ASSOCIATION OF PORTSMOUTH TAXPAYERS TO PUSH FOR PENSION REFORM

ASSOCIATION OF PORTSMOUTH TAXPAYERS TO PUSH FOR PENSION REFORM

PORTSMOUTH – The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers (APT) will be sending letters to city and government officials requesting information on public employee pensions in order to study how these compare to private sector pensions. For example, how much did a public employee put into the pension system and what return are they receiving. “It is good practice for public officials to provide this information so taxpayers are aware of what they are paying for – particularly when big disparities between the public and private sectors exist.” stated APT President Mark Brighton.

According to Steven Greenhut, director of the Pacific Research Institute Journalism Center regarding California public pensions, in an interview linked to on the APT site, www.PortsmouthTaxpayers.com, “The public is getting angry because we see the disparity… they are also seeing depleted public services having to be cut back… these are essentially millionaires’ pensions for public employees because those in the private sector would need to have millions of dollars in the bank to have an equivalent pension,”. APT President Mark Brighton stated  “Reaching an understanding of how public pensions compare to private sector ones is becoming a critical issue in many places.”.

The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocating for Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s community: its taxpayers and all residents. APT believes that tightly controlled spending is necessary – regardless of current economic conditions – to keep Portsmouth affordable, reduce waste, and deliver better value to its taxpayers.

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PORTSMOUTH PENSION’S – Pension Reform Needed Now


Steven Greenhut Discusses California Government Pensions
 - “The public is getting angry because we see the disparity…… they are also seeing depleted public services having to be cut back….. These are essentially millionaires’ pensions for public employees because those in the private sector would need to have millions of dollars in the bank to have an equivilant pension.”  Steven Greenhut 

Click HERE for the contribution rates public employees put into the NH pension system.

 

Click HERE for 2010 Portsmouth pensions. HERE for 2011 Pensions.

Top 20 Portsmouth pensioners HERE

Continue reading

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All APT endorsed candidates won the election including Mary Olea for School Board.

- APT endorsed candidates gained votes while the majority of candidates who voted to raise spending lost votes. Jack Thorsen took the APT tax pledge and was the biggest gainer in the race.
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ASSOCIATION OF PORTSMOUTH TAXPAYERS ENDORSES MARY OLEA FOR SCHOOL BOARD SEEKS ‘MORE EFFICIENT BALANCE BETWEEN FUNDING AND RESULTS’

PORTSMOUTH – The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers (APT) has endorsed Mary Olea for School Board in next week’s City-wide election, citing her unique world-experience, strong academic background, passion for serving Portsmouth residents, and “her interest in balancing a more fiscally responsible approach to Portsmouth’s education system with better results,” the latter being of particular concern to APT according to APT President Mark Brighton. Brighton stated:

“After careful consideration we feel Mary Olea deserves our vote. We urge Portsmouth residents to support her in next Tuesday’s election: Mary is committed to helping provide transparency and accountability on our City’s School Board.”
APT has expressed concerns with respect to the School Board’s budget. The organization wants to support candidates that will “help Portsmouth residents understand how our tax dollars are being spent: why the cost of education in Portsmouth keeps rising while our city’s students continue falling below state standards and how that disparity can be corrected” according to Brighton. The organization would like to see a reversal in each of those trends.
Brighton explained that the organization is making education one of its top priorities and that it will play an active role in coming weeks through the state’s “Right-to-Know” law in asking city officials to help clarify what is causing expenditures to go up while results continue to fall below acceptable standards.

APT is impressed with Olea: Brighton describes her candidacy as “a unique opportunity to help elect a candidate with unparalleled experience to the Portsmouth School Board.” Brighton explained APT members felt Olea’s breadth of experience in education, especially her work in higher education in diverse settings, could bring a fresh perspective and creative-thinking to Portsmouth’s School Board: “APT members feel Olea’s experience can bring some outside-the-box thinking to the process – which is what we need to move out of the idea that spending more money automatically translates into better results; the evidence is ample that this has not worked in Portsmouth.”

Olea is a professor of Russian and American literature and composition, as well as introduction to music at American Military University. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and a Masters from Stanford University with additional graduate work from University of California, Georgetown University, and Cambridge University. During her time in California she served as a School Board Trustee.

APT is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocating for Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s community: its taxpayers and all residents. APT believes that tightly controlled spending is necessary – regardless of current economic conditions – to keep Portsmouth affordable, reduce waste, and deliver better value to its taxpayers.

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APT CANDIDATES for City Council – APT ENCOURAGES “BULLET-VOTING”

ASSOCIATION OF PORTSMOUTH TAXPAYERS ENDORSES CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL
ENCOURAGES “BULLET-VOTING”

PORTSMOUTH – The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers (APT) has endorsed Jack Thorsen, Esther Kennedy, Anthony CovielloEric Spear for City Council and Mary Olea  for School Board in the upcoming election. Not only is APT encouraging Portsmouth residents to support these candidates: it is urging voters to “bullet-vote” for these four candidates exclusively, despite the option of voting for at least five more in a contest of 10 candidates vying for nine seats. Send council a message – reverse unsustainable budgets and lower our taxes. APT President Mark Brighton stated:

“We are encouraging Portsmouth residents to vote for Jack Thorsen, the only candidate that had the courage to sign our Tax Pledge, and three others based on their voting record. Given our city’s unsustainable budget, we are urging everyone to send a clear message to City Hall that we can only afford to support those willing to provide urgently needed tax relief, transparency, and accountability to our citizens.”

Brighton urges Portsmouth residents to consider the escalating cost of living in the City and how difficult it has become for average-income families to live here:

“In the last 15 years the councilor controlled budget has increased at more than double the rate of local inflation since 1995 – dramatically increasing property taxes despite a decline in Portsmouth’s population. This is hurting families who struggle to pay bills in an economy where so many struggle to find work.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth is becoming too cost-prohibitive, even for those who are working hard to sustain their families. Finally, the combined water and sewer rate has doubled in the last four years adding crushing expenses for families.”

The APT has kept painstaking track of key tax spending councilor votes and posted councilors’ records online at PortsmouthTaxpayers.com.

The Association’s endorsements are based on what the organization has identified as its key priorities. In addition to transparency and affordability for its residents, the organization is concerned with Portsmouth’s ability to provide better and more efficient education, services and safety, fairly paid city employees, schools that meet and exceed state standards, and a school system that allows us to keep the best teachers.

The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocating for Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s community: its taxpayers and all residents. APT believes that tightly controlled spending is necessary – regardless of current economic conditions – to keep Portsmouth affordable, reduce waste, and deliver better value to its taxpayers.

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APT Efficient Government Scorecard : VOTE Tues. November 8, 2011, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m

The APT has endorsed Jack Thorsen, Esther Kennedy, Anthony Coviello and Eric Spear for City Council.  For the School Board  the APT endorses Mary Olea. We are encouraging BULLET VOTING.

PRESS RELEASEHerald Oct 28 2011 Article, Portsmouth Patch Article, APT Olea Press Release

Sample Ballot with referendum preventing THIS type of event in the future.

The Ward 2 is moved to the North Church Parish House (355 Spinney Road and off Middle Road) due to the Middle School renovation.

 

 

PDF version with source links Council Voting Record   *Mr. Coviello and Mr. Hetjmanek tell the APT that they voted….. more HERE **

Click HERE for Tax Pledge

Since June 2010, the APT has been tracking the Portsmouth city council on selected votes that directly affect taxes Continue reading

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Increase in Police Pay not cited by City Management

The APT does it’s best to correct inaccurate city data, to keep local government honest and to provide credible sourced information for the public.

1) A new Portsmouth Patrolmans Union contract [Accessed Sept. 14, 2011, contract vanished from city site Sept. 28, 2011] was attempted to be jammed through with days notice to the public (contracts are held from public examination until a contract is released by city management according to city protocol). The APT successfully petitioned for more time until Sept. 19th 2011 for citizens  to understand the contract – See HERE). Sept. 19th 2011 this new Patrolmans contract was voted down 5-4.

2) The Portsmouth Patrolmans Union contract expired in 2008, however often occurring automatic raises (step raises) were still paid.  As of Sept. 25, 2011, the APT has found no evidence that step raises or other contract items were paid with any official council vote authorization. A letter to the city has been drafted seeking an explanation.

3) According to the September 13, 2011 Herald article HERE [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011], Police Chief Ferland said “the patrol officers received no pay increases in fiscal years 2009 through 2011″. However, a simple check with their base pay in the online budgets shows his statement to be incorrect. Clearly, the officers have received pay increases during this time period.

LOOK at the officers’ BUDGETED pay below. (Please note that their true gross pay paid by the city is often much higher than budgeted pay (also known as base pay). Go HERE to see the 2010 gross wages paid. [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]). In public union speak these raises in pay are called STEPS – in the private sector we call these automatic raises.

No matter what you call it, their pay has increased.

WIDERSTROM, E. FY09 $44,434 in FY11 $48,478
KOZLOWSKI, A. FY09 $45,873 in FY11 $48,478
MERCER, N. FY09 $45,873 in FY11 $48,478
RAIZES, C FY09 $47,737 in FY11 $48,492
BESON, E FY09 $44,434 in FY11 $48,478
JACQUES, D. FY09 $47,404 in FY11 $48,492
GOODWIN, A. FY09 $47,737 in FY11 $48,679
DUBOIS, W. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,392
MEYER, C. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
MCCAIN, T. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
KEAVENY, D. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
LUKACZ, R FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
KIBERD, C. FY09 $49,056 in FY11 $49,690
KINSMAN, E. FY09 $49,061 in FY11 $49,690
JONES, R. FY09 $49,434 in FY11 $49,690
NOURY,J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
EVANS,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
BOUCHER FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
PEARL,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
WASSOUF,A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
STUDY,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $50,321
SHELDON, P. FY09 $50,321 in FY11 $50,321
LECLAIR,M. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
STACY, A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
OUTHOUSE, D. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
MUNSON, R. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
AUBIN, J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $63,442 (MADE Ranking Officer)
MALONEY, M. FY09 $51,640 in FY11 $68,093 (MADE Ranking Officer)
CUMMINGS, C. FY09 $51,783 in FY11 $63,993 (MADE Ranking Officer)
BLACK, T. FY09 $52,930 in FY11 $54,700
WEBB, R. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
BENTZ, E. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
HESTER, M. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
KOTSONIS, M. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
PERACCHI JR, J. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
CASHMAN, T. FY09 $54,129 in FY11 $54,886
HESTER, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
COLBY, D FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
NEWPORT, M. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
SIRR, K. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $64,593 (MADE Ranking Officer)
ROGERS-BERNIER, K. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
ROTH, C. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $63,614
GRELLA, T. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
BRABAZON, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
WILLIAMS, G. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *

SOURCES: http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/finance/fy09/police.pdf  p. 151-152 AND http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/finance/fy11/police.pdf  p. 163 [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]

So, this clearly demonstrates that EVERY officer received a pay raise in the form of automatic pay raises unions call steps or by being made to a ranking officer. The only officer who’s pay was lower than budgeted pay was NOURY, J – who appears not to have worked a full year. This is not explained in budgets. NOURY, J is listed for FY12 budgeted pay at $52,055 –  another raise from FY11′s of $49,690.

Now, lets go over the * officers. These officers were, in FY09, at the top of their pay grade. In other words, they do not get any more automatic raises as patrol officers. However, let us take a look at the something many citizens are unaware of many of our city employees. They can make far more than what their base pay is. This is accomplished by many of the goodies provided in contracts.

So let’s go over the officers with the * and see how they made far more more money than their base pay. You can find the total amount paid to them by the city here for 2010 YTD.
LUKACZ, R FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $61,205.97
NOURY,J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $40,469.38
EVANS,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $59,652.87
BOUCHER FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $74,343.28
PEARL,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $64,665.63
WASSOUF,A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $56,043.97
HESTER, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $63,973.61
COLBY, D FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $66,722.20
NEWPORT, M. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $99,002.41
GRELLA, T. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $68,196.17
BRABAZON, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $85,016.19
WILLIAMS, G. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $101,278.84

For the source of the figures above for 2010 YTD, see HERE. [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]

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Letter to Mayor Ferrini – CONTRACT JAMMING for Patrolmans Contract

Letter to Mayor – Police Contract

 

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APT Monitoring Progress of Insurance Swap Savings

Health care swap would save Portsmouth $1.1M – Letter to City Council, John Bohenko requesting progress update August 3, 2011

Herald Coverage (Aug. 6, 2011) on APT Monitoring Local Government

Response Dated August 10, 2011 (3 pages below or see Letter to Mark Brighton – Insurance Response Aug 10, 2011)

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Big Picture-Sewer & Water Rates Skyrocket

Sewer and Water Rates Skyrocket well over inflation. City Manager Bohenko stated that savings in the city general fund will not be used to lower water rates Continue reading

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