Saino a Watchdog for Memphis

Joe Saino
Joe Saino

Retired businessman Joe Saino looked out at the members of the Midtown Republican Club Tuesday and spoke about his experiences tracking the workings of city government. At 80 years old, Saino does not sit back, retire and dismiss the future. He is engaged.

After selling his successful business, Saino used his skills in the business world examine our poorly functioning local government; its finances and rules. What he found out was “when you get people together and act together you can get something done.”

Saino, who defines himself as a Constitutionalist and a conservative, first took a look at the City Council pension resolutions in 2001 and saw trouble. What they wanted to do was to allow anyone in city worker with 12 years in the system to get full retirement. He saw it as “disastrous.” The argument was that it would help Memphis retain good people didn’t turn out that way.

Saino fought it and “the City Council rescinded it, but only for new people. We took them to court and won locally, but not at the appellate court.” Even so, Saino said “what we got out of it was term limits,” a very good thing.

It also spurred him to take a look at other facts and figures, such as incomes for some city officials. “I wrote to City Hall,” he said, “was promised I’d get the information, but nothing happened.” He was advised that he could file suit per se, meaning as an individual. “I have filed six suits in Chancery Court and won five of them. You can get something done when you’re determined and don’t just take their answers,” he said.

As an example of the waste he finds, Saino noted that city workers get 66 sick days a year. “It means you need more people. The private business average is 33.” In a city where people and their incomes are leaving, this is a cost we cannot afford.

Lately he has continued looking at pensions, in particular those of the county vs. those of city employees. “The county is in good shape,” he said. “The city has $1.3 billion in unfunded liabilities. It’s a train wreck happening. All the city pays is annual cost, not unfunded liabilities.”

Saino says Mayor Wharton has finally come around to attempting to address this problem. “Wharton is being forced by the state. We’ve got to do something about pensions and do something about the combined contribution plan for new and non vested employees.” However, he sees union opposition to this and it hangs on getting 7 votes from the City Council. And, “the problem with this is that this would involve social security costing the city 6.2% and the employee 6.2%.”

Saino suggests “a hybrid social security plan…the City of Memphis would promise a defined benefit plan that matches social security. The city and the employee would each contribute 6.2% of base salary initially in the pension fund. This money would be invested with the pension fund but would be tracked separately.

“The city would offer a 457 plan matching up to half of the employees’ annual contribution to the 457 plan up to a maximum of 3% city contribution. Over time, assuming the average rate of return that has been experienced over hte last 25 years, the return should reduce the city’s and the employees 6.2% contribution to a low level. This pension plan would put the private sector employee on a level playing field with the public sector employee.”

His website, www.memphisshelbyinform.com, lays out more of his plans and ideas.

“I don’t know whether they (the City Council) can get 7 votes. The best thing we have going for us is the specter of Detroit and Justin Wilson (Republican Tennessee State Comptroller of the Treasury) looking over their shoulders.”

Saino also had some advice for the GOP. “Don’t be distracted by the war on women. People want to hear about jobs and health care. 2014 is a critical year, both here in Memphis and especially nationally. We have to win to save the republic. I hope we can cooperate on making an impact locally and nationally.”

We Were Always Going Here

Despite the false front of compassion used by the Left, abortion advocates were always headed to the place that this Florida Planned Parenthood woman is endorsing. She believes in post birth abortion aka murder. Here she is making her case to the Florida legislature.

Alisa LaPolt Snow, a lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, shocked Florida lawmakers earlier this week when she argued for a right to post-birth abortion, the Weekly Standard reported.

Snow told legislators that her organization believes the decision to kill a child who survives a failed abortion should be left up to the woman and her abortion provider.

The comments were made during a hearing on the “Infants born alive” bill introduced in the Florida legislature.

Culture of death anyone?

Finger Play

An angry Dutch speed skater was disqualified after he was seen flipping off his winning Russian competitor. Here it is:

People rightly say it was unsportsmanlike. It was a childish thing to do. That reminded me of another childish person’s attempt to express his displeasure with Republican opposition:

Nothing was said about this display by the mainstream media, though. Too bad he wasn’t disqualified.

Vitter Switch a Sign?

National Review reports that Senator David Vitter (R-La) is going to run for governor next year. Bobby Jindal is term limited, so the door is open to another candidate.

Vitter has been in the Senate for two terms. Perhaps he is growing tired of the fight with Democrats in the capital or perhaps he doesn’t think he could get reelected in the current climate because he is not conservative enough.

Ace of Spades suggests “conservative insurgents are winning the battle of ideas within the GOP.” He might be right, if you’ll pardon the pun. In a red state, people expect a red blooded Republican candidate to act that way when he goes to D.C. Vitter can also run without giving up his Senate seat.

A November poll evidently put Vitter significantly ahead of his closest opponent in the primary.

Here’s Vitter’s statement:

Now wouldn’t it be interesting if Bobby Jindal decided to take his spot in the Senate?

Take a Bow, Mo

Memphian Mo Bridges is a fantastic ambassador for our city. The 12-year-old started his business of bow ties three years ago. It has taken off, largely because of the hard work and enthusiasm of Mo.

Stuart Varney of Fox Business asked his viewers to name the most interesting company of 2013. They picked Mo. Here he is on the show:

This little boy has shown many in our city the way to go and the virtues of entrepreneurship and a free market. You go Mo!

Varney & Common Cents

If you get Fox Business channel, you’ve probably come to appreciate Stuart Varney. If you don’t, he’s a reason to subscribe!

He’s a Brit who became an American. Although he has elf like charm and sophistication, he lives on a farm in New Jersey and is the father of six. He’s a very grounded person. He kids the other reporters who spend their money getting whipped cream lattes for $5 at Starbucks. He prefers getting the senior discount coffee at McDonald’s. I like that.

This clip celebrates the fourth anniversary of his show, Varney & Co., but it’s what he says about economic experts that made me applaud. Take a look: