Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 13 Meeting With Commissioner Elaine Boyer

This is nothing short of horrible news for all employees, especially public safety. We don't have any advise for you, but you better prepare now.

"Many thanks from the employees for this blog, you do make a difference!

Participating in the meeting were Commissioner Boyer, Bob Lundstrum, Boyer's Chief of staff (COS),Edmond, COS, Lee May. Jay, numbers guy for the BOC. Ken Choate, DeKalb retiree and two entities that prefer to remain anonymous at present.

Commissioner Boyer was gracious and genuinely glad to see us at the table for discussion. I thought the meeting was productive in several ways, both sides laid out the issues in a direct and forthright manner, valuable information exchanged, and some new players were introduced to DeKalb politics.

On the negative side. The Boyer BOC contingent was quick to emphasize that the ERCS proposal was just a proposal and not an official act, I pointed out my fear that the proposal would be dropped on the employees without warning, and I was assured the BOC would give about six months warning to the employees of the impending changes to benefits. Gee, thanks.

The BOC staff downplayed the financial increases to the employees, but as the facts were laid out, it was increasingly apparent that the goal of the proposal is to financially raise the employee contributions for the old pension plan to such a high rate (66 percent!) as to be unaffordable to the average employee, forcing the employees to migrate to the vastly cheaper “new” pension plans lower rates.

Mates, I hate to say this, but the situation is even worse than I thought. You are in deep trouble with the pension contributions and benefits and its about to go down the toilet. I thought that the tactic would be the old double up trick of proposing an increase to 66 percent and then dropping down to 50 percent, I was wrong. The whole idea is to force the employees to voluntarily leave the old pension system by making the old plan contributions so high that the employees can not afford them unless they work a second job. Your old pension will be vested to the date you sign over to the new pension plan.

This scenario could have been avoided two years ago if the BOC had reorganized and downsized the county two years ago. Instead the employees are being played as fools."


Best of luck, guys!
KenC

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like productivity will once again come to a halt.

Anonymous said...

What have we been saying all along? Freeze your pension and get out while still allowed which MOST of you did. Those remaining, you had ample warning before loosing it all.

Anonymous said...

Now hold on a minute, some of you are close to retiring and it may not be wise but better to freeze and get out. Others are within the 5-6 year range of retiring and need to run the numbers. Think about what is best for you, freeze and switch or stay in. Why you ask,see how much it will cost over the 5-8 yrs to get that 82.5 %.
Those of you with over the ten yrs before retiring, thats a lot of money every month to be without and no raises in sight.
Somebody who knows about finances need to get on this and help each other to make the best and wisest decisions for you and your family.
Good luck, this is where we really need to be vigilant about our pension and prepare for your retirment. Lets take advantage of this blog that will allow us to communicate and exchange ideas. We already know how we all feel about the BOC, it's getting redundent reading about their failures. Lets be smart so that in the long we have made the best decisions.

Footing the BIll said...

Ken C,
While I wouldnt know you from Adams house cat, I thank you for the up date. I do have one question as a resident of Dekalb County, were there any current employees at this meeting, if not then why not?
Again I just want to say thank you for all you do, I assure you its more than any of the current employee of Dekalb County do.

Gold Badge said...

I just needed a few short months....f'ing B's!..... Johns Creek,....Dunwoody the cream fix'in to rise....

Paul Revere shouted the British are coming... today's it's " the best are LEAVING....once again, Dekalb shoots LOW."

Anonymous said...

Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Lawrenceville, Johns Creek, Cobb County, Marietta, Dunwoody, and several others will be hiring this year....and ALL of these agencies will pay for experience. Some, like Alpharetta now have a MINIMUM pay for any master officer with at least 7 years with the agency....$72,500.00 base sound good?

LoFlyer said...

Mates, there were four current employees at the meeting on the employees side at the meeting, including myself we had five attending the meeting. The four current employees attending should be commended for stepping up in support of their fellow employees.
The meeting was cordial and I was asked to give the opening statement. Not having prepared a statement I just barged in to the meat of the issue, the proposed increase of employee contributions for the old pension plan was simply unaffordable to the average employee.
The BOC's position is that the counties pension contribution could hit 100 million dollars, 1/6 of the entire county budget. The BOC fears that the citizens will start screaming about the high pension funding and demand changes.
As the meeting unfolded it became clear that the ERCS proposal is an attempt by the BOC to legally break the pension contract with the employees by raising the employee contributions to such a high percentage as to be unaffordable to the average employee, forcing the employee to legally sign away their old pension benefits to a vested state, and signing up to a cheap pension plan with the benefits cut in half.
Someone brought up the issue of low salary and the necessity of a good pension plan to retain quality employees in spite of the inferior pay.
Mrs. Boyer and Jay (the BOC numbers guy) admitted this was an issue and that there was no money for a salary increase and that for several years the employees would be facing low pay and a stingy pension plan.

(To be continued in another post)

LoFlyer said...

The employees need to speak loud and hard on the issue.
First, it is not the employees fault that when the times were good, DeKalb government BOC floated three big bond issues on warm and fuzzy quality of life projects at the expense of the employees salary and pay.
Second, the employees never ordered the BOC to underfund the DeKalb pension plan in favor of putting the money into programs and projects that get the politicians reelected.
The pension board had been begging for a contribution increase for years, the employees recognized the necessity of maintaining a healthy pension plan, and would pay their fair share, but the BOC resisted the increase up to the 2009 retirement incentive plan, in return for a 40 million loan the BOC would increase the employees contributions to 3.6 and 7.8 percent for the county.
In 2010 when I saw the new contribution rates required to repair the pension fund, 7.8 for the employees and 17 percent from the county I knew that something was going to happen. There was no way that the county would continue to fund that kind of money to the employees.
The ERCS proposal is the counties solution to the problem.

Best of luck, mates!
KenC

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately most of the "command staff" here realize they wouldn't have a chance in HELL at promotions at real departments with intelligent officers competing against them. They have been able to exist in Dekalb County simply due to the low low expectations. It will be interesting to see now if any of them put their families before their own inept laziness regarding the dissolving pension and move to a more professional and competitive environment. Doubtful, I imagine you'll simply see the usual revenue push from the usual suspects.

Anonymous said...

I'm still here because I'm under the old plan. I'm just shy of ten years. If this goes through, my ten year anniversary will be my last.

If the pension turns into a bad deal, why should I stay?

I have rank and a college degree....I'm sure that I will be received well at another department that
1. Pays similar or better, has a periodic (if not annual) raise,

2. Offers a health plan that is not as expensive as the catastrophic health plan the county offers today.

3. Gives me a take home car or has cars waiting on the lot after roll call.

Ms. Boyer, if the pension plan is gone, so am I.

Chief O, time to stand up for the team.

Anonymous said...

Let me preface this by saying that I worked for Dekalb for almost ten years before I got fed up with stuff. I took a job in another police department and haven't looked back.....

That being said, Dekalb has got to get some fresh blood in the upper police ranks if anything is gonna change. Dekalb needs a Chief (and most likley some Asst Chiefs too) that have a track record of solid policing and firm morals. Since coming to this new Department I have had an opportunity to "rub elbows" with some of the brightest leaders from around the US. Dekalb's whole approach to crime fighting is broken and outdated.

Dekalb has very little technical expertise and system integration within the CAD, RMS, and patrol activity modules. Hell, you don't have the infrastructure to integrate the systems either. Believe me when I say there are better ways to fight crime then what you are currently doing and that starts with integrating technologies, databases, and joining the 21st century in regrads to technology.

Chief O is a great man and leader, but he has defiencies that can not be overlooked. You need someone with Problem Oriented Policing skills, new management ideas, someone technically savvy, and above all.....someone who will rock the boat and make meaningful changes for the betterment of the department. The officers need to be personally vested in their designated areas and need to have input on what works best for their beats. The whole CID vs Beat Cop culture has got to change with beat officers helping to solve crimes and doing more preliminary investigatory work.

The men and women of Dekalb are hard workers and they deserve to be led by the best. "Work Smarter, Not Harder" is an adage that Dekalb needs to adopt sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:54

Let us hear what department you went to. Is the agency a similar size as DKPD? Does it have the same political, socioeconomic makeup of Dekalb? Working with 50 guys in some rabbit police department is a whole different monster than what we have here. Find any department with 1,000 officers or more and you'll see the same complaints as you see here.

You talk about needing someone who will "rock the boat". What happens when you're not even the captain of your own boat? The chief has absolutely ZERO job security. He can be replaced at the whim of the CEO and no one of significance would care. It will be on the news for a day and then on to the next story.

Sure, it's easy for you to come on here ANONMOUSLY and post your gibberish but put your money where your mouth is, hell you don't even work here anymore and didn't have the guts to list your name.

Anonymous said...

Well said Anon 5:28.
Now lets solve the pension problem and let the whinners and quitters do what they do best which is whine and say they quit.

Anonymous said...

And has the county, in all the infinite studies, tried to figure out just how many officers will retire or leave the department immediately if they switch to the new retirement plan. I think they would be shocked by the numbers. I guess we’ll all find out.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame Commissioner Boyer. She has been the only Republican on the BOC for years and the only one that voted against Vernon's and Burrell's excessive spending. She is just trying to keep the ship afloat. Maybe that is beyond hope now and she really is only just rearranging the deck chairs.
As the property tax digest keeps going down, taxes keep increasing. There really is no hope for South DeKalb, but most of the tax money is spent there.

CLAW1888 said...

These are truly some sad times in Dekalb. I grew up, lived and worked in Dekalb. I wanted nothing more than to be a Dekalb Police Officer. I was priviledged to wear the badge before going into the private sector. I now manage physical security for several office buildings in midtown Atlanta.
During my safety seminars I continuously brag abour how great you all are.
Since 1998 I have shared your loses from classmates Torres, Crumbley and Guinta. As well as great co-workers Seaberg, Clay, Capt. Brown, Stepnowski and Baldwin.
I still have good friends and family with D.K.P.D.
I would have never thought I'd be reading or hearing the things I have since I left.
All I can say is THANK YOU. I thank you and my family thanks you.
May God Bless you and may he keep you ALL. Be Safe and Protect each other. Because from what I've read and heard, God and each other are all you have.

Love You ALL and Be Safe.

"Once 321m"

Agent99 said...

I have worked here for a little over eight years. Between the raises I haven't gotten, including the second 5% I'm not getting for having been promoted, I figure that I'm down over 17% below what I should be making at this point in my career. I've stayed, knowing that I was under the old pension plan, and, if nothing else, at least I'd have that 82.5% at the end of my career. I have a Masters Degree, and could easily get hired on elsewhere, in Law Enforcement or in the Private Sector.

I simply cannot to afford this proposed new pension contribution. And if I can't keep my pension, what reason is there for me to stay with DeKalb County?

This is a much better place to work than it was even two years ago. But there is nothing that the Chief, the Director, or any other person can do to combat the flood of people that will leave if this plan is put in place.

Anonymous said...

What pisses me off about the whole thing is Boyer's comment on how they "wouldn't dump this on us, they'd give us six months."

Hogwash.... my decision to come to and stay at Dekalb was/is based on a promise.... it was that if I came, stayed, and worked hard, they'd pay me a pension. Previous jobs have paid me base salaries of 60 and 80k plus commission.........My wife makes a lot of money and now brings in the "lion's share of our family budget" ..... she's quick to point out that I will carry the water during retirement. We're with DeKalb for our retirement ....... I traded high salaries and payouts for security in retirement.

Now DeKalb wants to turn its back to me.

I'm as mad as Jerry!

copwife said...

BTW - According to their website, Alpharetta is NOT hiring at this time. If they were, you could only make $70,000+ if you were with THEM for 7 years!

Gold Badge said...

Those overseas positions with the State Department or the UN are looking better and better.