Letters to the editor for March 5, 2012

Union Democrat staff

TUD pension reform needed

To the Editor:

Re: TUD Pension Reform

Thank you Dr. Retherford for bring up the elephant in the room; the real and urgent need for pension reform within TUD. As per the Feb. 28th audit presentation the unfunded pension and health care liability right now is $14 million! He is correct we need to address it now. It is unsustainable. Look at the other water districts in California, you will find they increase rates not for infrastructure improvements but to pay for un-sustainable pensions and free health care for life. They think they have a "captive audience" because we need water, so you want it, pay for it! We cannot afford "free for life" any more. It is not fair to those of us private sector workers who pay for it through taxes or fee increases. I believe common sense reform can be done by not laying off one worker. Mr. Behee is incorrect in saying the average public sector pension is $30k. Perhaps 20 years ago it was but not now and just because someone in the Democratic Legislature says so does not mean it is a fact. Do your research Mr. Behee and come back with some real unbiased facts. The average retiree benefit is really $66,000. Pension and health benefits need to be reformed first before any rate increase is considered.

MP McHugh

Twain Harte

The Union Democrat
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