Union leader ignores reality on public pensions

Published: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 - 11:11 am

Re "Measure would put public pensions at risk" (Viewpoints, Nov. 8): It is certainly not surprising for a public employee union leader to criticize a ballot proposition that fundamentally reforms the public employee pension system. However, Ron Cottingham's arguments are devoid of facts.

His argument justifying these pensions because public sector salaries trail their private sector counterparts is no longer true. What is true is that private sector employees are tired of funding guaranteed retirement benefits for public employees that are far more lucrative than their own. They are also tired of pensions eating up larger and larger portions of public entity budgets, sacrificing the ability of cities and counties to deliver basic services. And Cottingham conveniently disregards the hundreds of millions of dollars of unfunded liabilities burdening our cities and counties.

The private sector realized years ago that defined benefit pensions are unsustainable. It's time for the public sector to come to grips with reality also.

-- Richard Ulery, Grass Valley

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