Petaluma is a California town of 54,000 people. It's not remarkable for much...except...if you read an awful lot like me...they have a problem with pensions.
The city government now has a total requirement that existed for 2008....of $28.5 million needed to pay its pension fund for city employees who've retired. Next year....it'll likely be $30 million minimum.
In 2002, it was $9 million. So you can kinda see a trend here. Want to guess what it is in 2015? I'd be guessing $40 million.
Supervisors and managers are typically getting $100k a year...via this pension requirement. If you were a mere clerk at the lowest level...you likely collect at least $35k a year.
The cops and fire department guys can retire under a plan called the “3 percent at 50” plan. They basically jump out at age 50 (think about it....retirement at age 50).....and then collect 3 percent of final salary given for every year worked. What a deal.
What to do? No one knows. The union guys say that it's terrible to mess with the mess. The management guys say you can't recruit unless you offer real retirement. So the public is stuck with a bunch of idiots who think this bucket of money has no limits.
Imagine yourself sitting there....a guy who retires at age 51....making $100k a year as a manager....and then running off to some town in Bama to live the life of luxury and decadence.....because some idiots in California are really that stupid. Heck, you could have a bass-boat, a RV trailer, a hunting cabin in Tennessee, and even a trip to the Caymans each summer for the next thirty years of your life....compliments of stupid idiots in California. This is better than playing lotto.
Meanwhile...right behind you....only three years away from retirement....is your replacement at the old office. And he's already talking to you about what kind of RV to buy, where the best bass-boats can be procured, and if there are any fine trophy-wives in Bama for a rich 50-year old guy to hook up.
And at the end of this mess....is the 32 year old guy.....daydreaming day after day at work in Petaluma.....of his impending retirement in eighteen years....and his bass-boat in Bama.