Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Cost of Big Government starts at Home

One lesson we are learning today with the implementation of Obamacare is documented evidence that government cannot deliver better services than the private sector.  A greater concern is the cost and waste of tax dollars spent by big government today.  In 2012, the Cato Institute advised the average total compensation (wages, pension and healthcare) to federal civilian workers was $114,976, versus the same total compensation configuration to private sector employees was an average of $65,917.

In Mission Viejo 41 of our 273 city employees earns over $100,000 in wages alone.  75 employees are paid over $75,000 in wages alone. Mission Viejo has 27% of its city employees that are earning 71% of wages paid.  The cost of pension and healthcare in 2012 to the residents of Mission Viejo was $3.3 million dollars.  Mission Viejo has 82 employees whose total compensation pay is greater than $100,000.  Private companies cannot afford this kind of earnings imbalance.  Government does not compete nor is it required to make a profit.  It just spends more of your money.

By comparison our San Juan Capistrano neighbors pay their 113 city employees $9,996,645 in total compensation.  That is an average total compensation of $64,572 per SJC employee, compared to Mission Viejo’s total compensation average of $54,676 per city employee.  Each resident in Mission Viejo pays $151.82 per city employee while SJC residents are paying $283.02 in total compensation to their city employees.  While, the cost per resident may not register as a lot of money, the 2013-2015 Budget and Master Financial plan for the city expects salaries, wages and benefits at $16,493,075 for fiscal year 2013-2014.  This is a 7.1% increase in salaries and wages, and a 4.9% increase in benefits.  How many homeowners saw a 7% increase in their take home pay this year?

How much government is too much? Does Mission Viejo need 2 Sr. Executive Assistants, 5 Public Service Supervisors, 4 Senior Public Services Contract Administrators, 5 Community Services Supervisors, 5 Community Services Supervisors, 6 Community Services Specialists, 4 Public Services Supervisors or 3 Associate Planners?  Residents must decide how much more they are willing to pay for programs and services.  Remember, any simple government program may add headcount.  It is a rare case indeed when government spending decreases.  How many programs go beyond public safety, traffic and waste management, are needed to have, and versus must have?

Could the city manage with fewer than 13 duplicate public services employees or 16 community services duplicates? What programs in the city do these employees manage? What private companies, non-profit or other organizations would offer the same services and programs at better cost and at greater value to residents?

When will Mission Viejo stop spending tax dollars to compete with the private sector?  Mission Viejo tried to operate a farmer’s market in direct competition with local grocers and failed.  Government should not be in the grocery business!  There are seven fitness centers in Mission Viejo offering competitive monthly rates and a few offer free memberships through healthcare providers.  Is it in the best long-term interest for the city to operate and maintain the Montanoso and Sierra recreation centers?  Perhaps, but I could almost guarantee no one in city hall is having that conversation or thinking that they could be run more efficiently by a private company.

Many city programs do not offset their costs or generate tax revenue.  Allowing private companies opportunity without compete against city programs will allow Mission Viejo to grow and blossom into a shining jewel in Orange County.

You can view the wages and compensation of virtually every government employee in California by visiting www.