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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:30 pm 
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Why did spending the last hour helping my freshman daughter with American Government just make me really really sad???


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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:38 pm 
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Deb Richardson wrote:
Good for them for standing strong on what they feel is best for our state!


I agree. Their departure and continued absence is probably best for the state.

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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:18 am 
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neup99 maybe it is what's best for our state. Maybe not. I wanted to be sarcastic but I figured it's not worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:11 am 
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100% match for a 5.5% of salary pension contribution would sound sweet to me. 12% of health insurance total cost contribution sounds good too. Assuming an $800/month cost for insurance, that would mean $96 month for a state employee. I'm currently paying almost $400/month. Raises? Haven't had one for three years. "Tentured" protection despite incompentency relative to new employees? Not in the private sector. But i believe tenure protects bad teachers & possibly other state employees.

If I had a Democratic Party Senator who hid in IL., I'd recall them. If I had a republican rep who had the cajones to say we need to use real money to fix our budget, I'd send them a thank you note.

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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:25 am 
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The Green Bay Packers will not be playing next year; they have been replaced by the Wisconsin Democrats who have established a much better running game. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:16 am 
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Jeff,

Remember that those benefits were given instead of pay increases a long time ago. That's one of the reasons that many state employee's pay is so much lower than the same position in the private sector. We temporarily got a 2% pay increase three years ago that had been set earlier. Another scheduled increase was cancelled and we since have had pay cuts so I'm actually paid less than when I started the job 3.5 years ago. Tack on our current pay reduction of 8% based on the new bill and I never would have accepted the position for my current pay level. I already accepted slightly less pay than I was making in an area with a much lower cost of living just to come here. I agree with the idea of employees paying more but I don't know that 100% of the burden should fall on one group of people and I fear the "good" employees are going to do exactly what I'm doing, work on leaving. You're going to be left with jobs that require a great deal of knowledge, skill and talent filled by the lowest level employees that don't actually care about the job.

There is no tenure for my job type, ever. And there is a reason some of our professors have, and need it. Tenure has to be earned (it isn't just given for time served at the UW). I'm currently working with a faculty member that was willing to accept an additional roll within the administration because his tenure meant he could voice his actual opinion and he couldn't lose his job for it. There is very little "structure" at the UW so when things need to be changed there is a lot of infighting between the different players. You don't want a situation where one "group" simply gets rid of someone they disagree with. This is even more important for professors that are doing research in certain areas that aren't necessarily popular. I do agree they need to be able to dump bad employees, and I don't know that tenure should apply in a normal school setting but I can't say it shouldn't either because I haven't been exposed to the politics of working in that environment.


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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:29 am 
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I ran some more exact numbers and can give a good comparison on a "private" job (at a Fortune 500 company) vs a "public" one now. I also have a couple of other things to point out.

First, Jeff, is your insurance a family plan and does that include dental and vision?

I can't argue that we aren't potentially getting a good deal on insurance, but it also depends which health plan we choose. There are three tiers. However, the highest tier now costs $226 (single) or $567 (family) per month and that's just health (and includes basic vision). I'm on the cheapest plan and single so my cost is only $84 per month which I do consider a good deal. I also pay $16.70 for dental & excess medical insurance. For comparison, for all health related insurance I currently pay $52.70/mo. My new cost will be $100.70/mo. My "private" job cost $49.86/mo when I left and I had one of the best plans they offered (no referrals needed, etc.). I expect that's increase some in 3.5 years so if it doubled those costs may be fairly even although my old coverage was better.

Now lets talk about life insurance and continuation of pay insurance. At my "private" employer I automatically received a life insurance policy that equaled one year of salary. I also carried optional life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment, each with a total of a 5x my salary at a cost of $8.53/mo. At the UW, I'm required to carry basic life and have to pay for it, $4.80/mo for 1x salary. I also carry additional insurance to boost that to 5x, $11.52/mo. My "private" employer automatically provided long-term disability insurance that continued my pay if I couldn't work (I believe it kicked in after 30 days). I have to pay for that at the UW and chose the 90 day option, $4.98/mo. Total, I'm paying $12.77/mo more for less coverage.

A small simple one, at my "private" job parking was free. At the UW I pay $62 per month for a parking permit (it's actually more per month but only billed for 9 months). This is a mid-grade permit. There are closer lots that cost more, and further away ones that cost less.

All in all, my new costs per month for all insurance, retirement, parking, etc. at the UW will be $413.44/mo compared to my "private" job's $289.15/mo. Yes, the retirement package is better, but the benefits I have are worse. I also based my new costs on my plan to cancel the $100/mo I was previously contributing to a 403b plan.

OK, lets look at some bigger numbers. I just checked the cost of living calculator for current numbers and it estimates that someone with the salary I had when I left Appleton should make $5,623 more per year to cover the added expense of living in Madison and maintain the same lifestyle. However, my salary is $2,529.96 lower per year (total equivalent pay decrease to accept a public job $8,152.96). I also have taken furlough days for the last two years $1,455.04/year for a total loss of $9,608/year for my cushy government job. My benefits made up $1,742.88 of that for an actual loss of $7,865.12. Now let's look at the new number, no furlough days but new benefits costs added in and we get a total loss of $9,644.44 for the pleasure of working for you, John Q. Public. All of that doesn't even take into account that my previous employer wasn't exactly known for paying well.

Sorry if I'm not exactly thrilled to be taking on a new permanent $3,000+ pay cut. I may, or may not be a typical state employee but I suggest people don't look at someone else's job and just assume they understand all of the bits and pieces. Until you're in the environment I'm in, you're not going to understand what tenure accomplishes (for those that can get it). You're not going to see the other costs, the hours, etc. Just like I'm not going to be able to look at the balance sheet for the company you work for and understand your job, your benefits, expenses, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:54 am 
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Kerry, I just want to add one more thing. Regardless of who you are, public or private employee, I don't know too many people who are just going to say, "Oh, $3000 less per year, that's not so bad. I'll just suck it up and not complain..."


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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:57 pm 
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Tenure was the wrong term for me to use. Seniority would have been closer. I meant to refer to public school teachers protected due to time served.

You are right. Living in Madison is expensive.

Why are there commercials running in the 3/10 posts by Neup & mimi?

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 Post subject: Re: Tomahawk High School
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:19 pm 
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Jeff,

See the post in General Discussion about banner ads for an explanation (and area for discussion) of the commercials...

Kerry


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