source: Wall Street Journal Editorial 12/13/2010 By TIM PAWLENTY

"Federal employees receive an average of $123,049 annually in pay and benefits, twice the average of the private sector. And across the country, at every level of government, the pattern is the same: Unionized public employees are making more money, receiving more generous benefits, and enjoying greater job security than the working families forced to pay for it with ever-higher taxes, deficits and debt..."

source: Wall Street Journal Editorial 12/13/2010

"The Wall Street Journal focuses on Scott Walker's willingness to take on the public employee unions Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker has laid out an ambitious agenda, such as turning the department of commerce into a public-private partnership and lifting the cap on school vouchers. But his boldest idea may be rescinding the right of government employees to collectively bargain..."


Nicki Hotchkiss opined the need to find other options to cutting costs, suggested privatization will jeopardize the safety of our citizens, expressed concern that more people will leave our County, said insurance costs may increase, mentioned the possibility of more foreclosures and loss of jobs, urged the Board to hear the concerns of its citizens, and asked for the cost of research. Commissioner Starr said parameters will be set for RFPs, explained they are not looking for loss of jobs, remarked that the Fire Union was the only department that did not step up, said they indicated they were entitled to a 10% increase plus additional benefits, noted the Board is now expecting Fire Union cooperation, said the Firefighters were able to eliminate a large portion of overtime once it was pointed out, again mentioned firefighter salaries in Miami Dade is 45,000 per year compared to local salaries of over $100,000 per year, and opined the Fire Union can help avoid a RFP by coming forward with their own proposal. Ms. Hotchkiss responded that new personnel costs and benefits may be much higher than overtime. Commissioner Starr agreed but indicated $2.5 Million in overtime was eliminated but not explained.

Commissioner Skidmore commented that privatization is just one of the options being considered; said the jail belongs to the County and the Board is looking to find a reduction in its management costs; remarked on the overtime issue and mentioned County and Sheriff Department employees received a 0% increase last year while Fire Union employees received a 10% increase; opined we can no longer afford this; stated he was amazed at how clean and well run the jail is; agreed it is unfair that inmate costs are much lower than the average lawful citizen pays; noted mandated prisoner rights; and said we could use public support and urged citizens to contact our representatives related to unfunded mandates.


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