Even Steve Gonot is right twice a day.
I agree with the Lunatic Known as John Grassi with regards to the fact we, and many other cities, have an issue with pension plans — just happen to not agree with his facts, or lack thereof.
The blame, as it were, doesn’t really fall on Burgess Hanson and Company, who have inherited this shit sandwich and have to figure out a way to make it palatable.
This problem has been brewing for quite some time.
So, in pursuit of the truth, let’s turn the clock back 10 years or so — back to the era of Gary Lother (who, by the way, retired at an early age with a $130K’ish/yr payout).
In those golden years of Deerfield, the firefighters were a potent political force; secure their support, and they’d knock on doors and hold up signs at busy intersections. Get the local union, and you were pretty much a shoe-in.
And in payment, they were given golden parachutes.
Case in point, near my Deerfield Beach home, a firefighter just bought a second home in North Carolina.
And, according to recently published reports, about 60 of the top 100 highest paid employees in Palm Beach are firefighters.
But I digress, let’s return back to Lother, who was well-known for tossing out cushy overtime jobs.
However, before I get to that, a quick explanation. For those employees about to retire and collect benefits, their retirement salary is based upon their last three years of weekly salary. So, it would behoove those folks to bump up their take home. Many perhaps will recall the BSO dispatcher who worked 70+ hrs a week, retiring with a $4 million pension.
When local dispatchers (making $10-15 hr) would call in sick, Lother would have a fireman fill the roll, paid at their firefighter rate (plus overtime).
Legal? Sure? Ethical? That’s the way the game was played, but really shitty for us now having to deal with this.
And more assuredly, Lother is sitting on his front porch, enjoying his six-figure a year income, laughing all the way to the bank.
* We will note Gonot railed against this — and Lother’s explanation was he didn’t trust civilian employees to do the job.