Union pacts not root of town's fiscal trouble
For one thing, union compensation is not at the core of of Fairfield's fiscal problems. Bad financial decisions, bad zoning and bad operational management is at the core of the town's fiscal problems, and it has come from all parties in all forms. Going after the pay and benefits of the front line, before fixing Fairfield's ridiculous governance problems, would be, by itself, just more bad management.
I would certainly like to see some changes with regard to union work rules and employee health retirement benefits in the contracts, but most everything else is quite reasonable for the work expected, if not the work delivered because of lax management, of town employees. We have a pension-funding problem right now because the town lost $15 million in investment money and $42 million on paper -- and both Republicans and Democrats share the blame on Madoff investment losses.
Few people from the rabid right seem to want to acknowledge that the union pension plan is an employee contributory plan, which had worked quite well for taxpayers until Fairfield decided to be the only greedy municipality in the world to invest with Madoff. And further, with few exceptions, Republicans on the RTM for the last decade have voted almost unanimously to ratify all of the union contracts now in place with nary a word from the Republicans on the Board of Selectmen or the Board of Finance.
I am writing this before the election, and I have no clue how the election will run its course. As promised, I am voting for none of the above for both Board of Selectman and Board of Finance because none of the candidates ever botehered to squarely address the core of the town's fiscal problems and how to fix them. I will vote for the Republicans from my RTM district, District 1, who will sefve without any compensation because they are, for the most part, reasonable people who will work to keep the elected executives on the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance in line.
One thing I have noticed is that this rabid right anti-union mentality is coming from people who would appear to have little experience working with front-line employees represented by a bargaining unit. I have worked with such employees, and they do a great job. The first thing Fairfield needs to fix is its bureaucratic management governance problems. The last thing it needs to do is squeeze money out of the front line when Fairfield's elected management, no matter who wins, is the screwed up mess that it is