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Saturday, November 28 News

Letters to the editor: Trump isn’t a tragic hero, retirement plan has a steep cost

Trump not a tragic hero

The dissipator in chief is Donald Trump. Trump has squandered every opportunity that he has had as President to enrich himself. Although, even that, enriching himself, is, surely, questionable, given his record in office. So far, now and to the very end of his only term, as all but he knows, excluding only those Republicans who hang on to threads from his coattail, he will never overcome his faults to get a second term.

I congratulate our security services for safeguarding our elections. I read that they report, no outside intrusion into our elections, this year, took place. That’s just tremendous, in my view. Maybe, the Russians didn’t think it worth their while to invest in obstructionism still do damage to our system in order to throw the election their way.

As President, Trump withdrew the U.S.A. from this or that world organizations, such as the World Health Organization, It seemed odd to me that he would do such a thing. It also seemed dangerous. And now, a newly elected but not yet sworn-in President Biden is acting to rejoin world organization. It did not make sense to leave any and it only makes sense to rejoin so that we can share information, such as, the world plague that the young do not seem to fear but that the elderly know might well kill us if we get it, never mind President Trump’s preference for his own culpabilities.

An article citing Republican distrust in the media is understandable as the predictable promoted by the rightist media has consistently told its viewers and listeners of a clear, predictable outcome. Trump was a winner going in. So he lost. Every believer in Trump's media lost their faith in humanity when news of Trump’s loss trickled in. Now Trump himself leads a campaign to correct a media error and have them all assert that he is the one and only winner, and, for this, Trump will not leave office graciously. He is a tragic hero to some. But never to me. The classic literature is rife with these heroes. Any secondary schoolboy ought to be able to name a few.

Gerard Coulombe, Fairfield

Voluntary early retirement incentive plan has steep cost

On Thursday, November 12th, three hours before the RTM was scheduled to vote on the First Selectwoman’s voluntary early retirement incentive plan (VERIP), the plan was withdrawn from the RTM’s agenda. The VERIP, which was presented as a necessary “investment” in future modernization and efficiency initiatives, allowed eligible employees to retire early with no early retirement penalty; added 6% onto regular retirees’ pensions; and included generous health care enhancements that would have paid or heavily subsidized insurance premiums for periods up to 10 years. The price of these enhanced benefits were estimated to be $340k per employee—on average, a severance package equivalent to 4 years of salary. The total cost (depending on how many employees opted in) was estimated by the town to be $10-19 million. And in exchange for this, the Administration made a commitment to reduce town staffing by only 3 people .

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Aside from its steep cost, the VERIP presented untenable long-term financial risk. The VERIP would have added to the Town’s unfunded long-term pension and healthcare liabilities—currently a whopping $171 million. The Town’s obligation to pay for the enhanced benefits would have impacted our annual budgets for the next 21 years . Further, the total cost would have compounded if annual payments were not budgeted and funded every year—something the Administration would not commit to do. We know how this "kick the can" approach led to the State’s precarious fiscal position. It would be irresponsible for us to make the same mistake at the town level.

In today's climate of great economic and social uncertainty and loss, the decision to expend $10-19 million on an overly rich deal with the unions is unfair to the taxpayer and is poorly timed. We are facing $11 million in shortfalls from last year’s budget. These shortfalls alone represent fiscal cliffs that translate to a 3.79% tax increase. I am proud of the RTM Democrats for averting this expensive golden handshake. We did our job and served as an important check and balance for the people. As a result, fiscal responsibility prevailed. I am hopeful that we can now work together to achieve a retirement deal that meets the needs of the Administration, employees, and taxpayers .

Jill Vergara

Majority Leader, Fairfield RTM

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