Archive for June, 2012

Stockton California

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

June 26, 2012

Stockton California is set to declare bankruptcy. What can Memphis learn from this profligate city? Stockton is a city of 300,000 in northern California. Stockton got caught in a morass of debt because of high retiree costs for


Investigation of PILOTS

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

June 21, 2012

I have been investigating past PILOTS (the payment in lieu of tax program) and trying to follow up on past ending dates to see if when the PILOT ended, did the City and the County get the promised higher taxes. This has proved to be very difficult to gather this information and it should be the subject of a public report run hopefully by the County Trustee’s office. But I will give it a shot. I (more…)

Two Great Reasons For Reform

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

June 14, 2012

In the last week we have had two glaring examples of the need for reform of our local pension systems for public employees. Those in the most need are the City of Memphis and the MLGW.

  • Example 1 is Roland McElrath moving from the City of Memphis to the MLGW. He will be receiving his City of Memphis pension while he also collects his MLGW salary.
  • Example 2 is Larry Cox at the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority who will be retiring from his salary of $325,000 per year, collecting a onetime payment of $527,000 and an annual pension of $175,000.

Now both of these employees are probably good and competent people who have earned their salaries. However compare them to private sector (more…)

Pilot Report From The Shelby County Trustee

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

June 11, 2012

As the search for tax money rages on, we have seen the City Council ignore the obvious sources of cost reduction, excess benefits (vacations, sick days, personal days, holidays) and retiree health care costs for those eligible for Medicare. They have kicked the can down the road until next year.

There is another big hole in the money bucket and that is the PILOT program. I have attached the October 31, 2011 introductory letter to the (more…)

Gaming The System

Friday, June 8th, 2012

June 8, 2012

I looked at the MLGW Pension Board Agenda yesterday and saw on the agenda the statement that Roland McElrath was moving from the City of Memphis to the MLGW. I contacted a member of the City Council and he said that he knew nothing about this move.

No doubt you read the CA article this morning and if this does not make your (more…)

Comparisons! Public Versus Public Versus Private Sectors

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

June 6, 2012

Recently I published a comparison report on line and in a Letter to the Editor of the Commercial Appeal. This information brought forth the following email to various MLGW people.

Let me say up front that I think the MLGW management and employees do a good job. My research is intended to inform the taxpaying public of the comparison of certain statistics about pensions, health care costs and benefits of public versus private employees. This is a national issue as seen by the Wisconsin vote yesterday and by yesterday’s vote at the City Council.

My figures come from public information (pension, OPEB and CAFR reports) and also from information provided by open records requests. I also asked all (more…)