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Huckleberries Online

Wed., April 10, 2013, 9:28 a.m.

Vestal: Spiking public safety pensions hurt poor kids most

 The firefighters and city governments who gamed the system – and the taxpayers – for massive extra pension payments have cost the state more than the extra million bucks or so they’ll collect in retirement.

They’ve dumped gasoline on the fire that is blistering the foundation of public life in Washington – scorching our sense of common cause. They’ve legitimized arguments that have undercut every recent effort at public investment in this state. As Washingtonians snip ever more holes in the social safety net and withdraw ever more good will from the bank of faith in government, we will have this kind of thing, in part, to thank for where we end up.They stuck it to all of us, and not just financially. Shawn Vestal, SR

Read the three-day series on public pensions in Washington state at Baker detailed the cases of three retired Lakewood fire department managers who received retirement-eve pay raises that drove up their lifetime pension payments by more than $1,000 a month.

Two of them received salary boosts of $20,000 four days before they retired.

Is it human nature to take advantage of the system like this when you know you can get away with it?


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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.