It is difficult to write this and not sound conceited. However, here goes, I have read many articles and op-ed pieces about the compensation and benefits to public employees. For public safety, I think a lot of the criticism is justified.
Many public safety workers retire around age 50; they receive 3% of their highest salary for every year of employment with lifetime medical benefits. Many contributed little or no payments into the retirement system.
Most non-safety public employees retire in their 60s when they receive 2% of their highest salary every year they worked. They have paid into the retirement system every year just like a savings account with matching funds from their employer. Many public employees are extremely valuable and without good benefits and retirement would not work in the public sector.
Just think about the civil service system that most government agencies use. Civil Service became the common employment system in the United States when President Hayes began to use competitive examinations as a basis for appointment to office to eliminate nepotism.
Government uses the civil service employment system to insure they base their hiring, retaining, and promoting employees on their qualifications and ability to do the work. All levels of government have some form of civil service. Case on point, approximately 150 others, and I applied for an entry-level job government job in 1983. After a written and oral examination, I was one of four persons selected for an interview. Fortunately, the government hired me. Several promotions and twenty-eight years later I am now in senior management.
My promotions where based on merit under the civil service system. I took the initiative to develop my skill set by assuming additional responsibilities and accepting additional training. So now, 28 years later, my skills are highly in demand because the local residents receive hundreds of millions of dollars from my services. There are only a handful of people in the U.S. that have my skills set.
Over the years, I have passed on private-sector job offers that would have paid me much more than my government salary. Primarily I stay in government service because I wanted to help my community. However, I would not have been able to stay without the secure pension and benefits offered by public employment.
Be very careful what you wish for, you may just get it. There are a select handful of public sector types that make things work, if you take away our incentives to stay, we will be forced to retire and or take those private sector positions. If we retire, the public will lose the benefit of special skills or, or we will do it from the private sector at a much higher cost.