I am a Civil Servant

in Chutzpah, Debt Reduction, Debts, deficit, Government, Pensions

I keep hearing from various media outlets and bloggers how much money is wasted on the Government and such, and inevitably out of these discussions comes statements about the typical Civil Servant, and I now feel that I have the right to comment on this stuff (having worked in both the Private (for 25 years) and now the Public Sector (almost 10 years)).

Let’s go over a few of the more interesting points that some folks seem to have an opinion about:

  • I am  paid by your taxes, but I also pay taxes. One media outlet seemed to be implying that a Civil Servant doesn’t pay taxes, but I can assure you, I pay taxes just like everyone. No free ride here.
  • Pretty much everybody can easily figure out from information readily available how much I make. This is disconcerting, since when I worked for Nortel, people could guess but they couldn’t be sure they knew how much I made.
  • Someone does drive me into work in the morning (these days). However, he or she works for OC Transpo. I don’t get limousine rides to work every day (yes, someone asked me that exact question when they heard I worked in the government). Never mention parking to a Civil Servant though (that is a mess at all levels of government).
  • Are all Civil Servants lazy? Let’s not go there on this one, let’s just say I have seen good and bad in both the Public and Private sector, and leave it at that. Some might argue I am a Lazy Sod, so maybe you shouldn’t ask me?

From what I can tell, a lot of misconceptions folks have about Civil Servants (or Public Servants) seems to come from the perks that Members of Parliament get.

The major issue I keep hearing is that I have a “gold-plated free pension”, which is an interesting fallacy, that again comes from the MP side of things. Yes, I have a very nice pension (that many people do not have, so I do realize having a pension is a huge benefit). The pension was negotiated with an elected government, but is in no way “free” to me. I pay a great deal of money into the Pension Plan, and will more likely have to pay more soon, to keep this privilege, but I did have this same privilege when I was at Nortel (until it all fell apart).

Yes, the taxpayer pays for part of my pension, but that is because they are the folks bankrolling my employer (i.e. the Federal Government), so again, I am kind of paying into that too.

Unlike Members of Parliament, Civil Servants take 35 years to get a “full” pension. Members of Parliament get a FULL pension after 6 years (oh and I don’t think they put much money in on their side either).

A Civil Servants “full” pension can be calculated as (assuming they work for 35 years in the Civil Service).

70% of an average of your 5 best years salary, which is then discounted by how much CPP you will get paid (once you are CPP eligible)  {simple isn’t it ?}

Big Deal You Are Still Better Off Than Most Canadians!

What’s the point of all of this? Just me venting at some of the more asinine commentaries I have seen on the Media and in the Blogosphere lately. I am ready to discuss whatever points you like on the topic of the Civil Service and it’s Pension system.

As an addendum a very well written article which helps clarify things is Michael James The Consequences of Keeping Bad Employees which talks about the biggest issue in the Public Service (IMHO).

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