I Want A New York City Municipal Employee Job

I want a New York City Municipal Job paying 40K. This may seem like a crazy statement because most of my friends won’t even work for less than six-figures. And New York City municipal employees have a stigma for being lazy, minimalist, unionized and very job secure. I once heard a story about an employee who worked for the city and drove the truck to New Jersey to pave his neighbor’s driveways. He was not fired but as his punitive reprimand he was transferred to another borough.So I asked my friends what would it take to be fired for a city job. And they said you would have to be convicted of a felony. But then look at the cop that raped Abner Louima with a plunger he’s a firefighter now. Someone said you would have to kill someone. But even that is incorrect because look at the cop who shot Sean Bell over 50 times, he’s still on the police force.

I figured that if I got a city job for 50K , the fringe benefits would actually exceed that so I was actually making six figures a year. You see the city has what my professor says is the whole bain of pension accounting, the defined benefit plan, where you are guaranteeded a specific payment upon retirement. Many employers are doing away with these because they are not sustainable, put the burden on the employer to pay benefits long after the employee has retired, have high administrative costs and with the recent tumultuous market very unpredictable. So there is no surprise that there has been a lot of talk of pension reform.

I believe this another sense of entitlement of a pension fund that is unsustainable. Of course ask any city employee and they will say they are underpaid. But the truth is for the contributions

Here are the facts, most city employees contribute 4.85% of their salary for the first ten years. After ten years employees only contribute 1.85% and the city matches it.

If you contributed a fixed amount every year for 30 Years, the future value of this annuity is a factor of 66.43885.(n periods = 30, 5% interest) For an annuity of $3685 that would grow to $244,827, an annuity of $4795 would grow to $318,574. Since you contributed between $3685 and $4795, the ending balance of $267,922 makes sense.

Assuming you get 30% of your final pay you will receive $36K per year, which would last you 7 years before the city has to get money from somewhere else. However 30 years of service gets you about 50% of your pay which means the pension would only last you 4 years before the city has to get money from somewhere else.

Most people take a city job because they want job security and set work hours. It is mostly a job for those who want to achieve mediocrity. But in this violatile market. Get me a job please with the city, my calculations show this is the best deal assuming two things:

1. Your pension is guaranteeded by state constiution. 2. they don’t change Tier 4.

I’m pretty sure my calculations are correct. And this guy’s blog echoes that sentiment. He claims he was the executive director of the NYCERS (New York City Employee Retirement Service) from 1990-2005. Of course my readers will say how can Dick possibly be right? He is after all unemployed…..

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3 Comments

Filed under Gainfully Unemployed

3 responses to “I Want A New York City Municipal Employee Job

  1. Grover Mannings

    Well after semesters of accounting classes, I’ll take you at your word that the Future Value of pension contributions provide for roughly 4-7 years of income based on years worked for the city. 🙂

    When we were growing up my Dad’s municipal government job was especially generous in terms of fringe benefits. His health insurance plan covered our entire family for all health care costs including doctor’s visits, pharmaceuticals, eye exams, and dental. Best of all were the co-pays at the pharmacy when prescription medication was required: $2 an item. No, I’m not lying or exaggerating, that was really the case. It only increased to $10 in the late 90’s when my brothers and I were heading off to college. Further, once I finished college, his health care program offered a COBRA program, that allowed me to be covered for a few years given that I paid a reduced premium into his health insurance pool.

    In this case, the health insurance was probably as valuable – if not more valuable – than the job’s salary itself. With 4 kids constantly getting sick and eventually developing chronic health conditions, we needed all the healthcare we could get. Nota Bene: we’re not obese people living off the government. My Mom clipped coupons for 20 years and we ate whatever was on sale. Now I pay my own health care premium into the Connecticut state health re-insurance program because I was denied health insurance on the open market due to pre-existing conditions (Type 1 juvenile diabetes, etc).

    So overall I’d say the benefit of municipal government work is that it is an *almost* guaranteed paycheck, benefits, and retirement plan if you’re willing to work for less than what you could get in the private sector. It is optimal for those with young families that need a constant flow of income and health care.

    Finally, speaking personally, my guess is that pensions will soon become an antiquated concept. The financial markets are a mess and people are waking up to the fact that they are essentially shooting craps with their retirement savings; especially when left in the control of greedy Wall Street bankers. For Gen X, Y, Z and beyond, you’ll either have to work until you drop or discipline yourself to save 10% of your annual income in low risk investments. That’s much easier said than done.

    Regards,

    Grover Mannings

    • I do not doubt for a second that your co-pays were a neglible $2. What disappoints me is that when I get into discussions with municipal employees they get very defensive. They say they are underpaid, contribute too much money into their pensions, health insurance premiums are too high. Almost as if what I am telling them is something I fabricated. The former executive director of the pension plan agrees with me. And it constantly been in the news.

      Rhode Island recently reformed its pension plan: <a href="” target=”_blank”>

      Every American needs to realize that we are all going to have to make sacrifices in these tumultuous times.

      • Grover Mannings

        Exactly… and pension reform is part of the answer. Municipal employees shouldn’t get too defensive, because they are part of the government’s bloated budget. I would hazard a guess that when it’s all said and done, some useless municipal employees (bad job records, redundant, etc) will be fired. Unfortunately it has to happen.

        For the rest of us: spend responsibly and payoff high interest revolving debt. Once the credit card companies have you by the short hairs, you’re f*cked unless you have the cash to cover your expenditures.

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