Description: Designed as a comprehensive overview of public sector compensation, the book addresses strategies for change, with the author warning that failure of the profession to address this issue will ultimately lead to citizens taking matters into their own hands. The author's issues-oriented approach addresses his core message--that the escalation of public sector compensation is impacting the ability of government to meet its core responsibility and the failure of government to address this has serious consequences. Not just a critique, the book presents context, analysis, and suggestions for reform.
Reilly outlines specific plans for reform, including more openness; education and engagement of the public; state-level reforms governing the awarding of increases for public sector compensation plans; eliminating outdated vestitures of public sector compensation such as longevity pay, payments for sick leave accumulated upon termination, and automatic cost-of-living adjustments; and adoption of pay-for-performance programs and one-time bonus awards for meritorious performance, among others.
Two unique and valuable features of the book are the author's detailed model of public-versus-private sector compensation, constructed to gauge the cost of lifetime compensation, and his model of the "Iron Triangle" to illustrate how elected politicians, management and labor representatives engage in nontransparent discussions involving public pay and benefits.
1. Phantom Prosperity: The Great Recession
2. Seniority Rules: The Civil Service System
3. (Public) Workers of the United States Unite! Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector
4. Public Versus Private: Who Really Makes More?
5. Comparison of Lifetime Earnings
6. Pensions Gone Wild!
7. Rethinking Public Sector Employment
Comment(s): "Thom Reilly's penetrating study is both practically plainspoken and broadly and deeply informed academically. It is enriched by his rare combination of years of state civil service in the trenches; topmost metropolitan county manager performance; intergovernmental and public/private experience; and public higher education administration, research, teaching, and community service. As a result, this is an essential study for public policy officials, civic leaders, and professional administrators as well as a choice textbook for today's most urgent human resources challenge." -- Chester A. Newland, Emeritus Duggan Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, University of Southern California and Former Director, Federal Executive Institute
"Thom Reilly's thoughtful analysis of the shift in culture and compensation in the public sector reveals nuances that only a long-standing, executive-level civil servant could provide. This informed perspective, coupled with insightful and balanced analysis, provides a uniquely comprehensive look at one of the most critical issues of our day. Rethinking Public Sector Compensation should be required reading for policy-makers, students, and individuals who desire clear information from which to guide opinions, and legislative and regulatory changes." -- Heather H. Murren, CFA, Former Commissioner, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
"Public employee compensation is a hot topic. Taxpayers know intuitively that something's not quite right. Yet it's so complex, it can't be spelled out in simple terms. Thom Reilly has managed to explain it, drawing on his varied career experience. He's used his knowledge of the public and private sectors, and his nonprofit background, to turn out an objective discussion of the public employees, their unions, and the relationships elected officials have with both. Taxpayers, who pick up the tab for all of it, will appreciate this concise look at the politics and archaic policies that govern public employee compensation. The book is a must-read for elected officials, students of government, and anyone who pays taxes." -- Carole Vilardo, President, Nevada Taxpayers Association
"Reilly offers a thoughtful breakdown of the intensely debated and complex issue of public sector compensation. He presents insightful analysis on policies that could help relieve the stranglehold that these types of financial obligations have placed on the ability of governments across the country to effectively serve the public interest. Reilly is uniquely qualified to offer a thorough perspective on public employee pension funds and compensation practices, the effect that funding these obligations are having on government, and policy changes that could work towards alleviating this burden. He offers practical and common sense solutions that are rightly centered on the public interest. This book is highly recommended to those concerned about the ability of government to deliver core public services." -- Sig Rogich, President, The Rogich Communications Group and Former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland and Assistant to the President for President George H.W. Bush
Review(s): "Reilly offers the first truly serious background and analysis on the subject since the beginning of the fiscal crisis that brought it to the national attention to begin with. His excellent book should be required reading for everyone with an interest in the public sector compensation debate, which, as it turns out, happens to be all of us." -- The Nevada Review
"This is an excellent, unbiased analysis of the public and private compensation system in the United States. The author provides a detailed analysis and uses a model that is easily understood by the lay reader. His recommendations are clear and defensible. I highly recommend the book for students in graduate-level courses in human resources as well as for elected officials who are interested in bringing about positive change in government." -- Journal of Public Affairs Education