November 26, 2014
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LETTERS
Thoughts on term limits & pensions

To the Editor:

I read F.B. Sarno’s letter to the Beacon recently. Thanks. F.B., ytou got me thinking and wanted to add in some of my own thoughts.

I was lucky enough to be assigned many times to work in Europe. Although I try to stay away from politics and religion when chatting with people, I did pick up some ideas about political structure there. One I grew to understand a bit better was the idea of a more than a two-party system.

I am sure anyone reading this is aware of the recent government shutdowns. Part of what has allowed that to happen is that, in any two-party system, one party will always have a majority in each branch of government. Even in the Senate with two senators per state, the vice president is allowed to break a tie by voting.

With a true three- or more party system, where at least three parties are reasonably represented, the likelihood of one party having the ability to “get their way” is greatly reduced. It still could happen, but the entire country would really have to want it, so there would have to be a nationwide, compelling reason to vote for it. There was much discussion about the inability of our two party system to result in consensus during the last government shutdown. With three or more parties, little can happen without consensus. This could also have wider implications in the whole American social fabric.

Today, we are accustomed to getting a “gang” together to get our own way. Usually (hopefully) this gang works for government action, but not always. Take bullying in schools as an example. A governing structure that does not allow arbitrary “mob rule” not only means that the government must frequently, if not always, consider the thoughts of others. Once we begin to think in “consensus” about government, our society would eventually align to think this same way.

Do I think this would ever have a chance of being adopted in America? I think giving it a five percent chance is being generous. Nevertheless, a one-group dictatorship is still a dictatorship, and I’ve read enough history to know that is not the best for anyone, including the dictator(s).

While on the subject of government, I wanted to say that I also read the article about term limits for city office holders. My response would be, “If we don’t want pensions for these people, then that should be the subject of any future action.”

For example, our mayor, Scott Avedisian, has been elected repeatedly. I see nothing to indicate widespread voting problems, so I have to believe Scott is elected because he is doing the job the majority of us want him to do. In my ward, Joe Solomon has a similar record. Having gotten to know Joe, and reading about the actions that he takes in the City Council, I’m glad he’s working for me.

Getting rid of someone whose performance matches the needs of the job is illogical. Apparently, the majority of Warwick voters feel the same way. If pensions are not desired, then work to remove them. Don’t punish people who are doing most of what we want. 

Doug Ray

Warwick


Comments
2 comments on this item

Doug, the problem is that Avedisian and Solomon didn't create the problems created by defined benefit pensions. These problems have passed from administration to administration for 40 years. Any system that allows politicians to promise generous benefits that won't have to be paid for 30 years is a bad system. All new hires should be moved into a defined contribution system. This way all parties have a clear view of the actual costs of city services. It drives me crazy that my friends are making concessions while the retiree's are living on a much better retirement than will be available to them.

And yes I'm shocked that so many Warwick residents are so unbelievably dumb.

I agree patientman.

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