I hope you’re as shocked and furious as I am. After months of horrible, continuous attacks on former Councilman Chuck Lowery for voting in raises for the Fire Department, Kern and Felien have voted yes on raises for police. Talk about hypocrites! This goes right along with them cutting the Fire Department’s two programs that were bringing in money to the city. More community services will have to be cut because of those two.
I saw the poorly prepared budget hearing on the 15th and Felien and Kern proclaimed there would be no more raises. This was a day before they gave this raise! I also heard the presentation on pensions for the Public Employees Retirement System, or PERS. You can also read it online on the city website at ci.oceanside.ca.us/datarelation.aspx?Content=448].
It was apparent those two thought there would be an easy solution to the pension issue by laying off workers or furloughing them. They even brought up two-tier pensions as a good way for the city to save money. They were wrong and looked dumbfounded and confused when the paid consultant told them none of those things would help fix the pension problem and it wouldn’t help with the budget problem either. So their solution is to give raises to the police?
Kern and Felien claim this only affects a few people but these are the highest paid individuals in the Police Department. What does this mean to the citizens of Oceanside? It means higher pension payouts and more money must be spent by the city to pay into PERS. Translation: more cuts to the services we love and want.
You’d think our former City Treasurer Felien would understand this but he obviously doesn’t. He said he went along with the “latest contract partly based on Kern’s recommendation.” Why is Felien such a hypocrite? Why isn’t he thinking for himself? He specifically said at the budget hearing there would be “no more raises” across the board. Everyone there heard it!
This contract may not sound like a big deal since according to Kern, “it affected so few people.” Well he’s wrong. It affects everyone in Oceanside who is looking at cuts to our libraries and other city services like our pools, parks, resource centers, senior center and at-risk youth programs. Much more will have to be paid into PERS to cover these higher salaries with less for the quality of life and health programs any good city should have.
Kern also said it wouldn’t be fair to the other employees who already got raises previously. Does this mean all the rest of the employees with pending contracts are going to get raises too? These are the same of folks who make the least amount of money in Oceanside. So let’s make sure managers get their raises but the heck with the little guy? Where in the world is Kern’s and Felien’s common sense and decency?
I can’t stand liars and hypocrites. How about you? Kern’s and Felien’s vote for raises means fewer services for everyone in Oceanside. Disgusting. Shouldn’t our council members be truth tellers and figure out ways to protect our kids, our seniors, military veterans and our at-risk youth? They told us they would stop the pension crisis. It’s obvious they don’t care about us and never will. You had better think twice next time you vote and do not vote for people you like. Vote for those who like and respect you!
Mandy Barre is an Oceanside resident.