Recently, initiatives to change pension rules were approved by voters of San Diego and San Jose to reduce benefits for public workers.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received greater support in his recall election against Tom Barrett than when he faced off against Barrett in 2010.
Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed a pension bill raising the minimum retirement age from 55 to 60, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed a pension reform bill into law.
With employee costs now recognized as key to government financial health, one has to wonder what Rumford’s leadership was thinking when producing a budget with big pay increases to get Rumford employee pay comparable to some other Maine Municipal Association member towns.
Those public-sector jobs already pay more than their private-sector counterparts in the community; the town’s valuation is declining, and its largest employer remains in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The result, Article 9 for general government expenditures, has increased by $59,000 and, Article 15 for General Assistance, has increased by $25,000 for employee pay.
Adding to the financial pain, town officials saw fit to duck responsibility to evaluate initiated article requests. Instead, they sent forth the standard list of requests, expanding the amount and number of requests for the Greater Rumford Community Center and another large request by Black Mountain (which promised last year it would be asking for less).
It will be up to Rumford voters to exercise fiscal responsibility and vote down Articles 9 and 15 and a plethora of initiated articles that can simply no longer be sustained through taxation.
Candice Casey, Rumford