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St. Louis Firefighters' Pension Argument Fails Bullshit Detector

Categories: Community, Media
chris molitor.jpg
Chris Molitor: You've been annotated!
Earlier this week Chris Molitor, president of the firefighters' union Local 73, wrote a guest commentary in the Post-Dispatch criticizing Mayor Francis Slay's push to reform the firefighters' pension. The pension, btw, now accounts for a third of the fire department's total budget, has more than tripled in costs since 2007 (to $24 million annually) and is expected to rise another 30 percent next year to $31.4 million.

Something about Molitor's article (its truthiness, you might say) struck us here at Daily RFT, so we decided to run it through the ol' Bullshit Detector (TM). Below is what the machine spat out, with the italic sections containing dubious statements from Molitor and the underlined text offering an explanation of the inaccuracies and/or distortions.

Molitor's titled his piece "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely." It read:

St. Louis firefighters understand the challenges our city faces. We agree that changes must be made to the Firemen's Retirement System to ensure it is affordable, sustainable and continues to provide fire fighters with the retirement income they have earned and deserve.

In fact, firefighters already have agreed to proposals by St. Louis aldermen to alter the pension calculation for new hires and to make essential changes to the way disability is awarded. [How could they not when the Post-Dispatch caught them red-handed defrauding the system?] These substantive reforms will save the city of St. Louis about $7.6 million next year alone. [The fire union's proposal, crafted by Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, is awaiting an actuarial study to support those envisioned savings, though would still provide $1.5 million less savings next year than the plan Mayor Francis Slay proposed.]

That's how government is supposed to work: two sides coming together [means to say: "the union and their political allies at the expense of the taxpayer"] developing solutions and making real reforms that work for everyone. But St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay seems to have taken his lessons from Washington, D.C., [note: empty political rhetoric] on how to stonewall and prevent anything from getting done. [Fact: The union has had Slay's proposal since December and immediately began to criticize the proposal.]

He is holding up the reforms [actually, it's members of the Board of Aldermen who are keeping Slay's bill from advancing] while he tries to strong-arm everyone, waging a relentless campaign [question: Who's supposed to handle this if not the mayor?] to gain total control over the Firemen's Retirement System. [Fact: The mayor's proposal calls for the pension to have a board of trustees made up of a majority of firefighters.]

Under the current system, any pension benefit change must begin with enabling legislation from the state Legislature. [Implied meaning: The union wants to keep the pension under state control in hopes of curtailing any drastic changes.] It then goes to the Board of Aldermen and has to be signed by the mayor before it is enacted.

Mayor Slay wants to eliminate those important checks and balances. He wants all the power to control the entire fund and spend the money as he sees fit. [Scare tactic: The pension money could only be used for firefighters' retirement under the mayor's proposal.] This blatant power grab might have Wall Street financial planners salivating [red herring alert!] but it is unfair and it must be checked.

Firefighting is not the career to choose if you seek fame and fortune. If that's what you're looking for, you might try politics. [Means to say: "I'm rubber, you're glue."] It is tough but rewarding work. And, for too many of my colleagues, exposing our bodies to dangerous, traumatic and physically demanding situations and carcinogenic fumes means our careers won't be long. [St. Louis police work is arguably much more dangerous than firefighting. Since 1990, sixteen St. Louis police officers have died in the line of duty compared to three firefighters during that same time. Yet the police pension is less lucrative and less costly to the department's overall payroll. Moreover, while 48 percent of firefighters retire with some kind of disability (often fraudulently), just 11 percent of police officers retire due to a disability.]

The Firemen's Pension Fund is deferred income from firefighter paychecks matched with employer contributions. St. Louis firefighters do not collect Social Security, so our pensions represent all of what we will have at retirement. [Omission: Firefighters get all their annual pension payments returned to them as a lump-sum payment upon retirement -- a cash gift that can approach six figures -- and something Social Security could never, ever afford. In addition, retirees receive monthly checks paying them 75 percent of their average wage as a firefighter.] Pensions are what's promised to this city's fire fighters after they have given their all to the citizens. They should not be used like a stack of political poker chips [implication: Slay will take the pension money to the boats, just you wait and see!] for the mayor.

Mayor Slay already has spent more than $250,000 of city money on a private law firm he hired to provide legal advice and counseling to strip firefighters of their current pensions. [Omission: The city hired Thompson Coburn through its competitive bidding process and argues that spending $250,000 to save a potential $60 million in the long run is well worth the cost.] This firm last year contributed $40,000 to the mayor's reelection campaign. [Omission: Thompson Coburn also contributed to Lewis Reed's campaign last year.] Firefighters and aldermen repeatedly have asked the mayor for a copy of that legal opinion for review, but, so far, he has refused to provide it. [Omission: Slay's office has offered to hold a hearing with Lewis Reed to discuss the legal arguments but scheduling conflicts (with both sides blaming each other for sabotaging the meeting) have kept it from happening.]

The time has come for the political games to stop.

The members of Local 73 already have worked with the aldermen to develop reforms that address the pension issue. [Clarification: Those reforms maintain all the lucrative perks current firefighters enjoy while denying future hires a ticket aboard the same gravy train.] We have tried to work with Mayor Slay. [See everything above.] And, while we are offering to make important changes, the mayor will not be satisfied until all the power to control the pension fund rests in his hands. [Translation: Slay must think he's God or something!] The mayor's plan is a recipe for corruption. [What is it now???]

No politician -- no matter how popular, no matter how many times he has been elected -- should be entrusted with that level of power. If we abandon the checks and balances [none of which actually exist, but hey!] that must remain in place, the potential for abuse will be enormous -- today and long after Mayor Slay leaves City Hall. Because, as the old saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. [Note: So refreshing to use that saying for once when not referring to Local 73!]

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69 comments
Linus9
Linus9

real talker-  after listening to you rant, i have one thing to say.   if your property is on fire, or you have some kind on medical emergency, DO NOT dial 911!   pick up the yellow pages and find some private entity to come and help you.   otherwise, youre just a hypocrite.

Proud FF
Proud FF

St. Louis should keep its promisesBy Daniel G. Tobben05/05/2010

Politicians in St. Louis city government appear to be in denial about the causes of police and firefighters' pension funding issues. Contrary to what city officials have been promoting in the news media, the allegedly generous benefits provided for in the St. Louis police and firefighter pensions are not causing the city's budget problems.

In much of the news coverage, the city is presented as if it voluntarily passed a $140 million bond issue and then asked the citizens of St. Louis to raise their sales tax to maintain the pension funds after a prior market downturn.

The truth is that in 2007 the city was ordered by the Missouri Supreme Court to fully fund police and firefighter pensions in accordance with applicable state laws and city ordinances. That court decision caused the most recent bond issue. The sales tax increase was necessary, in large part, to create a revenue stream to pay off these bonds.

The lawsuits were filed in 2003 by the Firemen's Retirement System and the Police Retirement System. The trial court, the court of appeals and Missouri Supreme Court (11 judges in all) ruled unanimously against the city, which would seem to reflect negatively upon the wisdom of the city's decision to underfund these retirement systems during a time of relative prosperity.

In addition, the city spent very large sums on legal fees and countless hours in court attempting to justify its bad decision to cut its contribution to the pension funds, using the money required to fund pensions to pay for pet projects that the city found more attractive or politically expedient. Had the city just paid what it owed, millions of tax dollars could have been saved.

The Supreme Court noted that full funding by the city may create the need for some difficult budgeting decisions, but that didn't create a legal or constitutional issue. Consider what would happen if the city decided to stiff its bondholders. That is the more appropriate analogy to the city's position with respect to funding its public pensions than those positions advocated by city officials.

All of the city's legal posturing resulted in the Supreme Court's holding that these retirement benefits and their full funding are guaranteed by state law and ordinances and any reduction of existing retirees' benefits is probably unconstitutional. A promise made must be a promise kept.

This is not about new benefits for fire and police personnel; it is about paying for existing benefits. In fact, no new pension-related benefits have been granted since 2003.

Police officers and firefighters provide the most fundamental service a city can provide. They keep you safe. A stable public safety pension fund is one of the most important considerations in recruiting new members of the police and fire departments. These brave men and women put themselves in harm's way every day to protect city residents, businesses and organizations. In return, they ask for a reasonable pension when they are too old to do the intense physical work their job entails or when they are seriously injured on the job.

Firefighters and police officers do not qualify for Social Security because they have a government pension, so their pensions are all that they have when they retire. Firefighters have no health care coverage when they leave the job. They can stay in a city-sponsored program, but it costs more than $1,430 per month, which eats up much of the average firefighter's pension. Since firefighters usually retire in their mid- to late 50s, they struggle with health care costs until they are eligible for Medicare.

One can imagine how important a stable pension must be to a young recruit before making a decision to join the city's police or fire department. Would you take a low-paid, dangerous job if you were not offered the incentive of a guaranteed pension with strong disability benefits?

The city's budget crisis was not caused by public safety pensions.

And it is fundamentally important that the city continue to be served by dedicated police officers and firefighters who serve honorably and with distinction.

Daniel G. Tobben is a partner and the head of litigation at Danna McKitrick, P.C. He represents The Firemen's Retirement System of St. Louis as outside legal and trial counsel.

Plmokn
Plmokn

While this article and comments are old, I feel it's worth noting why fire depts commonly work "only" two or three 24-hour shifts a week. The body needs 24-48 hours to rid of carbon monoxide build-up, so enough time must be given to prevent firefighters from flat out dying. For the relatively few people who believe money is far more important than any life, it would be far more expensive to constantly re-fill positions IF you can find people not smart enough to realize they would be lemmings.

Fuck-suburbs
Fuck-suburbs

I am a St. Louis resident and I DO support the civil servants that work to protect us citizens in  this sometimes crazy city. That being said I have zero respect for any sellouts that continue to pander to the missurah pronouncing rural fucksticks in Jeff city. I mean seriously, do you honestly think that these chicken fucking rubes give two shits about you and your benefits? Bullshit, all these tractor driving noodling sibling buggering hillbillies are attempting to do is tear the city down a little bit further by keeping the position of mayor a weak ass figurehead with their bullshit pro confederate racist diarrhea. Here is the way shit works in cities that are not controlled by their outstate hayseed constituency; the mayor is the chief executive. He does a good job and he gets re elected. He stinks up the place and he gets voted the fuck out of office. No one can really rate how Slay is as a mayor because he has NO FUCKING CONTROL. All thanks to a bunch of beverly hillbillies motherfuckers that want to keep our city weak and ineffectual and their useful idiot public servants here who are obviously just stupid enough to not know how they are being used. For all of those who want to keep the office of Mayor a title with about as much power as the queen of England, face it, you are sucking these deliverence cast member missurah legislators and they are cumming in your mouths every time one of you morons makes another case of how mean the big bad mayors office is to you. Open your fucking eyes while you still have a city to put out fires for you self serving fools.

guest
guest

this is a complete piece of crap.  i usually like your stuff, but this is just childish bullshit.

guest
guest

The money could only be used for fire fighters pension.  But Slay has already taken money out of it  to pay his lawyers on this battle.  Violation of what the money is for.  RFT you should be ashamed of yourself for this very prejudice writing! 

Vitaghs
Vitaghs

no one deserves a pension like that our economy can't sustain it - never has been able to.they make plenty of money go away unions

Batman
Batman

I am a STLFD firefighter/paramedic also born and raised in this city...

The Mayors office is yelling the sky is falling because of pensions...but they are not being held accountable for their own failures to save the city money elsewhere. The city has given tax break after tax break to industries, businesses, and sports teams ie: the non-existant ballpark village. The city has spent tax payer money on ridiculous city improvements, painting fire hydrants, fancy brick cross walks on riverview, antique looking lighting on streets which already have functional street lights, building "gated" communities along vandeventer (btw half are already damaged from cars hitting them and they haven't been repaired), I could go on and on.

 How about the 28 alderman positions we have, when other comparable cities have half that number. People have been talking about how firefighters are robbing the city working 9-10 days a month. The Board of Aldermen has 28 alderman positions each of which gets paid $37,000/yr plus a $4200 expense fund, plus medical benefits, retirement perks, aids, etc.. Not bad for a part-time job. When you point fingers remember there are always 3 more pointing back at you.

The FRS (Firemens Retirement System) has given the Board of Alderman a plan to fix the disability pension benefit along with other savings which are close to what they asked for. However the city also keeps raising the amount they want the FRS to save them.

 I think we are missing the bigger picture the Mayor's office doesn't want to work to with the pension to cut costs. The Mayors office wants control of and to stop paying into the pension, which by the way is against the law. (they did this for many years and cost the taxpayers more money because they lost and had to pay their share 49+ million).

The Mayors office has shown its true colors and waged a kind of war against the cities own firefighters. I find it interesting alot of people have jumped on this band wagon against firefighters. When the citizens of this city call 911 you want the STLFD there to help you, save your life, your home/business. and keep you safe.  WE put our lives on the line away from our families so that we can save YOURS. I love my career as a city firefighter, I could apply to the county and make more money but I don't because I love this city good or bad.

I would dare you to find a better Fire Department anywhere around here.  This is not a job the anyone can do. To the critics of firefighters I say you should  becareful what you wish for. If you strip away our benefits and begin hurting our families the firefighters you want and need working here will leave. This department will become a stepping stone for alot of firefighters to leave and go to other fire departments for cities that actually like their firefighters.  I still cannot believe that anyone would say the things I have seen on here.

This guy Chad talks about FACTs....ok Chad here is a  FACT: Obviously you have never done the job, probably never dealt with death/dying everyday, gone into a burning building, delivered a baby in the back of an astro van in below freezing weather, had to tell someones family their loved one has died and there is nothing you can do about it, seen children suffering/die from horrible car accidents or street violence...ok here is a FACT: Your a political puppet of the Mayors office.  You want to criticize us for our benefits I challenge you to stop hiding behind your computer and visit a firehouse in the city and tell them they have too many benefits...Better yet if/when you see a firefighter helping you out tell them your views...

To everyone else don't believe the hype, go talk to firefighters in the city, make your OWN opinion and don't listen to this BS blog. 

To see the other side check out http://stlfdpension.com/StlFD_...

Thank you and God bless.

Diana
Diana

Talking about firefighters being thieves is a joke when you look at what city employees make. The aldermen vote raises for themselves and make more than the firefighters and literally do nothing. Half of them never show up to vote. Do you know that the small city of St.Louis has more aldermen than New York City and Chicago? If the city needs to save money because Slay and his lackeys have bankrupted it, start with reducing staff such as aldermen and the dead weight at city hall. Would you put your life on the line for a complete stranger? You couldn't pay me enough to run into a burning building to save your sorry butt however they do without hesitation. Maybe they do not work hard ever minute they are at work however when they do it more than makes up for the down time.

Diana
Diana

Why is it that no one will post that the legislature in Jeff City is supporting the firefighters... The firefighters may be full of shit but the mayor and his team are out and out liars!!!

SorryILikeMyWindows
SorryILikeMyWindows

When are Liberals going to realize THIS IS A SYSTEMIC PROBLEM WITH ALMOST ALL UNIONS??All they care about is themselves!!!  And don't even get me started on Right-to-Work...  They can have all the little union groups they want but how in the *#@% do they get off trying to make non-union people pay into their groups with no choice?? People should have the ability to choose for themselves!  And don't even give me the "we drive up wages" so you should pay us BS.  Unions also "help" plenty of businesses to fail or drive them away due to much higher than needed and often times intolerable cost and in many cases lower productivity! Can you say STL Audio Visual Unions?  I've been to trade shows as a very small struggling company and I have to pay some union guy $45/hr just to plug in equipment most any child could?? And then they try to make people who simply want to choose whether to be in a union look bad for fighting against that??  That's just F'd up!  

J n S
J n S

Deleted. Can't we post without showing everyone our email and info on here?

Galen Scott Taylor
Galen Scott Taylor

Way to go Chad Garrison and RFT. Way to join the fight! Your Bullshit Detector should have picked up on your paper. How long did you spend researching this before rushing it to print Chad? Were you given your info? If you aren't in attendance at these meetings where NEGOTIATIONS are supposed to take place, then what place do you have writing on it? You seem to think WE (current active Fire Fighters) are defrauding the disability system? Oh and then you say that we only asked for changes when we were exposed as frauds? Surely you're not the idiot you paint yourself as being in this article. Almost funny. We have been attempting these changes since I have been on the job. We don't put our bodies in harms way either, huh? Well tell that to the guy that took a couple of shots at us on St. Louis Avenue and Union just a couple of months ago while we were treating a medical patient. We dont like the title Hero and prefer that you keep the recognition for good deeds. In the mean time, we'll continue to do our jobs well. How bout you all try improving.

Greg Redmond
Greg Redmond

I am a Captain in the StLFD, as well as a paramedic, a Hazardous Materials technician, et al. This week I spent 3 days of my own time- and money for books, travel etc- to get certified by the State of MO as a Fire Officer. Last week, I and two of my guys spent our own money on our off day to learn more about fighting high rise fires so that we can protect the citizens and property of St Louis as effectively as possible. Last month I spent 3 days of my own time- and money for texts, etc- to get certified by the State as a Fire Instructor. While at work, in addition responding to emergencies I train, and get trained, on all of the various pieces of equipment that come with the job including HazMat. I do formal and informal preplans on various buildings that more than likely won't ever have a major fire but I expect myself and my company to be fully prepared to do so in the most efficient and effective way possible.Of course, we install smoke detectors in homes to help protect those citizens as well. I write reports, fill out training logs, study Department Policy, manage firefighters, read industry related journals, debrief and discuss incidents with my company, and sometimes I watch television. Others in the Fire Department train in Confined Space rescue, Swift Water rescue, High Angle rescue, Urban Search and Rescue, among many other technical specialties. We also buy nearly all of our amenities, from coffee to cable TV to televisions to chairs (Chad, I dare you to use your Bullshit Detector on this one). Frequently we have to buy our own soap and paper towels. Yes, our schedule allows us to get varying amounts of sleep on shift. That very schedule allows the City and its Citizens to employ- and pay- fewer Firefighters.

And for years, many of us have been very unhappy with the number of those going off on disability.Many of us appreciate the work that the P-D that exposed the issues further. Shame on us for not doing something sooner, however Mr Garrison should have acknowledged that there is already a bill in Jeff City that addresses that issue.  

I am very resentful that the Mayor and his Staff, esp Mr Rainford, take all of my hard work for granted. Actually, if they just took it for granted that would be a huge improvement over the complete disdain Rainford, Conway, et al have shown my fellow Firefighters and my profession.

I recognize that the above does not address whether or not Captain Molitor's comments were accurate or not. What I'm concerned with is that your column furthers the perception that we are just a bunch of lazy freeloaders and the pension is just a boondoggle. In my case, I would need to retire at 67 years old to receive the full benefit of the pension as it stands. I am also paid less as a Captain with 14 years of service- 1 1/2 at my current rank- than many of my County firefighter brothers of a lower rank with less years of service. I currently buy insurance for my daughter privately because the City plan would cost me significantly more. That pension is part of my compensation. Nothing more, nothing less. It makes some of the above disparities tolerable.

Maybe the Pension System needs tweaking, maybe it needs overhauling, more than likely it needs something in between. What it doesn't need is the RFT jumping on Rainford's fraud bandwagon. 

How about you give your own column the Bullshit Detector test, Chad?

RealTalker
RealTalker

I have always been a Democrat but support for public sector unions is a HUGE problem for the Democratic party.  

Out-of-control public benefit programs are what DESTROYED Greece, and unfortunately the Democrats are the ones who get behind these programs, in the guise of looking out for the "little guy".  However the problem is that a lot of greedy "little guys" can inflict a lot of financial damage and pull scams that Bernie Madoff would be proud of.

All Democrats out there need to be aware of the damage that the public sector is inflicting on cities & states throughout the country.  Our party is destroying the future of America and we need to make some changes before we end up like Greece.

WhatCanBeDone
WhatCanBeDone

This is a blog, so I cant get to riled up about the yellow journalism used here but what is the overall purpose of line by line critiques?  

The RFT cries and cries when the PD poaches articles from the RFT, but its OK for RFT to poach from the PD?  Seems like the RFT has some growing up to do... which leads us the content of your blog post,  what is the point?  There really isn't any conclusion made at the end, so I am not sure your position.  

You mention bucket brigade and boys in blue in your comments below, so it seems you don't have much respect for the FD which is a shame.  They do what you are unable or unwilling to do.  They will carry you out of a burning house, pull you from a crashed car, treat your wounds from an injury and they will not ask your race, gender, your annual income, political affiliation.

These men and women are heroes.  I think that some of your commenter have forgotten (or really never knew) who heroes are.  Since I cant trust them to look it up, I will paste it:

Hero - noun

a man or woman distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility, fortitude, etc.

St Louis City Firefighters are heroes!  Like teachers and police, they deserve far more compensation then they receive.  

Let's promote discussion that doesn't de-fund heroes... how about we reduce the number of Alderman in St. Louis?  If we reduce the number to 14, the City would save $576,800 a year alone just from salary.  

Consider this... I mean really consider this..... it might actually make being a St. Louis Alderman a competitive position!  They might actually campaign and state their political opinions and not just be voted in just for the fact they have incumbent next to their name!  

What can be done?

Tough Love
Tough Love

No surprises here ...

Collective bargaining should be outlawed.

Public Sector Unions are a CANCER on Society.

FireThief
FireThief

Thank god the liberal RFT is coming out against the public sector scam.  I am a liberal Democrat and I'm embarrassed that the party I've been supporting is the one who is behind public sector scams like this.  

People need to realize that what's happening in the public sector -- not just here but all over the country -- is a huge giant scam . It's the EXACT same thing that has destroyed Greece, and it will destroy us too.  People wanting too much money for too little work.  

Take a look at this article about California being in big trouble for this exact reason:http://www.google.com/hostedne... 

Democrat voters need to acknowledge what their party is supporting.  It's the same story everywhere -- public sector unions make corrupt deals with corrupt politicians.  The politicians want the votes so they keep jacking the public sector pensions and benefits higher and higher.  Remember, it is taxpayer money that funds all of this.

Money that could be fixing our infrastructure, buying school textbooks, and really improving St. Louis is just going to insane pension payments for retirees.  These guys are guaranteed steady checks for the rest of their lives usually around 50k/yr.  It's insane.

RealTalker
RealTalker

The STLFD (St Louis FRAUD department) is the biggest, more destructive and disgusting scam in the city.  There is so much corruption with them along with public sector unions.   These guys are retiring in their 40s and collecting inflated pension benefits for the rest of their lives.

Of course, they scam the shit out of disability.  Did you know that 48% of retired firefighters are on disability.  Of course, only about 10%-15% are legit.  The rest claim disability because it allows them to make their pension benefits even HIGHER.  They're retiring in their 40s and 50s. collecting fat checks for the rest of their lives, and then working other jobs and making even more. Meanwhile the private sector suffers and other people can't even find jobs.

Let's not even get started on their "deferred compensation" scam, where upon retirement they get checks of several HUNDRED THOUSAND dollars.  There is no other department in the COUNTRY that does this, but somehow our firefighters think they're entitled to all this TAXPAYER money.

Remember, these guys spend 2 1/3 days per week at a firehouse and most of that is spent sitting around watching TV hanging with their buddies, surfing porn on the net etc.  And for that, they think they are entitled to retire in their 40's and 50's and cost on free TAXPAYER money for the rest of their lives.

Oh, I dare you to try and get a firefighter job in the city.  Unless your daddy knows people or you're well connected, you're not getting in. This is a well-protected little gravy train.

END THE FIREFIGHTER SCAMEND THE DEFFERED COMPENSATION SCAMEND PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS NOW

Danneaux
Danneaux

Actually thought the Riverfront Times would be the best source to expose the lies coming out of city hall, and instead see that they are jumping in line to bash the STLFD.  Many inacuracies, too many to mention.  Tone of the article starts nasty, and just gets nastier.  Just so you know, I am a firefighter in St. Louis and I am shortening my lifespan by 10 years to do this job.  I love doing what I do, but wish everyone could understand the big picture.  You think a pension system is unfair to the tax payer?  Paying us to scale costs far more.  And if you think that public safety is expensive, try not having any...  Or let's leave it up to city hall.  Nothing to make you feel so safe as knowing your police and fire protection will be contracted out to the lowest bidder!  RFT, I am so disappointed.

FireFighterSCAM
FireFighterSCAM

Give me a break.  The truth is that firefighters rarely respond to actual fires.  Carbon Monoxide is NOT a big problem.

The STLFD is one GIANT SCAM.  Everyone knows this.

Jordan H
Jordan H

I see the writer took time away from his important hard hitting pieces on margarita flavored beer and Playboy Playmates of North County to use his true investigative journalistic talents on something Chad Garrison knows nothing about.

Greg Redmond
Greg Redmond

you can post anonymously with the post as ... button. Just make sure the 'your name' box doesn't show anything you don't want people to see. 

Galen Scott Taylor
Galen Scott Taylor

Way to go Chad Garrison and RFT. Way to join the fight! Your Bullshit Detector should have picked up on your paper. How long did you spend researching this before rushing it to print Chad? Were you given your info? If you aren't in attendance at these meetings where NEGOTIATIONS are supposed to take place, then what place do you have writing on it? You seem to think WE (current active Fire Fighters) are defrauding the disability system? Oh and then you say that we only asked for changes when we were exposed as frauds? Surely you're not the idiot you paint yourself as being in this article. Almost funny. We have been attempting these changes since I have been on the job. We don't put our bodies in harms way either, huh? Well tell that to the guy that took a couple of shots at us on St. Louis Avenue and Union just a couple of months ago while we were treating a medical patient. We dont like the title Hero and prefer that you keep the recognition for good deeds. In the mean time, we'll continue to do our jobs well. How bout you all try improving.

RealTalker
RealTalker

Nothing you do is particularly difficult and it can all be done by any able-bodied male.  All that time and money you spend on those skills will probably be reimbursed to you, or will result in you being able to profit off it.

So what you get paid less than the county guys, those jobs are even more of a well-protected gravy train than the city jobs.  The vast majority of fire departments in the entire COUNTRY are corrupt scams.

Why do you need pension money to make your job "tolerable" ?  You "work" 2 1/3 days a week.  You get paid to have some time away from the wife and kids, hang out with your buddies, watch TV, and sleep.  Your job is a FREAKING VACATION compared to just about ALL other jobs.  Why the hell do you deserve free money for the rest of your life for doing that?  

So when you retire at 67, how much of a lump-sum payout are you going to get thanks to the deferred compensation scam you guys are running?  

RealTalker
RealTalker

No WAY firefighters are heroes, that is a FREAKING JOKE.   They're greedy, lazy, self-important parasites.  Their jobs are easy and require no skills coming in.  They have obtained their insane pensions and benefits through fraudulent means.  

Teachers and cops are also running a huge scam.  THE ENTIRE PUBLIC SECTOR is a disgusting scam.  This is EXACTLY how Greece went down...public sector greed.  Try reading the news once in a while.

It's time to get REAL people.  See through the "hero" BS and realize that our enemies are right in front of our faces, smiling as they rape the coffers dry.

WhatCanBeDone
WhatCanBeDone

Are you serious?  St. Louis Fraud Department?  You really think Firefighters are so villainous?

Do you personally know any firefighters?  I would suggest to go to a fire house and introduce yourself.  I wouldn't mention your hatred of them when you meet them, though it wouldn't faze them.  These are men and women are heroes who will protect your life and property regardless of your political leanings

Marine2fireman
Marine2fireman

Firefighters doNT agree with ANY fighter that gets disability do to fraud and yes there r changes needed and we are doing it and to dishonor fireman until you have pulled up on a house with a family hanging out the window and woman dropping her baby out the window to I as I climb to the Window are my coming up on a baby that's has drown in and sir I have served my country as a marine and now serve my city both I did willingly so if I would.like to have a city down so we may both get a better understanding of each other views to make a beetter st. Louis feel free I am at Anthony house 17 on A shift I want hide behind screen names

Tough Love
Tough Love

 Just to set the record straight.  the statement that firefighters die earlier has been dis-proven by the HUGE statistically credible data from CalPERS (by it's own actuary), with BOTH safety-worker and non-safety-worker retirees living to age 81 of average.  But you likely knew your statement was BS .. just more diversion from the need to reduce ALL Civil Servant pensions.

FYI, Firefighting could EASILY be contracted out for 1/2 to 2/3 of the current total compensation paid now ... and if the politicians had any guts (and weren't allow to accept your Union's bribe-money, called "contributions") they'd do it in a heartbeat.

FireThief
FireThief

Sorry, pensions may have made sense 50 years ago, but they make NO SENSE these days when people routinely live into their 80s.

Of course you love doing what you do.  IF I was sitting around with my buddies and getting a full salary and pension and scamming taxpayers would love whatever I did too.

There are a million people who would take your job for a LOT less.  

This scam needs to end NOW.

Karencorncna
Karencorncna

I would love to see you go visit a fire house and do a 24 hour shift, train what they do and try to pass all the tests they are put through, and then re-think what you are spewing out, my guess is YOU WONT MAKE IT, and it seems as though your so called hob is to sit on your ass and write bullshit, how much are you getting paid , my opinion TOO MUCH, your unintelligent, disrespectful so shut up !

Woodnut
Woodnut

I'm curious "Real Talker"....just when did the Fire Department turn you down for employment?....your venom is obviously a case of sour grapes....at any rate, I'm happy you were turned down....the FD only hires compassionate human beings...now get back to flipping burgers before you get fired....

Galen Scott Taylor
Galen Scott Taylor

The deferred comp plan is available to ALL City employees Realtalker (INCLUDING YOU). Why does deferred comp even get brought up? Thats available to ALL employees and consists of  putting their own money in the plan and having the "CITY" invest it (457 plan) similar to a 401K. So is the "Drop Plan"  You seem to put the two of those on Fire Fighters only. Why is that?

Tonitutka
Tonitutka

The day will come in your lifetime when you or someone you love could be in a house fire or serious car accident, who do you think you will be praying for to help?these men and women that you say are not heroes, they will be the ones there with the jaws of life. I am grateful the all the men and women who serve our cities and our nation and who put themselves in harms way to help others and you should be too!!

Galen Scott Taylor
Galen Scott Taylor

No Realtalker, we're NOT Heros. We're citizens as well as employees of the City of St. Louis doing the jobs we're paid to do. Greedy, Lazy, and Self Important.... We are NOT. With this slow growing economy we're experiencing along with your salary, I'm sure thousands more would be lined up to take YOUR job for half that pay as well. Maybe even do it better than YOU.

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

Police officers and firefighters deserve respect for the work they do, but to call them all heroes just diminishes the word 'hero' when used for someone who truly does go above and beyond expectations. Many firefighters have a side business that they are able to operate while still working for the fire dept. Often a lawn service, hanging drywall, tile laying, etc., they maintain these side businesses because they are enjoyable or lucrative or just like the change of pace - not to be confused with 'working two jobs to support a family', just fyi.

RealTalker
RealTalker

This has nothing to do with "political leanings" or politics at all.

This is about a bunch of crooks using fraudulent means to steal money.

We've been brainwashed into thinking that firefighters are heroic and underpaid.  But this is just a smokescreen.  These guys sit around for 90% of their "jobs" doing jack and expect to have the luxury of retiring in their 40s and 50s collecting free taxpayer money for life.  It is the biggest scam going around, as well as the disability, deferred compensation, and paid sick days.

Since they only work 2 1/3 days a week, they have plenty of time to work second jobs and earn MORE money on top of their salaries. 

All for a job that doesn't even require a college education or any skills coming in.  Do you know how many people would do this job just as well for a lot lot less?

And now these "heroes" are refusing to let go of their fraudulent benefit packages.  And because of that, St Louis roads and schools will further crumble, all because of the greed of the firefighters.

Who the hell in the private sector gets to retire in their early 50s and is guaranteed 50k/yr for life?  For spending 2 days a week at "work".  Are you kidding me?

Dick Jones
Dick Jones

Marine2fireman,  Man I really thank you for your years of service, but I think that there needs to be a basic reading and writing test to collect a pension from any job!!

Seems unlikely
Seems unlikely

Tough love, if you're setting the record straight, then you should probably provide a little more disclosure regarding Calpers actuarial studies. Your post implies that the study demonstrates zero difference in the life expectancy of firefighters versus the general public when in fact, it demonstrates no difference between ALL public safety workers and the general public. That means that the study group was diluted by thousands of corrections officers, police, probation and court employees. The reduced life expectancy of firefighters is the result of toxic exposure, not stress. Surely you wouldn't argue that smokers have the same life expectancy as the nonsmoking population, right?

Bob Morton
Bob Morton

FireThief, you sound like a hater, nothing more.  If you want to sit around and get paid to hang out with your buddys, then apply to the fire department.  What should we have the city do, just take away the pensions from the people that were depending on it their whole career?  These guys hung around to get their money in the end.  I'm more then sure that a lot of them would be more then happy to opt out of the pension to get paid like their county counterparts (70-80k yearly plus pensions).  City firefighters are paid 9 of 10 in salary in competing departments.  I'm not even a firefighter, but whats fair is fair, and only being fair to firefighters is to change it for new hires. That way they know what they are getting into, so they know what to get out of after they they realize there will not be a benefit to stay. Now, I also keep reading on these forums that there are people who would do the job for a lot less, well guess what, whatever you do, someone will do it for a lot less.  Police officer, someone will do it for a lot less, computer programmer, someone will do it for a lot less etc.  That's not a argument, that's emotion talking. 

KC
KC

Lol, my thoughts when I read all the posts, he waS DENIED ,probably even as a volunteer FF

Greg Redmond
Greg Redmond

I doubt RealTalker is who everyone thinks he is. RT has clearly confused Deferred Comp with the DROP (Deferred Retirement).

Anyway, it's not really worth my time responding to folks like RealTalker and FireThief et al. My issue is with the way Chad Garrison used this opportunity ... actually, it's the way he didn't use this opportunity to get real and accurate info out to his readers. Chad, I don't know if you consider yourself a journalist or not but you didn't do yourself proud.

RealTalker
RealTalker

If someone else will do my job for half my salary, then my company will hire them and I get laid off.  Simple as that.  That's called the free market.  I don't have a corrupt union protecting me, giving me ridiculous pensions & benefits that are obtained with fraud.  I'm not guaranteed free money for life.  I don't get paid to sleep like you do.

RealTalkerLite
RealTalkerLite

Firefighters work more than 9 days per month.  They work 17 hours one day, 7 hours the next, and then have a day off.  That averages 53 hours per week.  They work an average of 20 days per month by those numbers.

 

Corporate America works an average of 40 hours per week and gets overtime for anything over 40 hours.  Firefighters don't get overtime until they work 53 hours in a week.

 

It appears the RealTalker is full of real BS (and anger).

guest
guest

Excuse me, even if firefighters only work 9 days a month.  Thats 24 hours a day.  24x9=216 hours a month.  The average person only works 180 hours a month.

If you divide Mr. Taylor Salary by his hours he makes $10.19 an hour. 10 bucks an hour to run in a burning house, respond to car accidents, show up at shootings when the perp may still be there, and be exposed to chemicals and other carcinogens

RealTalker
RealTalker

Save me your pathetic pity party.  You work NINE days a month for that $2,200.  And MOST of that time is spent sitting around, watching TV and SLEEPING.  You should be damn thankful you even get that much.  And then you have another 21 days in that month to go work ANOTHER job and make MORE MONEY.  And then you get your scam pension on top of that.

No, I don't feel sorry for you.  No one does.  Stop your bullshit smokescreen.  You make a SHITLOAD of money for what little work you actually do, at your job that only requires a freaking high-school diploma (if that).

END THE FIREFIGHTER SCAM NOW.

Galen Scott Taylor
Galen Scott Taylor

I completely agree with your comment except for one tiny part. My 2,200.00 dollars a month hardly supports my family.

IDoNotWorkForSlay
IDoNotWorkForSlay

2 days -HEROES- a week?  Did you -HEROES- know that a firefighters -LIFESAVERS- work 24 hour -HEROES- shifts?  They aren't home with their families and are forced to live in a specific political area they -HEROES- are waiting for you to get into a -LIFESAVERS- car accident.  They wait so -HEROES- they are ready to slide down -LIFESAVERS- a pole and save your life.  How can you argue against that?

I took a cue from your book and capitalized the words I want you to read. 

Tough Love
Tough Love

He does write like quite an idiot .... I guess THIS is the "best & brightest" applicants they talk about ...  LOL

Bob Morton
Bob Morton

RealTalker, I have only one real question here, Does the city bare any responsibility here?  If your answer is no, then there is an inherent problem with your thought process with this issue of pensions.  I don't think that Local 73 has as much power as you might think first of all. Secondly, all of these changes to the pension were approved by previous city officials.  I'm going to bet that you're a all the way to the left liberal (which is fine).  I know you're a city lover, but let me tell you something about your precious city,  Harvard (yes, the esteemed ivy league school) teaches a class on how NOT to develop a city using St. Louis as their model.  St. Louis is cannibalizing it's self every decade, with no hope of recovery.  St. Louis city is a sinking ship with or without "public sector pensions." Rams are gone, I'm going to bet that AB will be the next major company to leave.  I do hope that all these public sectors take salaries increases from now on, instead of "deferred compensation" then we would even have this discussion. Lesson learned "public sector"   

RealTalker
RealTalker

You and your cronies will be exposed for the frauds that you are.  The public is waking up and removing the wool from their eyes.  

There is nothing to research.  This is an out and out criminal SCAM.

Bob Morton
Bob Morton

Good old RealTalker (Rainford), glad you're back.  I hope that the firefighters, police, and all city workers have learned from their mistakes and take the money in terms of their salaries, and run.  No more negotiating pension benefits.  Firefighters were promised these pension benefits in lieu of pay raises. Now here the city is stripping those benefits.  Did you feel this way before the post decided to run their bias stories, or did you always feel this way? "deferred compensation" as seems to be a hot topic on these forums, as I'm sure you know that all city employees are invited to join the CITY'S (not just firefighter) deferred compensation plan.  Because all of your previous comments from the post were completely informed, just like this one.  I'm glad to see you still haven't researched beyond the award winning writings of David Dunn.   

Tough Love
Tough Love

 Quoting ..." I'm not even a firefighter, but whats fair is fair, and only being fair to firefighters is to change it for new hires."

BS.  Pensions accrual for CURRENT workers need to be SIGNIFICANTLY reduced for Future Service .... just like what is BOTH legal and routinely done in Private Sector pensions plans.

YOU are deserving of no better ...on the Taxpayers' dime !

RealTalker
RealTalker

Wrong.  We have something called the free market in the private sector.  Those salaries are determined by supply and demand.  Companies have to be fiscally responsible otherwise they go under.

The public sector is different.  There is no free market.  Firefighters conspire to commit fraud through the public sector unions, who broker deals with the corrupt politicians to write checks that the city will not be able to cash.  They inflate their own salaries and pensions and other benefits.  They create the "deferred compensation" scam which awards them several hundred thousand dollars on retirement.  And it is all TAXPAYER MONEY, money that should go to making the city a better place to live is now paying off these firefighter scams.

NONE of this is deserved.  It is all created through the corrupt political process.  These are FALSE promises.  No one has earned anything, IT IS ALL A SCAM.

I love this city too much to let the firefighters destroy it.

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