A RESPONSE TO MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND THE POLICE VSF
The recent statements from Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported in the Media regarding what he has termed the "Christmas Bonus" paid to retired members
of the NYPD is a call to action.
The Mayor is not original in his use of the term Christmas Bonus for the Defined Benefit paid to retirees. He merely echoes the statements of his cronies who serve on the
Citizen's Budget Commission www.cbcny.org The Citizen's Budget Commission
is supposedly a Not for Profit Organization that advises the Mayor in financial issues that effect the City of New York. I use the term supposedly because a visit to the website of
the Citizens Budget Commission www.cbcny.org reveals that the list of Trustees of that organization reads like a Who's Who of
Corporate leaders in the Global Financial Industry.
These Corporate entities are motivated by issues that obviously do not coincide with those of us who serve or have served in the field of public service.
With few exception, these Trustees are not schooled in Public Administration. Their education and backgrounds are focused on corporate goals. Dealing with organized labor organizations is not a familiar duty for the
majority ot them. They are accustomed to dealing with institutions that can hire and fire at will. They chaff under most forms of government regulation such as OSHA. Their mantra is always "the bottom
line" for profit. The reason for this is easily understood: they are in the employ of the shareholders in the corporations. The shareholders of those corporations are in many instances not Americans. Now that
we have a Global Economy, holders of stocks and bonds in so-called American Corporations may not hold the interests of the American worker in any regard. The latest reports of the DOW and NASDAQ determines if they
will remain in their corporate positions.
These are the same corporate executives who for the last few decades have persuaded their Human Resources (employees) to give up defined pension rights in favor of
Defined Contribution plans such as the much ballyhooed 401K Plans. Now that those pathetic so called Defined Contribution plans have failed to provide a quality retirement for their workers, they are faced with
dealing with the Pensions of those in Public Service such as the Police, Fire, Sanitation, and Teachers. The contrast in life styles of retired NYC employees with those of the private sector is obvious to them and
to their allies in the Media. It is interesting to read how some are encouraging class warfare when taxation of corporate capital gains or off-shore tax shelters is discussed, yet when retirees are criticized for
receiving too generous pension benefits, they are viewed as fair game. For more discussion regarding offshore tax shelters and tax policy go to: http://www.nycop.com/Spring2006/Globalization/body_globalization.html
Bloomberg suggest any ways for the financial industry to support the City of New York? Is a Stock transfer tax ever considered? Is a Commuter Tax ever discussed by the Citizen's Budget Commission? When commuters use
the transit faciities of NYC to arrive at their work places, and when they receive their paychecks, do they spend those monies here in NYC or go back to their suburban towns? When police services are rendered for
the countless civic events such as Street Fairs and ethnic parades that choke the streets of our City, do the small businesses such as restaurants and shops benefit from those events? Or do the out of town vendors
benefit? Who verifies the safety of the food that is sold on the streets? Our NYC restaurants are subject ot inspections by the NYC Health Department.
The call by Mayor Bloomberg to eliminate the Defined
Benefit (formerly known as the "Variable Supplement Fund") for retirees and active members will be sure to generate support from the private sector. The millions of workers who have lost their retirement
savings in this "Global Economy" do not sympathize with public employess who still have a shot at a respectable retirement. Those in government positions know this. They feel secure in the knowledge that
human nature would seem to be going their way in this issue. However, let us not forget that those in office remain there to serve us all. The cynical revocation of term limits for those in power will not be
forgotten. The power of the vote is in the last analysis what most of those in public office must face. The Police and Fire Pension Funds are well managed Funds. It is tempting for those political office to attempt
to gain access to those funds. It has been tried in the past. www.nycop.com/Winter_2002/The_Golden_Goose/body_the_golden_goose.html
public must be educated about these issues. If public employees and their pensions are raided and undermined by politicians who seek an easy answer to their budgetary problems, then what hope will those in private
industry have for a decent retirement? There are 40,000 retirees of the NYPD waiting for leadership to face these problems. Active members of the NYPD are not free to confront those in office. Their careers and the
welfare of their families may be jeopardized by them voicing their concerns. Retirees are not so restricted.
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