Monday, September 11, 2006

Police Enhancements of Police Pension Plans

Everyone knows of the sorry state of the Michigan economy. Not as well known, perhaps, is the sorry state of Michigan's public sector pension plans. City governments statewide made extravagant promises to their employees in the go-go 1990s, expecting the Federal Reserve's funny-money bull market's returns to last forever. Those plans now find themselves perilously underfunded.

The evidence is anecdotal, but it appears our public servants have found creative ways to enhance their revenue collection and retirement security. A couple of years back, I got a ticket for going the wrong way on a one-way street in Royal Oak. The street had been two-way just 10 days earlier, I was driving home from work and force of habit clearly had precipitated the infraction. The City's humane response to this long-time resident and taxpayer's faux pas? I was fined $115 on a reduced charge of impeding traffic.

Last month, I got a $20 ticket while vacationing in Lexington, the "Friendly Resort Town," for parking on a side street between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 a.m. The only signs advising motorists of this policy appear on the Highway 25 approach to the village, a good mile from where my car was parked. Needless to say, my pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears. I have friends who relate a similar experience in Traverse City.

We peons have to make sacrifices when we lose our jobs and retirement plans, but don't expect our donut-dunking royalty to do the same. They lay their lives on the line enforcing every technicality. Be careful out there.