Hermosa Beach Police Chief Defends $100,000 Union Meter Maids

Mike Shedlock

No price of labor is too high if you are a supporter of public unions. Here is a case in point: In Hermosa Beach California, Police Chief Steve Johnson and Councilman Howard Fishman defended $100,000 meter maid positions on the grounds “When you outsource, you take away union jobs.”

Note that meter maid positions do not require much more than the ability to drive a standard transmission car and have a high school diploma.

Please consider Hermosa Beach Meter Maids Make Nearly $100K

When contemplating the many reasons cities in California and elsewhere are venturing closer to bankruptcy, look no further than the relatively lucrative and often-unjustifiable salaries bestowed on municipal employees – and the lofty pension benefits attached to the high pay.

One of the latest examples comes from the California coastal city of Hermosa Beach, where some community service staffers who collect money from parking meters and manage their operations – positions once widely known as “meter maids” – are making nearly $100,000 a year in total compensation, according to city documents.

There are 10 parking enforcement employees for the 1.3-square-mile beach city southwest of downtown Los Angeles, and they pull down some disproportionate compensation, considering their job functions. In fact, the two highest-earning employees for fiscal year 2011-12 are estimated to have made more than $92,000 and $93,000, respectively, according to city documents provided by Patrick “Kit” Bobko, one of five council members and who also serves as mayor pro tem. Those two have supervisory roles. The other eight parking-enforcement employees make from $67,367 to $84,267 in total compensation.

Bobko also wrote in a memo that the retirement costs for these 10 employees “from [fiscal year 2011-12] through their retirement age at 62 was nearly $1.6 million, and the medical costs for these employees from this fiscal year to their retirement at age 62 would be $1,353,827.”

Excluding salaries, the [retirement] contributions and medical costs for the 10 employees performing parking enforcement will cost, on average, nearly $300,000 apiece.”

Aside from the personnel costs, there has been criticism from Hermosa Beach Treasurer David Cohn that parking meter operations have been mismanaged. Cohn cited nonfunctioning parking meters, a backlog in disputed parking tickets and problems with the accounting for revenue.

Bobko is pushing a plan to outsource the city’s parking enforcement operations, which he says will save money, reduce maintenance costs, relieve the city of accounting functions related to parking enforcement, increase efficiency and, perhaps most importantly, increase revenue and “reduce the city’s pension and salary obligations.”

There has been opposition to the outsourcing proposal from Hermosa Beach’s Police Chief Steve Johnson and Councilman Howard Fishman. Both expressed concerns about letting go full-time city staff. Bobko accurately characterized the resistance: “When you outsource, you take away union jobs.”

As I have said repeatedly, the goal of public unions is to little or no work for enormous sums of money at taxpayer expense.

In these trying times, one might think that public union supporters would back off of ludicrous demands, at least a tiny bit.

However, statements by union nutcase supporters like Police Chief Steve Johnson and Councilman Howard Fishman show the only solution is the complete elimination of public unions.

If that sounds harsh, please note that even FDR would agree.

Message From FDR

Inquiring minds are reading snips from a Letter from FDR Regarding Collective Bargaining of Public Unions written August 16, 1937.

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.

A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.

Musical Tribute to Meter Maids

In "honor" of the asinine position of Police Chief Steve Johnson, who deserves to have his entire staff outsourced as happened in Camden (see Camden NJ, Population 77,344 Fires Entire Police Force, 270 Officers; Why Cities are Going Bankrupt), I offer this musical tribute by the Beatles.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock