Oct 25, 2012|
Massachusetts State Senator Mike Knapik joined us to talk about the recent decision by Massachusetts Court that taxpayers in the Commonwealth are required to pay public employees in Suffolk County to keep their offices open on Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day. Howie was outraged and wanted to know what we can do about this.
Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.
Joining us now yeah the on the WRKO line is senator Mike and Africa Westfield. And you may have seen the story in The Herald yesterday. The city of Revere is one of the series is in Suffolk County. There's the force cities in most towns in South Africa there's Boston -- Chelsea this Winthrop and there's root -- And so of course they were covered under the Suffolk County only holidays so was the city of Somerville and knobs in. Middlesex County. And a couple of years ago. The legislature finally finally decided. To get rid of the hacked by high hack holidays of evacuation day which is releasing Patrick's day. And Bunker Hill day which is really an excuse for the acts to take off day between Memorial Day and the fourth of July. These these holidays originally only good in Suffolk County the only county and Suffolk County in the eighties the state unions began in outside. A Suffolk County began asking for floating days and they got so anyway. 2010 finally. You know what they what the does so mommy the Tea Party tsunami approaching even Beacon Hill. The -- of politics. They that the legislature finally abolished the two holidays. But of course they didn't really abolished politics. So let's let's let's bring in senator Mike -- topic who was one of the leaders in the fight to abolish holidays and he can fill you wanna know what happened senator can -- good to have you. -- -- cars show. Good good. Which pirate ship in -- and as I said my column yesterday it's like a horror movie the hack holidays the wouldn't buy. That that vampire -- to let. You know which I I think in good conscience we try to do the right thing. You know we we did make some modifications for ensuring then. Other benefits structure as an industry just stick out and -- always felt like -- You know or thought what are some sort of private sector so by eliminating. -- holiday is statutes. -- we always expected that it would have been an aggressive. Movement to get them out up here. And so that is not -- and a -- about you gonna answer it. Is these offices open. The public service for -- So what so what happened here is that the city of Revere one of those for a separate county -- municipalities. Went into court. And they said that it is that it was this was a state unfunded mandate which is banned under state law and fund that means you can't. That means this this state can't order cities and towns. To do something unless they provide the money for the cities and towns to do something so Revere said while we can't we can't. You know -- -- a abrogate our contracts and that we need to and we have to pay overtime. To force these people to come and because it's a holiday so. They they were showing basically for a right to continue the holidays and also all for 40000 dollars in. Overtime pay that they claim they had to pay Al hacks at city hall and Revere. And they want. We are -- -- this is different query every. Like fighters taxpayer products -- -- there ought to call the legislator -- I -- not an option. I know we're not supposed to abrogate contracts and -- with heavy arm of law may. -- Shots out of the at a cheaper or mail yesterday -- its size you know any legislator in the 21 century about well. After -- these army and -- -- recession we act. That you justify holidays anymore because back in the -- taxpayer in the face over all or act. That's I got back up for the -- spokesperson in populist Iraq -- negotiated amount liars. Yeah I read who that's good unemployed that's a step for art direction -- first coach -- so -- is -- everything colored wires all. This particular generation her. It's accurate I don't know why we don't just stop and the facts say. Enough they'll -- or about January -- Next here in. An oddity negotiating. Sector jobs in exchange for the -- -- management always sells -- -- the agencies of government to go and parents say that the legislature sends a message. Our resolve -- after 5060 years. Yeah we're sitting here. How it or thought you know -- can work this out early haven't done that in. -- haven't -- much sport where our collective bargaining process to find out what exactly in the city where they're -- To negotiate it or not. I'm sure they. I'm sure they did nothing bad about the union lawyers I came in there and said look -- this is an unfunded mandate. Mayor -- Rizzo -- going to court I'll bet to win the case. And you're you know. It's just you know this this is -- -- I mean as I said my column yesterday this and I remember when premier had clam inspectors on the payroll I think they may still have -- inspectors on the payroll. This is also one of the first places senator can happen but that that figured out the scam of closing the City Hall. On Fridays it known claiming that they he had stayed open enough for a half an extra couple of hours on the on some weeknight you know. It's really dogged so everybody in -- gets a long weekend but it's not enough to get along weekend they need that they need these two extra three day weekends basically. I don't know where that's the other shot -- -- -- legislature for awhile you know maybe a little longer to go through three recessions. I don't know where the public sector continues to bank. Yeah they can roll which taxpayers the way that they do I I hope nobody out there laughing at at this latest. Iteration because of the directing -- out there you know they're in our article put -- notice that is going to be a pretty -- 2004. -- yet yet communities after -- that's been out of work and so that's -- get the governor and unveil I think that's supplemental budget next week. It's -- force some final -- problems which are serious. -- -- They're talking about fifty million and that's that's a drop in the bucket for what it's really going to be and you and I know it and everybody who thinks about it those you know -- I I have no doubt there's this will clearly -- -- I think some governor. After exceptional here at the local Ottawa used to come. Yet we got around with these out all of their their act nowadays that the public private sector it's nothing. Like this benefit structure and we get a lot of the other holiday it would have. In the public sector that people the private sector don't yet your your your Columbus days. How about hate -- about patriots day. I mean that's just sort that's a sort of -- holiday. You know I mean that's it's I don't tell it that's one hack holidays that crosses the state line up to Maine because Maine used to be part of Massachusetts. But -- -- people in the private sector get get off patriots that eight. I've heard about for Republicans got it I think order if the legislators some. Somebody ammunition -- As they try to make some reforms and changes. In government in LA area that's that's the house members are talking about this in the absence of that you've ever shot outside. By former colleague senator Lieberman is it wide spread over a two decades in the legislature career. You don't make it change it since it do anticipate that we will have a big changes. That's discouraging it's it's it's not funny it's. Well I don't know but you you know that. You have to know that we you know when when you guys got the vote through when everybody was happy all the taxpayers were happy. And you wore on and you know everybody would that the people were trying to push through war on the show. You know with these these hacks were chuckling that knowing that something like this was they have up their sleeves in the organ a -- and I was asked. You know America in retrospect sure it and I equate apple wouldn't violate another start this years ago. I don't think we knew how edit in the for acts. That they are but but again you know -- we have no money. There is no money left in the treasure we can -- edit the ills we have -- without a hundred million dollars or health -- freshest local -- fractures. Public safety pressures and that's why I'm glad you tell me how anybody can even stand. With a serious -- that. -- makes sense any longer and you know we ever it's a contract on me then I would not recommend that lightly at all. But you know it's you know it's it's Harper's -- -- taxpayers -- our lives. It's not clear cut examples and these two outdated holiday I don't know what is so. One if you wanna talk to our -- Napa we're gonna just will park for who wouldn't for a couple more minutes more gonna spend all our on the split. Yeah you know what senator mountain. Can Africa I I realized something was wrong here back and I remember in the eighties you know it used to just be Suffolk County but then the union started figured out. Well wait a second. How come the members in the membership in in Suffolk County get the days off but the memberships. Outside of Suffolk County in Somerville don't get the days off so you know as a matter of equity. They started putting in the east floating holidays. And -- -- and then when you guys abolished -- -- my understanding is up most of the most of the the unions then got got these floating holidays everybody ended up with a floating holiday and so of course you know they didn't come in a lot of them didn't come to work on Bunker -- day or. Or evacuation day anyway even after it was decommissioned as a war. But they were still they were still taken these extra -- to floating holidays. What if you know what I advocate or are -- -- got a little -- right here. -- -- -- -- A my local colleges where you -- all the you've talked about this yeah aren't accurate about what a forward -- at -- I had no idea -- was one of those you've got to be kidding me oriented candidate for sure out. It's a -- of our -- -- -- interpret it in the public sector at UN LUN. And the text elusive but -- ended in back yards and a lot of -- goes. You know in the public sector I am a public employee after all we try to be fair he'll be empathetic and there. But these -- you know and so are its outrageous. Right. At the expecting fourth but you know. I'm sure David currently you know David Bartley you know when he probably first went there was the guy from Holyoke before it became the speaker in the became the head Holyoke community college when he probably went to -- To Boston in 1963 I'm sure it never heard about those two holidays many said the -- said this is great and then when I come back to -- with. When I come back to 413 area caught -- bringing these babies Whitman. And then the -- Holyoke community college Chatham and then you know again it's Brad it's just like it spread like like kudzu. You know and then it spread to Westfield State College from there. Parents -- epic its export employee who works -- quietly. Public agency. And she did indicate that it's taken them away. With an equality in this particular body public. Structures so that they've got different hours stand. Agencies through different hours and yet what the government so that was -- that was good note and all of the individuals that I want colonies back. That's -- that's what it becomes an EI I know I got constituents who have been very critical of me for. Sticking up for the taxpayers in this regard. But you know I think in the public sector and folks. I think agreed that between the wages and a job security and health insurance. It's a pretty good deal elsewhere -- we're -- want or or it's still a good feel right at the offensive toward extreme. Poker and the architect. Yeah you know and and there are there are some yeah you're right there are some agencies that stay open I believe the registry of motor vehicles which again I used -- a lot of fun going there with my TV camera and and watching these people try to get in I think the registry of motor vehicles as it was now even before 2010 was open. I know that bill Galvin the secretary of state. You know who oversees all most of the the registries of the Eads and and probate he's ordered -- his agency he's ordered his registries to -- to remain open because of the because of just how preposterous these holidays are. But you know the thing as most people -- I used to call the city of Boston to that was another thing -- -- -- lot of fun with this over the years. But you know in terms of covering -- I used to call the city of Boston and say what's you know where are you gonna be. Open on non mine on Monday now. Why you closed. I don't know. I don't they did not know when no one knew what a vacuum where Asian day it was no one even the -- bunker held by ones and by the way bunker nobody's senator -- epic. It's not it's -- -- it's not what we call it by its real name which is breeds hill and the reality is. You know I I know was a pyrrhic victory for the British but technically we lost the battle we lost the hill we had to run toward the American troops had to run away from the old. Yeah well why is about why it's why is a lost battle Soledad. Why did you know I didn't watch the debate although I like Terry -- I tell you it's over those stories and goes or not what you're used to do without their in boxes and you're you're about oh era to look at -- and thought I was -- little or. -- now. I don't know almost. -- -- -- when -- a little boy though you know you make it sound like you know I was I was with the the you know Lewis and Clark crossing over the Missouri River. What Robert your next with how we -- senator Mike an epic go ahead. Sanctions they elect all summer -- and opportunity I think maybe just sort of trend for the rest the country. I'm out of state law that says under no circumstances. In -- employees earn more money retired. And as high as they amount although it was working. Well a lot of or it is for example some of the settlers. Near your taxes 80% of earnings. Young is that you know anybody who fits under the -- and under that category Robert. I'm just so more power you you've done that's the number of times where they. Rhetorical one day and then they go into another thing -- -- it it was a personal quoted neighbors let alone boats. What are episode the third on an actual wind up putting more money than their highest literary books. But it wouldn't actually strapped in -- answered privacy very well aware. Excessive -- and -- several 100000 dollar range so. We now have a maximum sanction. In above that you're you're responsible for. Early early investments and a defined contribution plans so that was one of the positive changes in -- for the people who track as somebody. The other acts they are certainly things we did. Still in the last I would. I know what you -- and the Robert I mean that's like one of the Bulger sons Patrick all jerky he he worked at the at the MBTA and put in his appointees three or whatever -- years. Back in the days when you could only work 23 years and get a full pension. He he he retired in his forties and now he's working for the Probation Department that theoretically he's working on a on another I I would think another pension. -- now. That's that the yup that's lead but you don't your rights of American topic that you know they the the not nobody as you know nobody in the private sector has a as -- defined benefit pension anymore. And that's I mean that's such an advantage and in health helped cause such a lot of people still have health insurance but it costs a lot more. -- in in -- people many fewer people have a than they use than they used to. Mean that did this the public the public sector gets so many benefits and then the and then to have this. This common that this this thing it's it was it was like spitting in the face of of of everybody. You know -- we believe that we struggled to keep what's what was there is for the benefit structure in place and it is a good deal on it I happily and you know. We get it all goes asunder when these two items come up among others. You know some of this special deals are now applauding a lot of whatever works were available. I think -- individual engineers are now caught and that's -- but it took a Great Recession for those changes to honor long overdue. I think every two hours come back here. An appropriate -- about it a week before holing those still a bit of justice. Light reflects the -- -- golf. I'm like what -- we -- we are a lot acres we have these wants the ball. Somebody somebody says but the one BP W has Lafayette day off every you may 21 I didn't know that. I've seen I I've seen the used to put in the legislate they put an -- they used somebody used to put in a bill every year to make John F Kennedy's birthday. A state holiday and see what would've done is that's right around the memorial base that would be given everybody in the state level. A four day weekend it's out of a three day weekend. Already know in some public contracts not state but in some cities around. They get people's birthdays paid off. The estate they at the Boston school committee the secretary's. And they're union contract used to get offers shopping day for Christmas. It's Joseph your next with how we car and senator Mike -- -- go ahead Joseph. A -- you're the lunar error I think -- would be you can sort of any idea as to what goes -- unique contract negotiations. State does not from being out eight. What they want we get an extra day off because they don't pay it's union wages or -- wage or normal. -- spiritual or great weight is that they got normal people into commonwealth. What you may or. What are what are -- He. Used to joke this is this is outdated rhetoric you know -- not know ordered not. You'll look at the we're separate statement or yet again or any outside people that we know more or less money you but I'll tell you did you have. -- -- I am now Joseph Joseph. I don't think that number one I don't think that's true but numbered so even if it is true you get a better health plan. And you get a bet you've got an -- you -- idea of a pension at the end of lying nobody nobody in the private sector gets a pension anymore. We don't see it back in 1998 to go all over. -- -- -- template that states no. -- -- -- Everybody has negotiated. Things end up most of the private sector unions have lost all these things you. You mean you can't tell me you won't work it's all bad joke -- do you wanna go into a private sector. -- -- what I wouldn't. Make it out this day here's the thing though there aren't -- jobs are there. Iraq. Don't and he public and why are you taking it that there are all -- -- -- I like Corretja for the pictures. Well -- but -- actress or any port eight. Point -- -- seven days a week sold at -- so listen I -- -- want to always shall listen -- if there's no there's no. Comparable job. In the private sector to working in a veteran's hospital is there. Preview Harris and you -- -- -- I don't properties and the 100000 dollar senior. -- did you can't not watch you can't quite dispersed back in your insight won't hear that actually. If you could if you could take 250000. A year Joseph worker for the Edison you ought to take the job. -- -- Current and a weaker and that they -- that record. You know -- I represent parts that secure editorial disagree about 11% unemployment. And so what people in this case. We try to balance the public sector that's our resources about. Balance the public sector -- rationale for the benefit structures and wages and and also pay wages don't ask me as a legislator and it's it's -- -- To justify -- special interest holidays that the governor oh by the way the governor signed in green -- Sixty years ago. Is that how much of a joke it's time that it's really it's simple -- there's a lot of dedicated public employees like -- being to retire once. I -- that would it's not about. People in the public sector vs private sector in the work ethic and look at this without that balance notion about what's right for the taxpayers and if there are. And public holidays. If I find anybody in the private sector eighteen public. Not I remember talking talking to some guy at an Austin City Hall was getting some kind of big he'd gone from the jobs from a regular job union type jobs to the City Council. And he got a big pay when he when he went over like 20000. I so why should you get 20000 when you got a pay raise to become a City Council he said we don't that was negotiated -- back guy in the days when when we didn't get as much money as people in the private sector. I said. That was thirty years -- gulf for that that may have been true thirty years ago it's not true now that the the the public sector has. Has flourished as the private sector has when all the way. -- and this is just another insult. Or that's the struggle that we have opportunity in our public sector no electoral registry office as well why there's no oversight in Medicaid. Wonder why we're not against -- but EDT -- It's -- because the cost of the structure of government. Has exceeded the ability of people panic or your taxes that you know about how the slumping will be very old -- already started at its aren't. -- if you're out you've got your point you gotta hear time and act as if you don't have a job but -- still a quarter million people ask that you. Don't have a job. Ordered million we have created new jobs in our state. Over six years the jobs numbers. Are not as positive as it is seeking -- has the balls all day up only eight states went up last week. We will -- vote. We are concerned about what's going forward -- We are talking about you know these these two holidays rising from the attic and and and its opening I don't wanna -- my constituents. Well we've got to preserve these two holidays that nobody else yet. Because the courts that we do or because the legislature. Couldn't get it done right the first time and that's what we shouldn't be even having a discussion about it. Yeah gosh what will -- won't -- call -- -- -- -- senator gosh you're next with how we car. Holly. -- it a -- is something no vote always had thoughts about. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And -- -- -- -- upon. On the plan C to the but sibling you know put the thirty years and if there's some words. That and jingles are for a 160 years. Well just think about it. The person lives of -- -- 75 in the mix next person takes over 60% well what -- -- it was 80% and they lived through that. They can't they can't pass on to anybody sorts -- I mean you're not a very. Excuse me on the playing great and the plants it was I don't think they can pass on to anybody that's for the spouses and it. It's the spot -- -- -- -- solely in once the -- through trial. -- -- in a factory you know when he locks are retired police Algiers. You get a reduced tension -- a lot of it you -- you know pitcher maximum. Right I mean -- there's some crazy stuff the bingo I mean in the past I mean like there there were confederate widows believe it or not I think until very recently were collecting 'cause that you know there are they were. They were married at twenty to some guy was a hundred years old and they they collected his these at least these confederate pensions for for a long time but that's. But doesn't happen that doesn't happen very are. Record your every state pensions only -- about 24000 dollars. Suppose I'll wire ones that are exorbitant over and I it's a public employees of which increase or more and more. At colleges in the healthcare facilities about -- every state employee pension. About 20000. Average private sector pensions about twelve dollars that they do get Social Security. Is one of the differences. You don't know if another thing just one more thing Mike before that you go but I mean another thing is via. Is these people walking way that that had agencies with all this quote unquote unused sick time. Remembered command. The guy Tom Kent at and -- or he walked. And the other was one last week one of these housing authorities the guy walked away with 800000. Dollars. In a so called unused vacation and sick. That's absurd -- But national while volume area. You know so there's plenty of work should be -- effort -- balance in the public sector and you know again I mean I think for new employees coming here and job is certainly not as attractive as it once was and probably shouldn't be attractive for the taxpayers. I'm obviously a lot of those things are so embedded all that is for these commissions these agency as in others in its fundamental structural changes. All about balance balance that with the private sector is that -- -- and -- -- -- salaries health care benefits and pensions that we've got to be able to just. Okay US and American epic Hedlund wanna be to have you talked about Irish brogue but I didn't ask him do that. You don't do -- -- you don't do that on the radio. That. I can't say as I blame -- who. Ought to ought to be our state after state parade integrate -- and. -- -- -- Okay he's thanks senator can map a 18774694322. I'm now we are.