Did anyone else just start laughing when they read about Fire Chief Ken Woods’ retirement announcement?
Seriously, I couldn’t stop giggling. The part that I found particularly funny was how Woods made it seem like he was making a huge personal sacrifice. Thanks for retiring, Ken – you might be saving the City a lot of money on your salary, but exactly how much are you still going to be raking in via your pension?
Woods is right about one thing though – his retirement will be good for the community. That’s not a knock against him personally, nor a comment on his work as the Fire Chief. I’m sure he was doing a damned good job.
But I stopped laughing right around the time when I read that one person retiring and turning one full time job into a part time job will save the City $280,000. Nope, that’s not a joke kids.
That’s a very clear indication of how rampantly out of touch with reality that the compensation system for public servants has become here in Humboldt County. Kim Bergel’s comments that Woods isn’t getting a Golden Handshake is ridiculous – of course he is! EVERYONE making $100,000 plus in our current CALPERS funded pension system is getting a Golden Handshake.
See, I don’t think this one retirement is going to do much, and I sure as hell don’t think we should be looking at this like some kind of gallant act. One person leaving their overpaid position does not fix a system-wide problem of overpaying an entire department.
It further pissed me off that after all the hullaballoo about how badly Eureka’s budget cuts were going to effect public safety that Woods didn’t make much mention of it. In fact, he said “It’s just difficult for all of our firefighters to have to now shut down and brown out fire stations because of the city’s budget.”
Umm….difficult for the firefighters?? Exactly how many firefighters lost their jobs as a result of these budget cuts? Oh that’s right – none.
How about the budget cuts were difficult for the tax-paying public that are having a hard time fathoming why in the hell their tax burdens are continually going up and the powers that be in Humboldt County are continually screwing them over? How about, “It’s a shame we have to brown out Fire Station No. 4 because the public loses out,” rather than “it’s too bad Fire Station No. 4 closed because now firefighters will have less time on the street.” Which is Fire Chief-talk for “aww shucks, firefighters won’t be getting the same amount of overtime as last year.”
But you know what, I wish more department heads in Humboldt County would take Woods’ lead. It’s a generous admission on his part that he’s being paid way too much -if other public “servants” in this County took his lead and pulled their heads out of their asses, maybe they’d realize the same thing.