SB City government was half it's current size, but I'm having a hard time confirming that. I looked at the City's budget documents for FY 2012 and FY 2002 (at their website), and they show that overall city staffing has actually declined (modestly) over these past 10 years. Then I looked at overall budgeted operating expenditures, and this did show real growth of 30%, after controlling for inflation over the 10 years ... but that's nowhere near the 100% growth that your comment suggested. Is there another measure for the size of the City government that you had in mind when you said it has doubled over the past 10 years? Thanks in advance.

OldDawg (anonymous profile)
September 13, 2011 at 7:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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