February 21, 2012

Cicilline Playing the Blame Game

Patrick Laverty

On 630wpro.com, David Cicilline tries the old "wasn't me" argument with regard to Providence's finances.

Cicilline told the WPRO Morning News with Tara Granahan and Andrew Gobeil that he did not put the “outrageous” cost of living increases for retirees in place
Ok, so he has a point there. He didn't sign a decree to make those happen, that's true. But if that is a benefit that was given to the retirees, it could be taken away. Maybe it couldn't be easily taken away from the people who were already retired, but in the eight years that Cicilline was in the mayor's office, why couldn't he negotiate a change to that benefit with future retirees? Why just the hands in the air and the "Not my fault!" As he was asked on Newsmakers a few weeks back, if Gina Raimondo could get a statewide pension reform bill passed in her first year, why couldn't Cicilline clean up Providence's finances over a span of eight years?
Cicilline highlighted his administration's success in making sustainable contributions to the pension system
Ha! "sustainable"? Seriously? When you raid the rainy day accounts to levels where it gets the city's bond ratings lowered, how in the world is that "sustainable"? If I need to spend my life's savings to buy food this month, I've balanced my budget for the time being, but is that sustainable? What happens next month? We know what was next for Cicilline. A promotion to Washington.
we developed a plan to make our contributions to the pension system and got near 100% for most of those years
My question here is that if his administration was paying "near" 100% for most of the years he was in office, then why is the system a mess? Paying near 100% should mean that he's bringing the fund back to solvency. He said that the prior administrations were paying closer to 60% of what they should have, so that 100% that he quotes should have included making up for the earlier shortfalls. So either he wasn't paying close to 100% of what he should have or the number that he was using for 100% was way off.

So now we have David Cicilline admitting that he knew the system was a mess. If that's true, then why, during the last election cycle, when John Loughlin was sounding the alarms about the fiscal mess that Providence was, why did David Cicilline tell us

Fortunately, the strong fiscal health that Providence has maintained under Mayor Cicilline’s leadership...
Which is it? Did the city maintain strong fiscal health or did he know it was a mess? We're getting conflicting stories from Cicilline now. He's been so outed even indirectly by his own friend in Mayor Taveras that he finally has to come clean. But rather than taking that one on the chin, he passes the buck back to his old political nemesis Buddy Cianci.

Cicilline proves once again that he just doesn't get it. Spinning stories to fit the current narrative doesn't make him look very good. If the city was struggling due to cuts from the Assembly or due to anything else at all, that's fine, just say it. If the city is financially a mess, he should just explain it and do what he has to do. That's exactly what Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras have done and look at how people view them. The difference between them and Cicilline is startling and obvious. In the end, people want the truth. Unfortunately, that wasn't offered by David Cicilline.

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"The two sides put forward very different cost estimates for the new COLAs: Providence’s actuary, Buck Consultants, put the annual price tag at $22 million, while the unions pegged it at $750,000. Local 799′s Costa argued the city pension fund was “one of the wealthiest in the country” and could afford to pay them, according to The Journal."

"About 775 Providence retirees – roughly 27% of the city’s pensioners – currently get a 5% or 6% compounded COLA, including nearly half of police and fire personnel, according to the Taveras administration."

So Local 799 directly pushed for 5-6% compounding COLA pensions based on ridiculous cost estimates of just 3% of the actuarial accounting numbers. No lapse in ethical standards there.

Pay attention, Local 799 members - it's time for a math lesson. This affects your future.

Doubling time for periodic compounding growth is calculated according to the following equation:
T = ln(2)/ln(1+r)

So for a COLA (r) of 0.06, doubling time T = 11.90 years.

Assume retirement on a 50k pension in 1992 at the average firefighter retirement age of 47.

1992 - $50,000/year (Age 47)
2004 - $100,000/year (Age 59)
2012 - $160,350/year (Age 67 - present value)
2016 - $200,000/year (Age 71)
2028 - $400,000/year (Age 83)
2040 - $800,000/year (Age 95)
2043 - $1 million/year (Age 98.4)

So you never again have to wonder why there is no money left - your union gave away the store in the early 90's to your predecessors and it was only a matter of time before the entire pyramid came crashing down, just like a Ponzi scheme. Don't believe it? You're arguing with math.

I know your union leadership has been spreading this propaganda that everything would have been fine if the city had just made it's contributions, but we have just demonstrated mathematically that this is false. Over the next 20-30 years this problem would not only get worse - the costs would skyrocket exponentially out of control. That's not hyperbole, by the way, exponential growth is the correct mathematic term for this type of function.

Posted by: Dan at February 22, 2012 10:02 AM


Sorry to piss you off but I'm going to. Here's an off subject story. Seems like a 67 yr. old male was beaten to death in CA because the Berkeley police were covering an idiot Fleabag occupy event. Still admiring their energy???

BERKELEY (KCBS) — Berkeley Police acknowledge they didn’t immediately respond to a call in the hills that would eventually result in a homicide this past Saturday.

Officers were preparing for an Occupy protest headed to UC Berkeley from Oakland and said it didn’t appear to be an emergency.

Neighbors in the area of Grizzly Peak Blvd. and Park Gate Road said that the police response to the call was slow.

Posted by: ANTHONY at February 22, 2012 10:08 AM

Ponzi scheme. Don't believe it? You're arguing with math.
Posted by Dan at February 22, 2012 10:02 AM

Progressives argue with math every time they open their mouths.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at February 22, 2012 1:24 PM

Assume retirement on a 50k pension in 1992 at the average firefighter retirement age of 47.

1992 - $50,000/year (Age 47)
2004 - $100,000/year (Age 59)
2012 - $160,350/year (Age 67 - present value)
2016 - $200,000/year (Age 71)
2028 - $400,000/year (Age 83)
2040 - $800,000/year (Age 95)
2043 - $1 million/year (Age 98.4)
Posted by Dan at February 22, 2012 10:02 AM

Then you have the 27 year old who becomes (The Heavy Hitter To The Rescue) "disabled" and starts collecting 50K per year:
By 75 he or his survivor (including alleged gay "partners" make $800,00-a year.
By age 87-$1.6 million-a year.
By age 99-$3.2 million-a year.
Plus Blue Cross (no medicare needed) which by then will be around 500K per year.
All for a contribution from the employee of maybe 25K.
Gentleman, the above is progressive mathematics `at work.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at February 22, 2012 1:33 PM

Don't forget who paid for the Heavy Hitter's law degree at the diploma mill in Bristol - the RI taxpayers. Why RI police officers need free or subsidized law degrees remains a mystery, beyond the automatic pay raises that come with it and the obvious problem of what to do after earl retirement. At least 95% of a legal curriculum has nothing to do with any skills a police officer would need on the job.

Posted by: Dan at February 22, 2012 2:12 PM

Just and FYI, law degrees are no longer included in the state's incentive program. The incentive program as it is called, is designed to raise the education of police officers and has been around for over thirty years yet we're still hiring with high school diplomas as minimum required education. Only one department I know of requires a bachelor degree at hiring. Someone should do those numbers to see the cost to city and towns.

Posted by: Max D at February 22, 2012 6:24 PM

Thanks for the info, Max. I do like to be accurate, and these internal programs are kept fairly opaque to members of the public. I can support continuing education and career training, but training somebody for a completely separate career at taxpayer expense makes no sense to me.

Posted by: Dan at February 22, 2012 7:14 PM
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