Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekend funnies

Today's headlines are so funny you have to laugh. 

London Ontario -Police swell sunshine list by 68%

Paramedics in Ottawa ecstatic over a salary increase of 13 % despite wage freeze in Ontario

Disillusioned over 4.4% wage hike in Edmonton 

St Albert - Councilors and employees approve themselves big wage increase

In Regina out-of-scope healthcare employees get 18.8% or $70,000 raise.

It is ironic I had just finished writing a letter to the Leader Post. The letter pointed out the game of leapfrog being played by the executives that had just given themselves handsome raises. I wrote that
Despite all of the wordsmithing about out-of-scope employees, salaries significantly "under market" and comparing it to pirates in Alberta salary increases of 20% or $70,000 per year are a taxpayer rip-off. How much did they pay consultants to get a report that justified these types of increases?

Don't expect it to end anytime soon. Consultants will soon be reporting to healthcare executives in Alberta that Saskatchewan just got raises valued at 20% and they should be getting the same. The it will be Saskatchewan's turn again. It's just a game of leapfrog that keeps putting taxpayers further and further behind.
 The Leader Post article stated that 
The health regions, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and SAHO worked with The Hay Group, a management consulting firm, to do the market review, which indicated that some pay ranges (bands) were no longer competitive. A broad range of out-of-scope health-care jobs include administrative positions, nursing supervisors, program directors, vice-presidents and CEOs.
Then the next report I saw that was the cause for uncontrollable laughter. It was the report  from St Albert. This is where the councilors and employee both went to the taxpayer trough. 

And how did they justify it? 
Council approved a compensation review implementation plan and a compensation philosopy policy, both in reaction to a compensation report delivered by the Hay Group in November.
Be watching for the next report.... I wonder how much taxpayers have to pay for these consultant reports. For some they are priceless.

Here is another update on a report done by the same group in Vancouver. City staff survey produces $92,000 bill

Rob Ford commissioned the same group to make a compensation report. Here is what the report by the same group said to the mayor of Toronto Councillors should reject raise, budget chief says

Nothing New  
This game is going on for a long time.  My only thought is what are these guys thinking?

Across North America government are suffering financially. Taxpayers have suffered job losses, reduced wages and a significant portion of wealth was lost in the stock markets. Yet 
the cities listed in the above headlines continue on like we are still living in boom times. 

When will they bump up against the ceiling of reality? Or maybe they believe the following article and think they can turn the ship around with more spending? 
Government budget cuts pose threat to recovery

Deep spending cuts by state and local governments pose a growing threat to an economy that is already grappling with high unemployment, depressed home prices and the surging cost of oil.

Lawmakers at state capitols and city halls are slashing jobs and programs, arguing that some pain now is better than a lot more later. But the cuts are coming at a price — weaker growth at the national level.

Across the country, governors and lawmakers are proposing broad cutbacks — lowering fees paid to nursing homes in Florida, reducing health insurance subsidies for lower-income Pennsylvanians, closing prisons in New York state and scaling back programs for elderly and disabled Californians.

"The massive financial problems at the state and local levels 

But those same governments cut spending at a 2.4 percent rate at the end of last year. And economists predict they will slash their budgets by up to 2.5 percent this year — potentially the sharpest reduction since 1943. The deepest cuts are expected to occur in the first six months of this year.

The worst cuts so far_ 3.8 percent — came in the January-to-March period of 2010. That was the sharpest quarterly drop since late 1983, when the U.S. economy was recovering from a severe recession. Most economists think the cutbacks this year will exert an even bigger economic drag than last year.

Many governors, including those in Florida, New York and Colorado, are pursuing tighter budgets. Their proposals include laying off public workers and teachers, reducing spending for education and health care, and ending some social services. They're also targeting public pension funds and health insurance plans and seeking larger contributions from public employees.

State and local budget experts fear the cutbacks will intensify this year. States are struggling to close budget gaps of about $125 billion for the upcoming budget year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

State and local governments have cut more than 400,000 jobs in the past two years. Budget pressures will force an average of 20,000 more job cuts each month for the rest of this year
Bill Tufts 
Fair Pensions For All

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