Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Must Reads: Oakland Council Nears Budget Compromise; Public Employees Make Bank on Pension Perk

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 7:33 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council is closing in on a budget compromise after Councilmembers Desley Brooks, Larry Reid, and Noel Gallo released a revised proposal late last week that included funding for eleven new civilian positions in the police department, the Trib reports. A budget proposal from Council President Pat Kernighan, backed by Councilwoman Libby Schaaf, wanted funding for fifteen civilian positions. The two sides also must reach agreement on whether to continue paying for CHP patrols in the city or set aside funds for raises for non-sworn employees. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget this Thursday. Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Dan Kalb, and Lynette Gibson-McElhaney are also working on a proposal.

Susan Muranishi
  • Susan Muranishi
2. Even though public agencies throughout the Bay Area have been slashing public services in recent years, many of them have continued to award public employees with a lucrative pension perk that added up to $221 million last year alone, the Bay Area News Group reports. The perk involves public agencies paying the employee’s share of his or her pension. BART paid out the most perks last year, totaling $17 million. The biggest single recipient of the so-called pension pickup was Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi, who received $43,000 to go along with her $462,000 a year salary.

3. Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked confidential information about the NSA's massive phone-data collection program, is seeking asylum in Ecuador after leaving Hong Kong and taking a plane to Moscow, the AP reports. The Obama Justice Department wants to prosecute Snowden for espionage. Snowden is believed to be headed for Cuba while awaiting word from Ecuador, which previously awarded political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

4. The US factory-farm industry continues to inject most livestock with antibiotics as a preventative measure despite the fact that such practices may be contributing to the rise of drug-resistant super-bacteria, the Chron$ reports.

5. And the Chronicle had a great run-down over the weekend on how Caltrans decided to use overly hard steel rods that are susceptible to cracking on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

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