A public employee pension story you won’t hear about
What if city government and public employee unions sat down and asked important questions about mutual priorities and public good?
City employees voted Wednesday to approve changes to their pension plans that ultimately will save Sioux Falls taxpayers $104 million in the next 30 years.
Faced with rising and unsustainable health care costs for retiring employees, Mayor Mike Huether sought change. This was met with a good faith effort by public employees:
Michael Gramlick, president of Sioux Falls Firefighters Local 814, the local fire union, said firefighters were “overwhelmingly” in favor of the changes, which he sees as necessary for the city’s long-term financial health.
The solution will call for employees to contribute an additional 1% to their health coverage in 2014 and an additional 1% in 2015. Employees retiring after 2013 will receive a monthly stipend to purchase their own health care instead of being carried on the City’s plan.
Progress hinged on open communication and the flow of real information instead of street theater and sound bytes:
Voter turnout was exceptionally high…with an 81 percent turnout for fire employees and 79 percent for general employees, which includes police and all other city workers… The city held almost 50 educational seminars and reached more than 800 of the more than 1,000 city workers before Wednesday’s vote…
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