PIO (Public Information Officer) gets lifetime benefits from fire agency

By Aaron Burgin

The San Diego Union-Tribune

April 19, 2012

Link: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/19/pio-vests-san-miguel-fire-agency/

Excerpts:

  • (San Miguel Fire District spokesman Leonard Villarreal ), 61, marks five years with the agency this month, meaning he is now vested to have taxpayer-funded health coverage for life.
  • Villarreal works part-time for San Miguel and part-time for the Otay Water District, which has had its own controversies over lifetime health benefits that taxpayer advocates see as overly generous.
  • “He’s been there five years, three of five he’s been part-time, yet he is full time on the books and vested for lifetime benefits,” said Victor Mosso, a resident who has voiced his concerns about the district’s financial situation at a number of board meetings. “That is a problem.”
  • San Miguel kept Villarreal while downgrading one of its busiest fire stations, freezing firefighting positions and reducing benefits across the board.

Commentary:

  • Public entities in the State of California have two financial tsunamis heading their way: [1] unfunded liability for pensions and [2] unfunded liability for retiree benefits (e.g. health, dental, other).  The latter is often ignored and only a few brave leaders have warned employees and constituents that the latter poses a serious threat to the financial solvency of many public entities.
  • ALL California taxpayers should inquire about whether this same outrageous and imprudent benefit is being provided to the employees of their county, city/town, fire district, water district, sewer district, hospital district, community services district, etc.
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