MAST pension fiasco rules today at City Hall
The Kansas City Star
Mayor Sly James and the City Council today are poised to approve a pension fiasco that would give millions of dollars in undeserved pensions to several hundred former MAST employees.
Don’t worry: The mayor and council will spin this as a victory. At least they didn’t have to give the employees, now part of the Fire Department, the full $30 million that the fire union once demanded.
As James once told me, the compromise worked out in 2011 by the council - which might still cost taxpayers $19 million - was the best that could be done in the circumstances.
That’s because the fire union took the issue to an arbitrator. If the council hadn’t compromised, the mayor said, the arbitrator might have found the city bargained in bad faith and given the full amount to the former MAST workers.
However, that explanation misses the truth: The former MAST workers didn’t deserve to get the millions of dollars in taxpayer-supplied pensions. These workers weren’t city employees for the years they were at MAST. They didn’t contribute money into the city’s pension systems.
Yet some long-time MAST employees will received $30,000 to $40,000 a year for many years to come after they retire - event though they put only several thousand dollars into the city’s pension systems the last two years since becoming part of the Fire Department.
That’s unfair to Kansas City taxpayers, many of whom don’t even have their own pensions from their private employers.
But in the end, James and the council will be giving away other people’s money. That’s always been too easy to do at City Hall.