Hold the Osculation
Submitted By Todd on March 29th at 8:56am
REVERE - A group of elected officials in this working-class city, which struggles daily to provide services under the threat of severe budget cuts, is reaping some extraordinary rewards for public service.Silly me, I thought the phrase public service implied that the people who hold elective office were doing so as a personal sacrifice in order to benefit their communities. As the dictionary offers:
An act of assistance or benefit; a favorSadly, I've been forced to reassess my interpretation of the phrase. I now realize that the word service in the term "public service," refers not to personal sacrifice to benefit others, but instead follows an alternative dictionary definition.
a. To copulate with (a female animal). Used of a male animal, especially studs. b. Slang To have sex with.When viewed with this meaning, one can understand why our public servants seem, so regularly, to put us in the same stance as does a proctologist.
Through deft exploitation of state laws and local ordinances, a majority of Revere's 11 part-time city councilors are collecting full city pensions while remaining on the city payroll and receiving up to $25,000 a year in council compensation, according to a Globe review of public records.Now that we understand the true meaning of Public Service, we can view servants like the Revere City Council in their proper light, and realize that they are Super-Serving the public!
Seven of the 11 Revere councilors receive pensions, ranging up to $57,000 a year. In addition, they receive base city council pay of $14,650, plus automatic expense stipends of $7,200 (recently reduced by 20 percent, in a nod to the budget crisis), plus the accumulating bonuses for years worked, called longevity bonuses.They are heroic figures in the world of public service! They should be going to the World Series of Public Service. Their heads (likenesses, of course) should be placed on Mount Serv-More!
The combined take for some councilors is more than $85,000 a year, in a city of 55,000 people where the median income hovers around $45,000 annually. By comparison, Malden, with about the same population and demographics, pays councilors $17,500. Only one Malden councilor receives a city pension.What is the spirit that drives them to such service? Ah, we must teach it in the schools!
"I take what is given to me - that's my stand on it," said Councilor George V. Colella, a former Revere mayor.A virtual Mother Theresa, Mr. Colella is!
Councilor Arthur Guinasso, for example, retired as a councilor in 2002 at age 62, began receiving a $10,000 annual pension, and then returned to the council two years later, collecting both his pension and the councilor compensation package, which together equals a combined $31,700. Guinasso did not return telephone calls.Who could take the time to return phone calls when there's so much service that needs providing.
Councilor Robert J. Haas Jr. "retired" from his career as a mayor and councilor in 2005 at age 62, and just kept going, never breaking his service on the council. The only change for Haas was that he began drawing his $47,500 pension on top of his councilor's pay and expenses of about $25,000.While kudos are being handed out, it wouldn't be fair to focus just on these examples of extreme self-sacrifice in the name of community. It's also important to remember the men in the trenches, the hard working "servants," who slaved over their law books to figure out how to craft laws making this kind of service possible.
These moves are legal because city councilors and other elected officials in Massachusetts are exempt from the restrictions and financial penalties the law imposes on most government retirees who want to continuing working and drawing paychecks beyond their retirement. The law imposes no such restrictions on retirees who hold elected office.Simplicity is an art mastered only by the most highly cultivated of practitioners. In this case, consider the public good that was achieved simply by leaving elite public servants off the list of those who would be confined by pension restrictions. We must bow to the artistry of those who provide service in the legislature!
The state rules also allow City Council members to count their part-time, elected jobs as full years of pension credit. The council usually meets three times a month, for as long as five hours per session. On average, that is about four hours a week throughout the year. They also spend various amounts of time on constituent work.Ah, the brilliance of those who collect with such reluctance their per diems. Sadly, there are those who seek to misconstrue the glory of public service.
Councilors bristled at the suggestion they are taking advantage of the system. "Everybody says it's part-time work," said Ira Novoselsky, a councilor who combined state employment and a stint on the city planning board to retire at age 55 with an annual pension of about $30,000, on top of his council compensation of more than $26,500. "But you don't get calls at two o'clock in the morning from [angry] constituents."What, prey tell, could any constituent in Revere have to be unhappy about?
Revere City Council members have also used the so-called one-day rule to boost their pensions, in a fashion similar to other officials around the state. It allows public officials to collect a full year of credit toward a pension for as little as one day of work in a calendar year.One could only hope that in every city and town in America there are public servants in possession of as much creativity and focus.
The council voted in 2000 to boost members' pay - and their eventual pensions - by giving themselves automatic annual longevity bonuses based on the length of their public employment... Councilors voted, in the same year, to allow longevity payments they receive to be used in calculating their pensions.At WRKO, afternoon host Howie Carr refers to political pensions as a "kiss." I'm not otherwise familiar with this use of the word, but when I went to dictionary.com to look up "service," the word of the day for the site was, ironically, "osculation," defined as
the act of kissing; a kiss.I now understand "Public Service." It means "Bend over, drop your pants, were going to save the osculation for later."