prosperity of fools
shall destroy them."
As we know that cities, counties, and states all around the U.S.
are facing financial bankruptcy. They are crying out for funds.
Nowhere is this situation more acute than in the Golden State of
California. No justice or judge in this country is "earning" more
than those sitting on the bench in California, who are racking in
more than the those sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court. As shown in
the recent media, we have had a city manager drawing $800,000 a
year, and the highest paid city councilmen in the nation.
Years ago a friend of mine joined me in at a Denny's Restaurant
where we were enjoying lunch. He brought with him a number of
newspaper clippings for me to read. Sitting in the booth next to
us were two L.A.P.D. officers. My friend asked me to read aloud
just the headlines from these clippings, which I did. It was one
article after another that placed the police in a bad light, even
expressed grievances by the cops union. Then I read one headlines
was about the L.A. City ticket writers getting paid more than the
the police did. Then police called for the waiter and asked if
they could be seated elsewhere, in which they were accommodated.
Here in the California we have become famous for closed
businesses, foreclosures, and joblessness. I have personally
witnessed the need for aid to the homeless double and even triple,
even seeing a lack of tables and chairs to seat the homeless.
Homelessness has become the most predominate single listed
"occupation" on applications.
Now witness the below headlines from the Orange County Register,
"Hermosa Beach Meter Maids Making Nearly $100K?" It appears that
the modus operandi of those in government is, "Get yours before
somebody else grabs it first!" We have a massive number of
destitute people who would jump at the opportunity to work for
just $10 an hour with no benefits. We have
truly become a society engaged in a race for the bottom.
* * *
Hermosa Beach meter maids
making nearly $100K?
August 10th, 2012, 9:01 pm · · posted by Brian Calle
When contemplating the many reasons cities in
California and elsewhere are venturing closer to bankruptcy,
look no further than the relatively lucrative and
often-unjustifiable salaries bestowed on municipal employees –
and the lofty pension benefits attached to the high pay.
One of the latest examples comes from the California
coastal city of Hermosa Beach, where some community service
staffers who collect money from parking meters and manage
their operations – positions once widely known as “meter
maids” – are making nearly $100,000 a year in total
compensation, according to city documents.
There are 10 parking enforcement employees for the
1.3-square-mile beach city southwest of downtown Los Angeles,
and they pull down some disproportionate compensation,
considering their job functions. In fact, the two
highest-earning employees for fiscal year 2011-12 are
estimated to have made more than $92,000 and $93,000,
respectively, according to city documents provided by Patrick
“Kit” Bobko, one of five council members and who also serves
as mayor pro tem. Those two have supervisory roles. The other
eight parking-enforcement employees make from $67,367 to
$84,267 in total compensation.
There are four qualifications for being a city
“community service officer,” Bobko told me: “You have to be
able to drive a standard transmission; you have to able to
handle large animals; you have to read and interpret statutes
and regulations; and you have a high school diploma or
According to the city’s job description, these
community service officers are supposed “to enforce meter and
other regulations governing the parking of vehicles on streets
and municipal parking lots; to enforce animal regulations; may
drive city buses; collect meters and perform minor meter
repairs; perform related work as required.”
The section of the job description that gives examples
of job duties reads as follows: “Patrols streets and municipal
parking lots and checks vehicles for parking violations;
issues citations for parking violations; impound vehicles in
certain cases; collects and transports stray dogs to
designated holding facilities; investigates complaints for
animal control violations; may drive city buses; meter
collection and minor meter repair.”
Bobko also wrote in a memo that the retirement costs
for these 10 employees “from [fiscal year 2011-12] through
their retirement age at 62 was nearly $1.6 million, and the
medical costs for these employees from this fiscal year to
their retirement at age 62 would be $1,353,827.” Excluding
salaries, the [retirement] contributions and medical costs for
the 10 employees performing parking enforcement will cost, on
average, nearly $300,000 apiece.”
Aside from the personnel costs, there has been
criticism from Hermosa Beach Treasurer David Cohn that parking
meter operations have been mismanaged. Cohn cited
nonfunctioning parking meters, a backlog in disputed parking
tickets and problems with the accounting for revenue.
Bobko told me that his concern is that, when taxpayers
learn that city employees “are making high wages for
low-skilled jobs, they are not OK with it.” That’s especially
true when considering these jobs easily could be at least
partially automated or even outsourced, for less money.
Bobko is pushing a plan to outsource the city’s parking
enforcement operations, which he says will save money, reduce
maintenance costs, relieve the city of accounting functions
related to parking enforcement, increase efficiency and,
perhaps most importantly, increase revenue and “reduce the
city’s pension and salary obligations.”
There has been opposition to the outsourcing proposal
from Hermosa Beach’s Police Chief Steve Johnson and Councilman
Howard Fishman. Both expressed concerns about letting go
full-time city staff. Bobko accurately characterized the
resistance: “When you outsource, you take away union jobs.”
In this case, outsourcing parking-enforcement duties
would benefit the taxpayers among Hermosa Beach’s population
of slightly less than 20,000. For an example of how such a
switch might work, Hermosa officials could travel about 45
miles south along the coast to Newport Beach, where the city
successfully moved to outsource parking enforcement last year.
“We have seen increased revenues with the private
company operating the meter program,” Newport Councilwoman
Leslie Daigle said.
Since Newport made the move, the city “has seen a 24.4
percent increase in parking-meter revenues over last year and
salary savings of approximately $500,000 from outsourcing
parking meter operations,” according to Tara Finnigan, a
spokeswoman for the city.
Privatizing parking meter duties also is a national
trend, as detailed in a recent study by the libertarian Reason
Foundation. Chicago and Indianapolis have had success with
outsourcing parking enforcement, and other cities including
New York, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Memphis, Tenn., and
Harrisburg, Pa., are considering privatization proposals.
Indianapolis City Councilman Ben Hunter told me, “The
privatization of the parking meter system in Indianapolis
allowed for an immediate upgrade of a poor system.”
Back in Hermosa Beach, “We can’t keep making promises
with money we don’t have to people we are paying well above
what the market would pay them,” Bobko said.
Public employee compensation and retirement costs are
proving unsustainable. More cities in the Golden State and
elsewhere need to accept that reality and act on it to avoid
fiscal calamity, perhaps starting with the meter maids.
Posted in: California
• Hermosa Beach • meter
maids • Newport Beach • public employees