Once we’re done paying off America’s unfunded entitlement liabilities by taxing the inexhaustible supply of wealth known as “the rich,” I hope we’ll think of the poor lifeguards trying to get by on only $120-130,000 a year. There’s no budget crunch so bad that a surcharge can’t undo its worst injustices. A Cadillac in every ersatz Hasselhoff’s driveway — that’s my motto.
Alternate headline: “Blogger resolves to finally learn how to swim.”
In a phone conversation, Brent Jacobsen, president of the Lifeguard Management Association, defended the lifeguard pay in Newport Beach: “We have negotiated very fair and very reasonable salaries in conjunction with comparable positions and other cities up and down the coast.” “Lifeguard salaries here are well within the norm of other city employees.” And therein is the problem: Local public worker pay has become all too generous and out of line with private sector equivalents.
On face, the compensation packages for these guards are staggering. But take into consideration the retirement benefits being paid to currently retired lifeguards and lifeguards who will retire at these pay levels in the future and the problem is further compounded. Lifeguards are able to retire with 90 percent of their salary, after only 30 years of work at as early as the age of 50.
If you’re wondering how this system is sustainable, it isn’t. Via Moe Lane, the downsizing has already begun, replete with media/union laments about all the new drownings that will assuredly ensue unless Newport Beach finds a way to maintain its current lifeguard staff in the luxury to which they’re accustomed. Dig deep, Californians.