An otherwise-superb L.A. Times story posted online Saturday — “Salary ‘spiking’ drains public pension funds, analysis finds” – includes this flat assertion: “Government jobs historically have been a tough sell because of the modest salaries they often provide; one incentive for prospective workers was the generous pension that came with being a cop or a county planner.” This is crap. This is 10,000 percent crap. I have lived in California since 1990, and, with the exception of law enforcement, I defy anyone to show me any evidence that any state or local government agency in California has truly struggled to fill a job in that 22-year span.
So to the Times’ reporters whose bylines are on the story — Catherine Saillant, Maloy Moore and Doug Smith — I say, where’s the beef? Where’s the proof? Where is any evidence at all for your claim?
Don’t expect them to respond. Because they can’t. It’s a myth.
I wouldn’t be surprised if an editor stuck this in, though — to provide “context.”
Here’s some context.
Here’s more, something I wrote back in 2008:
The statistical evidence is overwhelming that except for police officers, public employee turnover is tiny compared with the private sector.
That certainly reflects everything I have seen in 20 years covering and writing about city, county and state governments. When times are good and pay hikes are granted, next to no one leaves. When times are bad and pay hikes are limited or pay is frozen, next to no one leaves.
Why? Because public employees have better pay and benefits, more paid leave and much more job security on average than private employees. Between the urban myth about the need for ever-rising pay and benefits for public employees and the political clout of public employee unions, government workers have made out very well in recent decades.
This has been obvious to students of Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 30 years. Someone please break it to the members of the L.A. Times’ state government bureau that they’re peddling utter lies.