"$800K Man" a government hero

"$800K Man" a government hero

John Seiler:

We all need heroes. People we can look up to as examples and for inspiration.

Government workers now have a new hero: Robert Rizzo, who just resigned as city manager of tiny Bell after news reports revealed his salary was $787,637.00 and public outrage grew. He even was given the name of a superhero: The $800K Man. Maybe Hollywood will make a TV show out of it, like the 1970s classic, “The Six Million Dollar Man.”

Now that he’s left his post, Rizzo becomes an even bigger superstar to government workers. That’s because his pension, guaranteed by taxpayers, could start out at $600,000.00 a year. Eventually it will rise above $1,000,000.00 a year, and its current worth is $30,000,000.00. All for loafing.

Sweet. And it’s all legal.

What an inspiration. You can bet the folks in government are in awe of their new hero. And that millions of youngsters, who might have started businesses and created jobs, instead will go into government work, aiming for a similar payoff.

Robert Rizzo. Government-class hero: better, richer.

For his TV show, “The 800K Man,” the producers could modify the intro to the 1970s show:

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  1. David
    David 24 July, 2010, 09:19

    Seriously? You imagine that a dishonest, abusive person such as Rizzo would be a hero to public workers, rather than a nightmarish embarrassment? The public employees I know are horrified by what Rizzo did. Yes, they work for the government, but they are citizens and taxpayers also, and they are ripped off by Rizzo’s behavior just as much as any other person.

    Your zeal for insulting and degrading people who work for the public seems to know no limits. But the truth is there are a lot of good people in public service. They don’t deserve your contempt.

    Reply this comment
  2. John Seiler
    John Seiler 26 July, 2010, 08:15


    Thank you for your remarks. Yes, there are a lot of good people in public service. But there are far too many people, good or bad, in public service, and they cost far too much and have far too much power to regulate our lives. The size and cost of government now are so huge that they have brought down the whole economy.

    Enough. Revolts usually begin with some incident that triggers rebellion after a long train of abuses, to quote the Declaration. Maybe the Rizzo revelations are that trigger.

    Reply this comment
  3. Eric
    Eric 26 July, 2010, 14:09


    I was thinking the same. It takes something like this to further inch the America taxpayer to revolt against the parasite government worker, the ruling class.

    I sure hope this story does not go away.

    Reply this comment
  4. David
    David 27 July, 2010, 06:30

    You are blaming the economic crisis on the size of government? That’s a right-wing fantasy. The crisis was caused by the disastrous failures of the private sector, including people who took out mortgages and loans they couldn’t possibly afford, and greedy, predatory corporations that made those loans without regard for sustainability or the long-term impact on the economy. The near-depression triggered by that private-sector collapse would have been much larger and more disastrous if not for the safety-net programs administered by the very government you so bitterly resent.

    The disgraced and dishonest president of BP is resigning after presiding over his company’s multi-billion dollar destruction of the environment, and according to reports he leaves with a million-dollar annual pension. But you go right ahead telling yourself that the real problem in the world is a teacher or a cop who has some safety and dignity in retirement, after a 30- or 40-year career of trying to make this a better, safer country.

    Reply this comment
  5. DavidfromLosGatos
    DavidfromLosGatos 27 July, 2010, 13:25

    David, if it was just “some safety and dignity in retirement, after a 30- or 40-year career”, there would be less outrage. That is union-speak.

    The San Jose Police Chief just announced he is retiring at age 53 to a several hundred thousand dollar a year pension for rest of his life (plus paid health, etc).

    You complain that John has focussed on Rizzo as an “example” of the public sector, and then you use the CEO of BP as an “example” of the private sector?

    Reply this comment
  6. David
    David 27 July, 2010, 14:09

    Yes, David — if John Seiler gets to spread the lie that Rizzo is a hero to gov workers (and that’s what he said), then I guess I can point out that there are abuses on all sides.

    The San Jose police chief is retiring after 30 years in a job that puts his life in danger. His current pay is $215,000 according to the Mercury News, after a 10% pay cut, so even at 90% (3% x 30) I don’t see where you are getting “several hundred thousand dollars a year.”.

    Reply this comment
  7. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 27 July, 2010, 14:50

    If Rizzo is a hero to gov workers, I would have to assume Bernie Madoff is an icon to you private sector lovers.

    Or maybe it’s Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) and his “greed is good” anthem. I’m sure you can’t wait for “Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps”, coming soon to a theatre near you.

    Reply this comment
  8. DavidfromLosGatos
    DavidfromLosGatos 27 July, 2010, 19:59

    My bad. It’s only $200K a year (plus COLAs and free family medical FOR REST OF HIS LIFE) starting at age 53. How will he manage? Certainly not a retirement with any “safety or dignity” ….

    Reply this comment
  9. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 28 July, 2010, 08:52

    This just in, from the Wall Street Journal:

    “The more generous benefits given to government workers are part of a larger trade-off, according to economists. Unable to match private-sector salaries for their most valued workers, governments instead offer more-attractive benefits packages.”

    So much for the right-wing garbage that public employees make more than workers in the private sector who do the same jobs. It ain’t so.

    Reply this comment
  10. David
    David 28 July, 2010, 10:00

    I seriously do not understand people who look at someone with a good pension, and think “we must take it away from him” instead of “we must get good pensions like that for everybody else.” I suppose if you are so rich you will never need a pension, that’s one thing. But otherwise, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face when you attack public employees. You are just weakening your own case for “safety and dignity” in your own retirement.

    Reply this comment
  11. DavidfromLosGatos
    DavidfromLosGatos 28 July, 2010, 18:50

    David, I see government employees that take my money under threat of imprisonment and hand it out to themselves. Don’t bother with the “safety and dignity” BS. If this was about a $60K annual pension starting at age 65, I would be all for it. But in this guy’s case, we’re talking $200K starting at age 53. We’re talking about legalized theft. It does not undermine or weaken my case to complain about being robbed.

    The baby boomer I-me-mine generation has managed to run up a tab that cannot be repaid, and the boomer politicians have made (and continue to make) promises greater and great government paid benefits that simply cannot be delivered. Obama could pull a Hugo and confiscate everything from the “rich,” but we will still be broke.

    Reply this comment
  12. David
    David 28 July, 2010, 21:13

    San Jose is the tenth largest city in the United States, and being its police chief must be one of the most complex jobs in the country. The salary and benefits should be determined by comparison with similar jobs, both public and private. I don’t know where San Jose ranks in that regard, but according to the web, the police chief of San Francisco, a smaller city, was paid $210,000 in 2004.

    Reply this comment
  13. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 29 July, 2010, 10:25

    “The salary and benefits should be determined by comparison with similar jobs, both public and private.”

    There you go, David. You’ve stumbled on the right’s dirty little secret.

    The anti-public employee crowd is quick to point to surveys saying that public employees now make more than those in the private sector. Tese surveys take the salary of, let’s say, an auditor at DOT and compare it to a McDonald’s worker and, voila!, the public employee is higher paid.

    The real way to prove who gets paid more would be to compare the salaries of people in the public and private sectorswho do essentially the same work. For example, compare the salary of an auditor in state or local government with an auditor in the private sector and see who gets more.

    You never see the right come out with this kind of survey. I wonder why?

    Reply this comment

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