So far so good, right? Well, except that the County Representatives, at every contract negotiation (and I was involved as a principal in at least 20 years worth), brought up the fact that, while pay raises may not actually meet the cost of living increases (see a pattern here?), county employees (when retired) receive LIFETIME MEDICAL BENEFITS!! True, the emphasis and punctuation are mine, but the essential facts are just the essential facts. The county promised to provide medical benefits for the retirees and their dependents. It was such a draw that it was a major factor in my personal decision to leave employment with the City of
Here’s the punch line. I’ve been notified by the county (by a series of mailings in early April, 2007) that the promise is being reneged upon. They made it clear that state law allows the county to provide, or not provide, medical insurance for retirees at their discretion. Their SOLE discretion.
The County representatives claim, essentially, that they’re broke and can’t financially afford to keep their word. So, I guess, the old promise was at best hollow and at worst fraud. In truth, the County has ALWAYS claimed financial destitution when dealing with its employees. They’ve always claimed it, and it’s always been a lie. The county of Sonoma is still in the business of purchasing real estate as a “green belt”, building buildings, and wasting money in unique ways (the cost of designing a new logo for the Human Services Department, for example, was a cool $25,000.00) — on the backs, apparently, of the retired folks.
Contacting the individual members of the Board of Supervisors is useless. Even if they cared, which they do not, they are politicians, and those of us who retired from county law enforcement employment have mostly fled from the area—Sonoma County had turned into something we no longer recognized and the cost of living there outstripped our pensions by quite a margin—we live far and wide—Oregon, Washington, Montana, Ohio, Bakersfield, Chico, Redding…………and are, therefore, no longer “constituents” of the members of the Board Of Supervisors. And, as naturally follows, might as well be dead. If we can’t vote for them, we are invisible.
Promises were made. Hollow promises. Fraudulent promises.