Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday 1-15

I spent last night trying to find the automatic renewal clause in my contract with the radio station. I didn't find it because it's not in there. I'd be willing to bet that most contract employees won't find such a clause in their deals--because no employer would tie themselves to a potential dud of an employee.

Yet that is exactly what the Oshkosh School Board has done with it Superintendent. Now I am not saying that Ron Heilmann is a dud of an employee--but does it really matter? No matter what he does in his job, that contract automatically rolls over--unless a majority of the school board thinks he stinks and then they have to make their case for ending the contract--and paying out a big severance package.

That brings up a very interesting question when it comes to public employee contracts: Should the workers bear the burden of proof that they are doing their jobs? Or should the government body that hires them have to prove they can't handle the position?

I can certainly see why the employee would want to have the security of rollover clauses or automatic renewals--but taxpayers need the protection against ineffective leadership. What City Councillor wants to run on a platform of "I'm going to fire the City Manager" or what school board member wants to put "Replacing the superintendent" on top of their priorities list. Okay, what candidates outside the Oshkosh area will go around saying that?

Administrators doing a good job should have little to fear without automatic rollovers in their contracts. Those running things into the ground???? Well they may want to rent instead of buy. But then again, the taxpayers end up winning there.

While I'm making insinuations about the Oshkosh School Board this morning, I also have a money saving suggestion for you. You want to hire a consulting firm to compare Doctor Heilmanns' contract with the deals signed by other superintendents in the area? You're in luck. All of those contracts are considered part of the public record and must be turned over by the district upon request. We have copies of a couple superintendents' deals right here in the Newsroom and we didn't have to pay anyone to get them. Each member take a district or two--put in your open records request with their clerks--get the contracts for free. Then make copies for everybody else on the board and compare them all side-by-side. You need a consultant for that??? Geez, no wonder we can barely afford Middle School Mandarin Chinese in this district.


  1. Public sector contracts are a scourge on middle class America.

    Those in public sector jobs are often insulated from the realities of the capitalistic real market economies.

    You only need to take a look at the Brunswick union in Antigo, which has just closed down a plant and laid off 70 employees to see this comparison.

    Those in the public sector (teachers, city workers) etc. are living in a cocoon. They are not as vulnerable to the market volatility and seem to have “jobs for life”.

    Who suffers?

    The taxpayer.

    Taxpayers continue to provide outlandish healthcare benefits to these public sector employees and then on top of that, provided wage and other benefits that are equal to or better than those found in the private sector.

    Here is a small example of some of the taxpayer funded benefits paid to Oshkosh city workers:

    Sick Leave:
    1 day of sick leave for each month of service.

    12 paid days per year.

    Medical Benefits:
    Employee contributions for PPO

    Effective January 1, 2006 employees will contribute 5% up to a maximum of $30 per month toward single; $45 per month towards dual and $55 per month towards a family premium equivalent.

    Employee contributions for EPO

    Effective January 1, 2006 employees will contribute 4% up to a maximum of $20 per month toward single; $40 per month towards dual and $50 per month towards a family premium equivalent.

    Retirement Fund:
    The Employer shall pay the employees mandatory contribution to the fund, up to 6.5% of the employee’s gross wage.

    Longevity Plan:
    The following longevity plan is in effect-

    $2.77 bi weekly after 5 years of service
    $5.54 bi weekly after 10 years of service
    $9.23 bi weekly after 15 years of service
    $12.92 bi weekly after 20 years of service

    Take note of the healthcare package.

    Taxpayers fund 95% of the cost for healthcare coverage, the employee contributes 5%.

    In most other well funded private sector plans, the employer pays 80% and the employee pays 20%...those are the GOOD plans. Many other private sector plans are not nearly as employee sensitive.

    These “contracts” whether they are the contract for the School Administrator or the guy who collects your garbage need to be brought under control. Taxpayers simply can not continue to fund these gold plated contracts!

  2. Do you have any suggestions to solve these problems or will you just stir the pot once again without offering any solutions?
    We need problem solvers not more complaints!

  3. 1)Looks like someone with extreme union negotiation expertise needs to be in a leadership position.

    2)Looks like those that control the contracts should not benefit from the results of the contacts. (ie if the contract stipulates union employees receive a 95% taxpayer funded healthcare program, so do the non-union administrators) If that is the case, the non-union administrators have no incentive to attempt to keep costs low for the taxpayers.

  4. I think I read this crap somewhere before. Cheryl Hentz's blog? Brian Bain's blog? Kent Monte's blog? All of them! Same post every time.

    There's a solution. Cut the services you don't want. That's how you can save your money.

  5. Yup, the same moron keeps posting the same crap over and over again. A bunch of B.S.from someone who thrives on complaining while offering no solutions. That might be because with laws as they are, changes he or she wants made can't happen. And they know it. They just enjoy bitching about it and think they look smart offering the same diatribe over and over.

  6. Yeah, all the cut and pasting must be having an effect. How many times have we seen the same crap? Over and over and over. Last time I checked, the city still employed about the same number of people, with the same salaries, and the same benefits. Seems like the bitching is doing a lot of good.

  7. "Last time I checked, the city still employed about the same number of people, with the same salaries, and the same benefits. Seems like the bitching is doing a lot of good."

    This just goes to show the arrogance and entitlement mentality of city employees.

    "Don't worry about who's elected to the Council, we'll be still here long after they're gone"

    Yes we have our fair share of EXCELLENT City employees and yes we have our fair share of gold plated anchors just waiting to get to the golden ring of retirement.

    The city administration needs to take a hard look at employee allocation. The city admiistration need to take a hard look at department consolodation and restructuring.

    The simple truth is the taxpayers can't continue to pay escalating property taxes driven by heathcare costs. (95% taxpayer funded - 5% employee funded)

    We need some new ideas at 215 Church Avenue - and even more, a LEADER who can implement those ideas!