Florida Educators Union Sues Over 3 Percent State Pension Requirement

June 20, 2011

Likening the change to an income tax, the Florida Education Association on Monday challenged the constitutionality of a new law that will force government workers to pay into the state pension system.

The FEA, backed by other labor groups, said the Legislature’s decision last month to require workers to chip in 3 percent of their pay violates contractual and collective-bargaining rights.

The case, filed in Leon County Circuit Court, is a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 556,296 people, including state employees, teachers and police officers. The Florida Police Benevolent Association, which represents police and correctional officers, quickly sought to formally intervene in the case.

FEA President Andy Ford said the state “should abide by the promises it makes” to employees, who have not been required to contribute to the retirement system since the 1970s. The case has 11 named plaintiffs from across the state.

“It is essentially an income tax levied only on the workers belonging to the Florida Retirement System,” Ford said during a conference call with reporters.

But Gov. Rick Scott, who signed the changes into law May 26, issued a statement saying he is “confident this law is good for the people of Florida and will stand up in court.”

“Asking state employees to pay a small percentage into their pensions is common sense,” Scott said. “Floridians who don’t work in government are required to pay into their own retirement. This is about fairness for those who don’t have government jobs. Plus, we are ensuring a pension will be there for state employees when they retire.”

State Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, also contrasted Florida with other states that already require employee contributions.

“I think it’s legal, I think it’s practical and, frankly, I think it’s realistic given the times we live in today,” said Weatherford, who is expected to become House speaker after the 2012 elections. Gaetz is expected to become Senate president.

The contribution requirement is slated to take effect July 1. FEA attorney Ron Meyer said the lawsuit seeks to require the state to set aside the money collected and return it with interest to workers if the challenge is successful.

That means, however, employees will see at least temporary reductions in their paychecks in the coming weeks.

In a letter released when he signed the changes into law (SB 2100), Scott said the 3 percent contributions would save public employers $769 million a year. The lawsuit also challenges another part of the law that eliminates automatic 3 percent cost-of-living increases for retirees, a change Scott said would save $775 million a year.

If the constitutional challenge is successful, Ford said lawmakers could find other ways to make up the money, such as closing tax loopholes and more fully collecting taxes on goods sold over the Internet. But lawmakers have flatly rejected such ideas in the past.

Proposals to change the pension system touched off a political fight during the legislative session, with workers contending they should not face additional costs when many have gone years without raises. Supporters of the changes, however, said the state system should more closely resemble private-sector retirement plans.

FEA officials made clear during a call with reporters they also expect to challenge other measures passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature. That likely will include a lawsuit against SB 736, which ties teacher pay to student test scores.

The pension lawsuit centers, in part, on a 1974 law that halted employee contributions to the retirement system. That law says the rights of retirement system members are “contractual in nature” and “shall not be abridged in any way.”

Meyer said lawmakers could make changes to the retirement system for future employees. But he said requiring contributions and changing the cost-of-living adjustments for people already enrolled in the system violates their rights.

The lawsuit alleges that the changes are an unconstitutional “impairment of contract” and an unconstitutional “taking” of property. It also alleges the changes violate the state constitution’s collective bargaining requirements.

By Jim Saunders
The News Service of Florida

Comments

52 Responses to “Florida Educators Union Sues Over 3 Percent State Pension Requirement”

  1. Pissed Off in Charlotte Co on March 15th, 2012 3:28 pm

    I agree with Stumpknocker. Government employees from Law Enforcement to office worker and road crews are grossly underpaid. We all signed up for a job that would pay us much less then the average person, but would payoff with a retirement fund and insurances. Does it work out that way? Nope. We give and give and get nothing in return. Can we leave our job? yes, if there is another one out there. Most of us who are vested 10, 20, 25 years cannot leave without giving up what we’ve worked for all of our lives to start over. At 44, I can’t risk it. The sad part is county and state employees are looked down upon as the ‘red headed step children’ and are critized for much of what we do. If we all quit, then what? No one to fix your sewer pipe, water pipe, or drainage ditch? No one to catch the criminals when they steal from you? Martial law? Be happy that WE THE GOVERNMENTAL WORKERS OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA are willing to work for a minor fee so that EVERYONE can enjoy living here! We only ask to be treated as an equal when it comes to pay and benefits. Governor Scott has deliberately targeted government employees since taking office. This is his way of ’saving tax payer money’. Layoff’s are #1 in his book. Where do these people go once they are layed off? To the unemployeement office. If he want’s to help Florida, create jobs..don’t take them away! Pay your people what they deserve and don’t take away something that isn’t there. I should have a ‘right’ to pay into my retirement, Not forced!!!!! PS: I do work 2 jobs to supliment my income so I can PAY my taxes, PAY my bills, and keep my house off the forclosure block!!!!!

  2. Amazing on June 28th, 2011 6:24 pm

    COLA? What’s Cost of Living Adjustment. I’ve never seen that on my paycheck. Teachers don’t get that either. So underpaid, with Masters degrees, and losing more money every year. The love of the kids has kept us teaching, but right now it’s about the love for our own children! IMO I hope everything goes well for all of Florida, and next time let’s pick a Governor that has lived in this State for more than Scott has. IMO

  3. Amazing on June 28th, 2011 6:09 pm

    IMO Teaching’s already a career with one of the highest turnover rates. Anyone think that this is going to improve that? Funny. Wait until the economy gets better, because it will. It’s the business cycle in action.

  4. J Fisher on June 28th, 2011 8:40 am

    The bottom line: Everyone (especially Democrats) LOVE to tell you that they believe in funding, spending, cutting, budgets, taxes, or something else…until if affects them personally.

    Then, when it does affect them personally – it was illegal, unjustified, unethical, not fair, unlawful, etc.

    Hypocrites.

  5. County droid on June 21st, 2011 9:30 pm

    @ skip

    “I love all the county workers stating how much more they would be making in the private sector. Give me a break, if the money was so much better elsewhere you would be elsewhere. Individuals in the private sector have always had to contribute to their own retirement, government workers should be no different. Be thankful you have a job goverment workers, as someone whose husband has been off and on unemployment for the last 4 years, you have no idea how lucky you are.”

    HAHAHAHAH-Can you PLEASE tell me how I can get unemployment for 4 years??!!! HAHAHAHA

  6. dnl on June 21st, 2011 3:42 pm

    Like him or not, Scott is doing what has to be done, not what is necessarily popular. Look up what happened in Prichard, Alabama. All the signs and warnings were there that if something didn’t change—-not spend more than was coming in—-that the city and county would be out of money. No one listened and they ran out of money and all the public workers receive nothing–no pensions, no health care, etc.

    When a public worker has to look at having to put 3 % into their pension now and get a 3% raise to offset that—-I still don’t see how that is saving money—-or receiving nothing in 3-5 years if we continue to spend what we don’t have, I can’t see why they are willing to get what they can for as long as they can. I understand that they may have contracts, but if the city or county is broke, the contracts are worthless.

  7. JIM W on June 21st, 2011 3:39 pm

    CORRECTION: I meant to say the State and county. Sorry everyone my mistake.

  8. JIM W on June 21st, 2011 3:32 pm

    This subject is a premier example of if you feed a wild animal long enough they will want you to feed them forever. Therefore they become dependent and no longer earn what is need by hunting. The same rule applies. The county does not have to give you a retirement. The county does not have to give you insurance but to stay some what competetive with the outside work forces they do. I seriously wonder how many of you would have the self committment to do your own retirement and stay with it for the long haul. By the way that is exactly what I do. I have to do my own retirement plan and am happy to do so. I’m sorry but it is our dollars that are being spent here. We the tax payers, and I am aware that you are suppose to pay taxes as well. But there are a whole lot more of us being effectd by this than there are of you. These are taxes we too could be putting in our retirement plans and pay for insurances for our families yet we do our civic deed by paying our taxes. It is time the Government agencies are held responsible and that is what is being attempted here. So, if your so unhappy maybe you need look for another job or be happy that you have a job and be grateful your receiving what you are. Stop whinning! Okay now all of you can jump on me go for it but that is how I feel.

  9. My contributions.. on June 21st, 2011 2:51 pm

    Many ask if public does make less than private, I know for a fact that ten years ago the difference between the two for my degree etc., was at least $6,000 to $,7000. Hope that helps.

  10. ProudArmyParent on June 21st, 2011 2:29 pm

    SW on June 21st, 2011 8:35 am, “So, the answer to the cost-cutting and reduction of benefits is to increase the pay? Someone please explain that rationale to me.”

    No the answer to cost-cutting is not more pay, but the answer is not making Correctional Officers pay 3% of their insurance when you haven’t given them a pay raise in six years. That SW would, but a slap in the face! These State Employees aren’t asking for a pay raise this year, but don’t make them pay 3% for their insurance, (when that would essentially be a pay cut.) That is what we are saying. They work under manned, under paid, overtime (without fair compensation) and are unappreciated for their labors. A you do a good job keeping our state safe would be nice, oh and don’t take what little pay they do get. I believe that would benefit the whole state.

  11. David Huie Green on June 21st, 2011 1:50 pm

    REGARDING:
    “I’m just a bit curious about the “state workers get paid less” refrain. We have heard that a number of times and I don’t know where to find the statistics to back this up.
    Can someone help me out?”

    If you type in “public versus private pay comparison” on your search bar, you get lots of pages addressing the question. Their answer tends to favor whichever side of the question is to their benefit.

    One doesn’t pretend to know all the answers but deals with the questions interestingly: {http://reason.org/news/show/public-sector-private-sector-salary}

    It makes it clear that public compensates better with statements like: “According to the most recent Employer Costs for Employee Compensation survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2009, state and local government employees earned total compensation of $39.60 an hour, compared to $27.42 an hour for private industry workers-a difference of over 44 percent. This includes 35 percent higher wages and nearly 69 percent greater benefits”

    Then it goes on to point out that public workers tend to be better educated and have been on the job longer, so you’d expect higher pay. It then counters with the thought that some jobs may not need higher educations.

    To me the thing is that employers pay whatever they must in order to get and keep workers–public or private. Public compensation rose quite a bit a few years back because private kept hiring public employees away. I figure it’ll continue to go up and down with the times and conditions.

    Most people would go elsewhere if their current job weren’t good enough and if they could get a better job elsewhere. Compensation includes pay, benefits and location. All factor into decisions and each is made individually.

    David answering question

  12. sandra on June 21st, 2011 9:17 am

    Jane cite a source for the information that made you write such a rediculous post! Historically, private sector jobs have ALWAYS trumped public sector in salary and bonuses. The only reason most people take public sector jobs is the promise of a decent retirement package. A little research into this will be very enlightening for you.

  13. eab on June 21st, 2011 9:13 am

    I’m just a bit curious about the “state workers get paid less” refrain. We have heard that a number of times and I don’t know where to find the statistics to back this up.

    Can someone help me out? Peace. I ‘m not baiting, just asking.

  14. Jane on June 21st, 2011 8:52 am

    SO everyone else pays into their retirement and they don’t get paid as much as the government workers and teachers. Quit whinning! You could be working for a lot less and have no health coverage like a lot of other people!!!

  15. SW on June 21st, 2011 8:35 am

    Waitaminit!

    So, the answer to the cost-cutting and reduction of benefits is to increase the pay?

    Someone please explain that rationale to me.

  16. Another Victim on June 21st, 2011 7:58 am

    If Governor Scott is going to align the State workers retirement contributions with that of the private sector then he needs to align the State workers salaries with the private sector as well!

  17. Sandra on June 21st, 2011 7:02 am

    I love how some people drink the “every state is broke” Kool-Aid and regurgitate that same nonsense over and over. It’s true some states are broke and others are not doing well but Florida, financially is doing fine. The FRS (Florida Retirement System) is one of the most solvent in the country so there was absolutely no need to add this cost onto the backs of the workers. I voted for Rick Scott but if Mickey Mouse himself runs against him next time I’ll be voting for the rodent……just to clarify, that would be mickey not scott.

  18. 429SCJ on June 21st, 2011 6:44 am

    The people wanted to dance with the devil, so fiddler play, until 2012 anyway. I would suggest you people suck it up and get out and vote in the next election, what did you expect in the first place. One thing is for certain, this old world is broke on it’s butt.

  19. SW on June 20th, 2011 11:37 pm

    “And if the benefits substantially outweigh the risks of the job then why don’t you apply? We could use the help. Or is there some reason that you would not be considered for employment. Would you do what we do for what we do it for?”

    “Learn your facts before you speak!!!!!”

    So I’m challenged to prove myself worthy and qualified to post on this subject in this forum; and I believe I did…more than enough…much to the chagrin of the challengers.

    “I don’t think you are qualified to speak on the subject! As you stated you are no longer in Corrections in the State of Florida. Just because you were once doesn’t make you qualified to understand what DOC Officers are going through now”

    So meeting the criteria of worthiness is apparently a moving target. What is the bar to be raised to next?

    By the way, I agree that some aspects of the job may have changed, but I’d be willing to bet that the basics are still the same. [I'll ask my retired friends that question...if they are qualified to speak on the subject since they are not actively working any more.]

  20. ProudArmyParent on June 20th, 2011 10:35 pm

    Actually as you asked ■SW on June 20th, 2011 7:27 pm , I don’t think you are qualified to speak on the subject! As you stated you are no longer in Corrections in the State of Florida. Just because you were once doesn’t make you qualified to understand what DOC Officers are going through now. These Officers are not whinning, and I do not take this lightly when I say they are being “raped.” That right raped, my husband has less that 5 years till retirement. He has worked his way up in the DOC, it hasn’t been easy, and yes he has even been hurt on the job. But yet he realizes what he is doing is important! He isn’t whinning when everything he has earned is being ripped from him. None of these Officers are whinning, they are just asking for what was promised in their benefit package.

    And I don’t sign ProudArmyParent lightly, but extremely proudly! (My son is now deploy in Iraq for the next year!) I am not only a proud Army parent, but a proud Navy Parent (my daughter is a Navy wife, and 5 of my grandchild are military children.) I am also very PROUD to have a Correctional Officer for a husband.

  21. SW on June 20th, 2011 9:46 pm

    Tsk Tsk,

    I agree that there are many government offices/positions that should go before any necessary service, i.e., DOC, Sheriff, Police. Several entities come to mind at the state and federal level. Getting rid of that extra dead weight would probably offset increases in benefits and wages to those other departments.

    I do also know how difficult it is to compete for positions; but it can be done. It is a big disappointment to start something with a goal in mind only to see it go away for one reason or another.

    My position is the taxpayer can’t stand any more. If the government doesn’t do some budget cutting, there won’t be anything for anyone.

    It just aggravates me to hear the entitlement crowd whine about things as if they are exempt from the economic hardships we all deal with on a daily basis.

    As I said early on, it could be worse, there may not have been a raise to cover the extra deductions and increases.

    I am not against any employee getting a deserved raise when the employer can afford it. I am certainly not against government employees who provide services that are necessary. I am against those who are just on the payroll eating up the time clock and working for agencies that will hardly be missed when gone.

  22. Molested on June 20th, 2011 8:31 pm

    A lot of people are missing the point here. The Federal goverment is broke. The states are broke. The counties are broke or in financial dispair.
    The fallacy here that state and county workers are noble and our servent is just that. A fallacy. We all make decision good or bad. Maybe good on the day you made a decision but it did not turn out so good. There are jobs in the public sector that suck. There are probably not many of us who haven’t been laid off, or down sized or raises held for a number of reasons.
    If someone is taking a 3 percent hit that is the way it goes. Goverment employees are not immune to hard times and that is where we all are. None of this is about self. We are all making sacrifices and none of us volunteer for that and none of us can escape this truth. We are not in and industrial expansion we are still filling contraction of goverments and markets. There are so many people out there ready to fill a job. All goverment employees have the same options or opportunities to go somewhere else and get a job if you think you are qualified. I will tell you people that are educated. I am also. I also know there are people out there with more dual masters or PHD’s from another part of the world willing to take your job for less than you make. So quit cring in your beer and be thankful you have a job with good benifits.

  23. Tsk Tsk on June 20th, 2011 7:36 pm

    SW….I’m a little suprised by some of your comments. You have been where we are now. I realize you decided to change career directions & things have worked (for the most part). Some of us don’t want to change careers with only 5 or so years left before retirement. You know yourself how difficult it is for middle-aged employees to compete with the thirty-somethings or younger.

    I think most of the existing State AND County employees just want to do their jobs, receive what they were promised when they hired in, & quit being jacked around by government officials. If Scott wants to make changes & cuts, he really should look at the upper administrative officials, administrative secretaries that sit on their duffs doing little, or the supervisors with lofty positions that don’t know how to turn on their own computers, etc. Hey, he could fire those technological illiterates & give the secretaries the jobs….there’s a thought!

    Seriously, there are many places spending could be cut without hurting those in the trenches….the worker bees. You’ve been a DOC employee & Deputy, etc., you know how dangerous our (law enforcement) jobs can be, it’s only getting worse on the inside, my friend!!!!!

  24. SW on June 20th, 2011 7:27 pm

    ProudArmyParent, see my post at 5:51 PM today to see if you think I am qualified to speak on the subject.

    I also am a proud Army parent; and uncle.

  25. ProudArmyParent on June 20th, 2011 6:45 pm

    SW on June 20th, 2011 4:09 pm, I am aware Governor Scott is not to blame for DOC not receiving a raise for the past six years. I am however stating a fact, DOC has not received a raise in the last six years!

    Department of Correction Officers are Certified Law Enforcement Officers, but yet they are not paid as such. These men and women put their lives on the line everyday , just as a Sheriff’s Deputy or a Highway Patrol Officer, but the pay scale is very different.

    The reason Governor Scott is taking such a close look at the DOC is because its payroll makes up a large portion of the State of Florida’s payroll. Still the DOC is under manned. There are as many as 240 inmates to 1 officer. I’d say that is under staffed. It is not the DOC’s fault that there are so many prisoners, our system saying a prison much perform 85% of his sentence. Could you honestly say it would be better to put murders, kidnappers, thieves, robbers, child abusers, and sex offenders back on the street? Well, that would mean my husband could look for a job in the private sector and I would no longer have to worry about his life everyday he goes to work! Oh but that would then mean I’d have to wonder who my new neighbor is.

    Do you people realize that overtime so not paid in the DOC. If there are not enough Officers on a shift, Officers are held over and comped out on time. This just leaves another shift short Officers, and then more are held over. It becomes a vicious cycle.

    Doc Officers not only perform a job they perform a service, ( a service that NOT many are willing to perform!) These Officers are under manned, over worked, under paid, and under appreciated. Maybe before you people speak you actually need to know the facts. Look up the actual salary for a Correctional Officer you’ll be shocked! They don’t rake in the money. Then check and see how many Correctional Officers are harmed or killed in the line of duty. Learn your facts before you speak!!!!!

  26. SW on June 20th, 2011 5:53 pm

    By the way, I paid $12,000 in taxes last year…after deductions; so, I get to complain about half your salary, then, right?

  27. SW on June 20th, 2011 5:51 pm

    I done it, thank you. 14 years. Certified law enforcement in AL (85), GA (89), and FL(81); certified in corrections in FL (81); A.S. degree in Law Enforcement (83). Purple Heart (AL) and Commendation of Valor (GA).

    I’m in private sector, now. I did it because I got tired of being broke and dealing with the politics. I decided to quit whining about my situation and do something about it.

    I will say that I worked for Enron for 10 years; so I got bit by that situation as well. Got past it. Finished my education; almost completed my Masters. Continued to overcome.

    Don’t challenge me on my qualifications, I’ve turned down opportunities to go back into public sector but want no part of it. I know what you deal with, I know the pay issues, I know the politics. I also know that to sit and lament why I can’t make a living is unacceptable. If one is unsatisfied by one’s situation, it is up to that individual to make the change.

    My point about taxes is that as a public employee one takes more than one gives; as a taxpayer one give more than one takes.

  28. Unreal on June 20th, 2011 5:13 pm

    YOU SAID (SW on June 20th, 2011 4:09 pm) – I bet government employees don’t pay enough in taxes to cover their own salaries (exception is unless the government employee has a second job or a lot of property on which to pay taxes); so the ‘Im a taxpayer’ argument just doesn’t hold water, sorry.

    Also not a good analogy. Since not one single taxpayer actually pays enough to cover my salary, would that mean that you have no right to complain about my benefits package?

    And if the benefits substantially outweigh the risks of the job then why don’t you apply? We could use the help. Or is there some reason that you would not be considered for employment. Would you do what we do for what we do it for?

  29. Unreal on June 20th, 2011 5:01 pm

    SW on June 20th, 2011 4:09 pm – I bet government employees don’t pay enough in taxes to cover their own salaries (exception is unless the government employee has a second job or a lot of property on which to pay taxes); so the ‘Im a taxpayer’ argument just doesn’t hold water, sorry.

    Good point. But since not one single taxpayer actually pays enough to cover my salary does that in turn mean that you have no right to complain about my benefits?

    And if the benefits are that good then why don’t you apply for a job? Is there some reason that would prevent you from being considered for employment?

  30. Unreal on June 20th, 2011 4:55 pm

    Wow. I am a State employee. I work for the Florida Department of Corrections. The Department has not given a pay raise in six years. I left the private sector to come to work for the state because of the benefits package, but in return I took a substantial pay cut. I was making almost $40,000 annual salary in the private sector. My annual salary is now just under $31,000. I felt that this was an equitable trade-off (at the time).
    We also pay taxes. What if we all left our jobs and went to work in the private sector? Are there really that many people in line for our jobs?

  31. Sandra on June 20th, 2011 4:38 pm

    As a professional firefighter I pay 11 percent of my pay into my pension that is no as good as FRS in benefits so there is no sympathy over state workers paying a paltry 3 percent into their own retirement. On the other hand, this 3 percent increase should have been put on new hires only because present employees were promised good retirement benefits in return for accepting a job that pays substantially less than its private sector counterpart. Its almost like negotiating a deal with a car salesman and then 3 years later he call you and says you owe him another 3 grand because the economy is bad. This trend of villainizing public workers is nothing new. If you think back everytime the econmy goes south its always the public workers who are blamed for being given presumed excess benefit packages. This too shall pass.

  32. SW on June 20th, 2011 4:09 pm

    Wrong analogy. With taxpayers, the money is taken by government-at the point of the law; with customers it is given for a service or product-the customer has a choice…big difference.

    Depending on what one’s educational credentials are in, there are jobs…may not be here; may be somewhere else.

    By the way, with all the state employees who are yelling about not getting a raise in 6 years, how can you seriously blame Gov Scott for that; he’s only been governor for a few months. If you haven’t gotten a raise in so many years, where has that precious union been?

    Also, a fair wage is, by law, minimum wage. Any more than that is extra…at least according to our all-knowing imperial federal government…are you willing to take a pay cut down to that level?

    I bet government employees don’t pay enough in taxes to cover their own salaries (exception is unless the government employee has a second job or a lot of property on which to pay taxes); so the ‘Im a taxpayer’ argument just doesn’t hold water, sorry.

  33. PRoudArmyParent on June 20th, 2011 3:54 pm

    Dan, Just a statement. I worked for DOC and did get a raise
    within the last 6 years. Tell the truth !!!!

    Dan, Just a statement is telling the truth! DOC has not had a raise in over six years. There is no lie there. The sheriff’s dept and and the state police have had raises, but not the DOC! Check it out! The truth hurts but it is true. And now on top it of not getting a raise the DOC is getting a pay cut in a round about way by having to pay 3% of the insurance. The cost of living has gone up but not the DOC salary!

  34. Working for You on June 20th, 2011 3:42 pm

    My husband and I are state workers. I have worked for the state for over six years and have not had a cost of living adjustment within the last five (Dan must know something I don’t). I took the job because the great benefits–or what I thought were great benefits, balanced out the earnings. I currently (after working over 6 years) make $26,800 a year and my husband makes a little more than I do. So no, not all state workers are “living high on the hog”…just the ones in Tallahassee. While working for the state I have finished my bachelor’s degree and completed a master’s degree as well. If I worked in the public sector I could make well over what I make now and may have even been rewarded for my efforts toward education. My reward this time for completing my master’s degree was that my governor decided to take an addition 3% of my money…oh, and 3% of my husband’s as well since he also works for this state. That is a 6% cut in our family income. I understand that EVERYBODY, private and public, is having to struggle these days, but when you have people like me who are educated and dedicated to serving YOU (and we are also taxpayers by the way) who get beaten up like public workers like myself have been it is very demoralizing and demeaning. Why don’t I find a public sector job? Believe me, I am trying. I have been trying for over a year now. The fact is, there are no jobs right now or the jobs that are out there people would rather hire workers who have 20 years experience and have been laid off instead of myself fresh out of grad school. Just think, though, about the quality of public service workers you will have when all of the ones like myself leave. You think you complain now… As far as the retirement, I wouldn’t mind paying into my own retirement, but to a fund of MY choice, not my governor’s. And look at it this way if you want to complain about taxpayers paying our wages and retirement. Who pays you? Your client’s/patrons, right? Guess what, the public IS our patrons. We just want a FAIR wage with FAIR benefits. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  35. SW on June 20th, 2011 3:26 pm

    @justathought

    How is contributing to your own retirement a pay cut? The county gave a raise to offset the rising cost of medical benefits.

    How long before the taxpaying golden goose dries up?

    This ‘entitlement’ mentality of the public sector is ridiculous. You are paid what can be afforded to be paid…period. Like it or quit.

    That being said, can the governments tighten up the old belt and do better? Sure. By cost cutting programs like welfare and food stamps and running parks and keeping up boat ramps and unemployment compensation and such, they can. Why not yell with that in mind and not at the taxpayers who are paying for this?

    Furthermore, why not yell about where the 3% is going? Why not get on board wtih K Cooper and demand to have a 401(k) program in which to put your money; it’d probably pay out better in the long run.

    No one is guaranteed anything; and people aren’t willing to keep shelling out. I am trying to make a living, too. I can’t make one for you and for me. Gotta do something for yourself besides sit and whine that things aren’t going your way.

    I wonder at what point, everyone who is footing the bill just decides to sit down and join in?

  36. justathought on June 20th, 2011 2:51 pm

    Dear Skip, a smart person would consider pay, retirement, and the cost of other benefits prior to accepting a job offer. Remember it’s not all about today, therefore, when you hire on with all of the above clearly defined, how is it even close to fair for us to be MADE to take a pay cut? How about we cut welfare payments, social security payments, food stamp checks, ect., by 3%. You ok with that too? Or does that hit a little closer to home?

  37. Dan on June 20th, 2011 2:44 pm

    @ Just a statement. I worked for DOC and did get a raise
    within the last 6 years. Tell the truth !!!!

  38. Dan on June 20th, 2011 2:43 pm

    This just goes to show how greedy public sector employee
    unions are bad for state budgets and taxpayers.

    Unions are “self serving” and GREEDY !

    I was a state worker in Florida and have always believed that
    the state retirement system was too good to be true. A 3%
    contribuation is reasonable and is no hardship for anyone !

  39. SW on June 20th, 2011 2:12 pm

    Governors are mandated to have a balanced budget; unlike congress (little c intended). If it takes cutting back on things, fine. The time of having our cake and eating it, too, is going away. If you choose to work in the public sector, you accept what the public sector is willing to pay-simple.

    I see two choices: 1) live within the means; or, 2) find another job. The taxpayer is giving all he/she can; governments are, or soon will be, broke.

    Florida is hopeless; there is no real source of creating income in this state. It is a retirement state; the only ones who make money in this state are doctors and lawyers. Unless industry or other private sector opportunities begin, this state will dry up with the economy-not before taxes are raised beyond livable means.

    So the unions sue and win; one answer would be, in order to stay within budgets, to begin to eliminate government organizations and contract it all out. It’d probably be cheaper anyway without the employee HR issues.

  40. county employee on June 20th, 2011 2:09 pm

    you people wont something for nothing. i retired from a state job and i paid into it every pay day. i dont think the county should give you a pay rase to off set your coast you need to working on bennifits. like insur. dential and eyes. futher more i see a lot of workers that could be doing more work . beleave me i see alot . might be time to get the camera out . smile you never know.

    You were bamboozled my friend. The raise is not a raise, it is an offset. We are not making more money than we did. It is simply covering what we were losing. Private sector can raise prices and folks still pay the difference. Public sector raises “prices” and they freak out. You should investigate the “paid-on-call” firefighters that receive a hefty stipend for “volunteering” their time and see what doesn’t get done. Data has repeatedly shown that paid-on-call are not sufficient without some support from career firefighters, and that trend is not changing for the better. A few north end and several south end stations, some in heavily populated areas, still are unable to muster a crew sufficient for fire suppression or a serious medical call. It is not the fault of the paid-on-call personnel, it is the times in which we live.

    “cl” if you see so much maybe you should tag along with us sometime and see it in person. Come and see our “dential” and “eyes” “bennifits”. Please educate yourself with the facts before you start slinging mud. Thank you kindly.

  41. XYZ on June 20th, 2011 1:47 pm

    This way he can pay for his tax cuts to corporations on the backs of state workers… Scott’s next big deed is to try and do away with Medi-care and replace it with private insurance that will fight you at every turn so they can make more money…..everyone really needs to check out what Republican Governors are doing or planning to do across the nation …not good for average man or women…………….

  42. skip on June 20th, 2011 1:31 pm

    I love all the county workers stating how much more they would be making in the private sector. Give me a break, if the money was so much better elsewhere you would be elsewhere. Individuals in the private sector have always had to contribute to their own retirement, government workers should be no different. Be thankful you have a job goverment workers, as someone whose husband has been off and on unemployment for the last 4 years, you have no idea how lucky you are.

  43. cl on June 20th, 2011 1:28 pm

    you people wont something for nothing. i retired from a state job and i paid into it every pay day. i dont think the county should give you a pay rase to off set your coast you need to working on bennifits. like insur. dential and eyes. futher more i see a lot of workers that could be doing more work . beleave me i see alot . might be time to get the camera out . smile you never know.

  44. just a statement on June 20th, 2011 12:56 pm

    My husband and I both work for the state (DOC) we haven’t gotten a raise in 6 years, even though the price of everything is going up. We aren’t getting a raise this year either AND now we have to contribute 3% to our retirement which is LIKE getting a 3% pay cut! We took the jobs with the state because they offered awesome benefits that we couldn’t get at the jobs we had before. We knew the job was dangerous when we signed on, but the benefits and the security of our futures were the deciding factor in taking the jobs. I read that the county was getting a 3% COLA increase to offset the 3% contribution that they will have to make. IF that is true ( and assuming I didn’t read that wrong) that isn’t as bad as not getting any raise and still having to pay in the 3%. (not that the county workers don’t deserve a raise as well, but at least it is something) I think that would be a great thing to do for the state employees also. Now, my husband and I don’t know what we should do. There is the 3% to the retirement which as I mentioned is like a pay cut, there is no raise in our pay in site, and they are demanding that we do more at work with less supplies, and man power, and honestly I’m afraid it’s turning into a safety issue. I know the state needs to save money, but by making cuts in certain areas you are jeopardizing the safety of the workers and ultimately the public. I am thankful that we have jobs, but things are getting crazy. I really feel that the governor needs to talk with the people more and hear our sides of the issue. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.

  45. AlabamaChick on June 20th, 2011 12:33 pm

    I to agree with K cooper,because some of us havent had a raise in 6 years,SIX!!!!! Its our dang money and we should choose where our money goes and if we want to contribute to the 3% retirment fund,we should have a say so!Govner Scott and the Legislature should pay into their own retirment instead of taxpayers,most taxpayers would like to have a retirment plan like our elected officals.Sounds like a double standard.Shame Shame on our Flordia goverment!!!!!! Sounds like a setup,is our money GUARANTEED to be there when we retire?!?!?!?!

  46. Diane on June 20th, 2011 11:50 am

    Three % I haven’t had a raise in over four years!

  47. Escambia mom on June 20th, 2011 11:39 am

    If a promise is a promise how come military members and their families are not receiving free heath care that was “promised” to them. Our Government will always change the rules to suit their needs.

  48. tina on June 20th, 2011 10:52 am

    I also work for the county and I am appalled over this 3% pay in… I took almost a 8.00 decrease in pay last year when I went to work for the county and the only reason that I did it was for the retirement plan and the benefits! Now I am wishing that I stayed where I was at :(
    I’m with you….. if Scott wants to run the state like private industry — then he needs to pay like private industry!

  49. SW on June 20th, 2011 10:43 am

    K Cooper has a very valid point and I agree.

  50. SW on June 20th, 2011 10:40 am

    It doesn’t matter whether or not the government aka the taxpayer can afford it, then.

    Okay.

  51. K Cooper on June 20th, 2011 10:38 am

    I too am a county worker and I think it is unconstitutional to require me to contribute 3% of my money to the Florida retirement system. I should be able to decide if I want to contribute 3% to my retirement and if I do, where I would like to invest the 3%. I may not want to put it in the Florida Retirement System. It is my money and I should not be told what I’m going to do with it.

  52. STUMPKNOCKER on June 20th, 2011 9:59 am

    I am a county worker and if Scott wants our retrement to resemble the private sector then pay us what the private sector would.The reason people take these lower paying jobs is because the benefits helps to make up for the pay,but dont pay us next to nothing and take away our benefits and break the contract that was agreed to.





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