This week’s leftovers…..
We’ve probably all had a similar version of the “career talk” with our parents at some point in our lives: If you want to be successful and wealthy, be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer.
Well, there’s one more career path parents should add to the list: government jobs.
Excellent retirement and health benefits, job security and a shortened work week are just some of the advantages of government employment.
No industry is immune from failing in a sinking economy, but a Time magazine article released last week declared government-related jobs — particularly those in education and public safety — recession-proof.
Take El Monte’s city attorney Clarke Mosely. Despite the city’s $400,000 budget deficit, he still manages to pull in a base salary of $13,210 a month, plus health and retirement benefits that total $2,462 a month. And any time the chief of police gets a salary bump, so does the city attorney, according to Mosely’s contract.
His hours grant him enough time to work for the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, and he even gets Fridays off.
The four-day work week is an increasingly common trend among San Gabriel Valley cities. West Covina is the one of the most recent cities to shift to four 10-hour work days.
Another great perk is the notion of job security. While private companies across the nation are laying off workers by the thousands, the San Gabriel Valley has yet to see a city lay off any full-time employees.
According to Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, government employees — unlike those in the private sector — often hold the perspective that job security is 100 percent.
“Anything that suggests that someone may be let go is assumed to infringe on some fundamental right, but of course that is just because they are looking at it from a government employee’s perspective,” Scheer said.
Even in retirement, government employees still are reaping the benefits of a career in public service. Retirement packages usually include health benefits for life and a steady income. In some cases, public employees have ended up making more in their retirement than they did while working.
It’s no wonder nearly half of all people in the public sector take advantage of their retirement options, compared to only a quarter of people in private agencies, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute
Of course, not everything is rosy working for city government. There have been hiring freezes and part-time employees have lost their jobs. There are complaints from residents. There are budget problems. And every now and then, you get a city like Vallejo that has to file for bankruptcy.
Regardless, cities provide necessary services that force them to stay open for business. If you want to convert your garage into a bedroom, you have to go through the city. If you are retired and depend on lunches from the senior center, the city runs that program. And your trash isn’t going to pile up on the side of the road just because the city can’t afford its hauling contract anymore.
So, if the saying is true and you can’t beat City Hall, you may as well join it.