Taxpayers in San Diego County and beyond have made their anger crystal clear over unsustainable public employee benefits and pensions that threaten to decimate municipal budgets. There can’t possibly be an elected official within cyber-shouting distance of San Diego Rostra who’s unaware of this.
So when pay and benefit increases are approved without a bit of public discussion, is it due to the enormous influence wielded by public employee labor unions and the big money behind them, or sheer ignorance by politicians who simply fail to ask the tough questions and vote on staff recommendations?
It turns out that apparently, officials are voting on labor agreements with accounting tricks that add up to pension spiking that they’ve never read or don’t understand, trusting that they’re being told the full truth about the provisions they contain.
Whichever it is, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association is so frustrated by it that it issued an open letter today firing a warning shot across the bow of those officials who will be negotiating new public employee contracts for the 2012 budget year to look sharp and hold the line.
As voters and taxpayers we’ve got to do our part, too. As inconvenient as it’s sometimes made for us with afternoon council meetings and items buried on consent calendars, we need to be heard during public comment, and not make it easy to slip these things by an unsuspecting populace. This is the value of being a member of groups like the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. It’s got the know-how and needs the resources to have staff at the ready to hold officials accountable on our behalf.