Petition Tag - furloughs

1. Support Titusville Police Officers

Within the next month the Titusville City Council is going to cut 14 police officers from the department. They are also going to put the remaining officers on a 1 or 2 day per week furlough. Not only do the citizens need the officers, the officers need their pay.

Florida Today article:

TITUSVILLE — Police chief Tony Bollinger will leave the department he has lead for the past 12 years on Friday.

Bollinger, who is in the Deferred Retirement Option Program, informed City Manager Mark Ryan of his plans to resign and start his retirement.

The police chief cited difficulties "double-dipping" while the department was facing furloughs and pay cuts, according to an e-mail Bollinger sent to police personnel and city council members.

"I found it increasingly more difficult to look at each of you knowing your struggles and also knowing that my departure could save money that could be redirected to help offset and alleviate some of your financial troubles," Bollinger stated in the e-mail.

Florida today article

Mayor: Pensions might bankrupt titusville

TITUSVILLE — Negotiations between Titusville and unions representing its police officers, firefighters and other employees have broken down, with the mayor warning residents the city could go bankrupt without reform of its pension program and other retirement benefits.

“We have an unfunded liability in our pension program of approximately $46 million,” Mayor Jim Tulley said. “We don’t know how big the risk is. We know there are cities, particularly in California, that have gone bankrupt.”

But police and firefighters fear that the solution the city seeks will be a reduction in pension benefits for workers, who accepted lower pay now on the promise of a better pension when they retire.

“When we were hired, the city told us we won’t make a lot of money on the front side, but we are going to get a decent pension when we retire, they will take care of us then,” said Scott Andrews, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 170 in Titusville.
According to the city’s latest comprehensive annual financial report, the unfunded liability in the Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement Trust had reached almost $25 million as of October 2010; the unfunded liability in the General Employee’s Retirement Trust was about $19 million.

Beyond the pensions, the annual report shows another substantial unfunded liability — another $44 million — to cover other post-retirement benefits, such as retirees’ health insurance.

While there was $72.5 million in assets in the two pension trusts as of October 2010, there was just $725,752 in assets assigned to cover those other post-employment benefits for all city employees.
“The fact that there are some actuarial assets at all is a positive sign,” said David Matkin, an assistant professor of public budgeting and financial management at Florida State University and pension researcher for the LeRoy Collins Institute.

Titusville does not face an immediate risk of default, but the city must stop the growing pension liability, Titusville finance director Bridgette Clements said.

2. Hawaii Community Stands Ready to Help Offset Impacts of Teacher Furloughs

The decline in Hawaii’s economy and state tax revenues have necessitated corresponding cuts to public programs. There are plenty of unnecessary government programs available to cut.

However, instead of cutting the Department of Education (DoE)’s singularly over‐large central bureaucracy as appropriate, the DoE and the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), have determined to meet the DoE budget reduction mandate by, in part, furloughing public school teachers for 17 days each year.

The government option has failed and the burden is being thrown onto students, frontline teachers and families. In addition to bearing job losses while having to pay the already increasing taxes that the Hawaii legislature is pursuing, Hawaii families now have to bear the additional financial burden of providing child care or suitable private instruction for their children on the furlough days. Plus, our teachers are out of work for 17 days.