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2011 May 11 Wednesday
Newport Beach $200k Per Year Lifeguards

Mish points to a report in the Orange County Register about high pay for lifeguards in Newport Beach California.

According to a city report on lifeguard pay for the calendar year 2010, of the 14 full-time lifeguards, 13 collected more than $120,000 in total compensation; one lifeguard collected $98,160.65. More than half the lifeguards collected more than $150,000 for 2010 with the two highest-paid collecting $211,451 and $203,481 in total compensation respectively.

When you see reports like this one they are not anomalies so much as outliers on a distribution curve of abuses. The problem varies by degree but is widespread. What happens with government is similar to regulatory agency capture by regulated target industries. But government is not just captured by industries. Government is also captured by government employees.

We need innovations in public policy that make it easier for the voters to limit the tendency of government to serve its employees at the expense of net taxpayers (people who pay more in taxes than they get in benefits). How to limit the extent of parasitism by governments? It is a never-ending problem. We need better techniques for addressing it.

Some ideas: Outsourcing is one idea. But it requires government employees to manage suppliers. Can be hard to do well. Benchmarking would allow better comparison between different cities and states. A relentless drive to automate should be combined with hiring freezes. Few interactions with government should require an office visit. Web servers should do more of what governments are supposed to do). Constitutional barriers to tax increases could shift the balance of power toward greater frugality. Greater transparency on government worker pay and benefits would make it easier for citizens to learn of excesses.

By Randall Parker    2011 May 11 07:38 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (3)
2011 March 08 Tuesday
Union Tries To Force City Employee Hiring

A parasitic union in San Jose California is trying to force an elected official in San Jose to hire a an executive assistant for $70k per year plus benefits.

Judge Kevin McKenney of Santa Clara County Superior Court recently ordered that the case be taken to a costly arbitration instead of the state's Public Employment Relations Board -- something both Constant and the city's attorneys had sought.

That decision pleased the city's 214-member Confidential Employees Organization, which contends the city was required to confer with the union before Constant decided to eliminate the position. The job -- which requires answering phones, scheduling appointments and making photocopies, among other duties -- pays about $70,000 a year.

First of all, yes, an administrative assistant in the San Jose California city government pulls down $70k per year. That job probably comes with a pension that would be the envy of the vast majority of people in America who don't work for a government.

Second, the other Councilmen of San Jose do let the public employees union force on them $70k administrative assistants at the expensive of the taxpayers of San Jose. They go along with the parasitism.

Mish Shedlock loves the union for drawing attention to its parasitic impulses.

I commend the sheer idiocy of LaVerne Washington, president of the employees' association, in pressing this case.

LaVerne Washington shows without a doubt why the only solution to this madness is the total repudiation and complete destruction of public unions.

I cheer Washington's idiocy because this is just the kind of thing that gets the public riled up against public unions. It will backfire.

I'm with Mish. Get the public angry enough to support bans on government employee collective bargaining.

Mish also points to a decision by Costa Mesa California to lay off 43% of city employees and outsource 18 city functions. Whenever I see city employees mowing lawns and doing other manual outside labor my reaction is "why does the city employ those workers directly?". I see lots of private property managers using gardening services and assorted repair services. Governments should do the same. Many other government functions can be outsourced. Each city should not run its own IT department. Hire cloud services.

By Randall Parker    2011 March 08 11:44 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (5)
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