Cost of War Comes to Our Town

The nexus of my cost-of-war activism and City Council race has come!

After spending the day at SBCC setting up and manning The Inconvenient Booth, I went to a meeting for candidates presented by Police Chief Cam Sanchez, City Administrator Jim Armstrong, and City Attorney Steve Wiley.

I learned today that deployed city employees in the guard or reserves are made whole for wages while serving (with police approx $30,000/year for a leiutenant, or $50,000/year for a grunt) and that federal law would require the city to keep their positions open and give them retirement credit for years served in the military.

Of course I support these things but the facts that there are federal mandates and a federal decision to go to war and federalize our guard and activate our reserves indicate to me that we have grounds to expect the feds to make our city whole for at the very least the cost of complying with the mandates. That would be the cost of keeping their positions open and a portion of their pensions.

Sanchez said that three are deployed now-on their third deployments-and that it has been worse in the past with eight in Iraq at one point. The Fire Department is about the same-and both the firemen and police retire after about 20 years, right? So with five years of deployment, about a quarter of the total pension of that individual should be the Pentagon’s.

And other department heads said the same situation holds for all city employees deployed, except they work longer before they get pensions.

(I wonder if Stiglitz calculated this in.)Lane Anderson

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