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County Pensions Pay More Than Original Salaries

Written by Gary North on April 27, 2012

California’s government borders at the brink of bankruptcy. It refuses to cut spending. But counties put the state to shame.

In 20 counties, there is a practice called pension spiking. Senior bureaucrats arrange their final years to generate so much income that their monthly retirement checks are greater than their salaries were.

The Los Angeles times reported on the head of one county who was paid $227,000 a year. She cashed in $34,000 in vacation pay, added an $11,000 bonus for having earned a graduate degree, and found  more than $24,000 in extra pension benefits.

She will be paid $272,000 a year until she dies.

This is common practice at the top of the heap.

The counties refuse to release data on who is getting what. They claim it is too difficult to assemble this information.

Budgeting, anyone?

The reporter did discover this.

In Ventura County, where the pension system is underfunded by $761 million, 84% of the retirees receiving more than $100,000 a year are receiving more than they did on the job. In Kern County, 77% of retirees with pensions greater than $100,000 a year are getting more now than they did before.

Nice work if you can get it, and if you get it, tell me how.

Most employees do not get in on the deal They retire on $32,500 a year on average for 30 years of service. But at the top, bureaucrats plan ahead.For those who plan ahead, there are numerous ways to spike salaries in the last year of work. In fact, there are 60 categories of payments that Ventura County employees can convert to cash.

A former sheriff added a $30,500 “longevity” bonus (for working more than 30 years), which boosted his pension to $272,000 a year, almost 20% higher than his base salary.

An undersheriff added nearly $92,600 in unused vacation time, resulting in a $257,997-a-year pension, nearly 30% above his working pay. Many county retirees also are entitled to annual cost-of-living adjustments. . . .

County firefighters and sheriff’s deputies can boost their pensions by layering premium pay and end-of-career cash-outs on top of salary. A fire captain increased his final year’s pay by nearly $130,000, resulting in a pension 84% higher than his base compensation. He gets $159,598 a year in retirement pay.

The Times ran an article on this a year ago. Nothing was done. It is not in the self-interest of senior managers to change the system.

This has been going on for decades. I knew a high school teacher who did this in the five years before he retired. That was in 1985. He did not increase his salary by much, but by teaching an extra class a day, he added thousands of dollars a year, as he told me at the time.

For details, click the link.

Continue Reading on www.latimes.com

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9 thoughts on “County Pensions Pay More Than Original Salaries

  1. sean murry says:

    Greedy crooks withe fruits in there.

  2. PENSIONS SHOULD NEVER BE MORE THAN WHAT YOU MADE WHILE YOU WERE WORKING, IT WOULD BE NICE BUT NOT REAL, ITS REDICULOUS.

  3. Nobody should recieve a $272,000 pension at the tax payers expense when most get about $15,000 on Social Security. Goverment Pension's State, County or Federal should have a cap at $50,000. My Dad made about $60,000 to $ 75,000 a year plastering swimming pools for 40 years his Social Security check is a measly $1600 a month. You tell how is this fair since these Democrats demand fairness.

  4. I was hoping California would be seceeding from the union.

  5. teacherss should tell us just work for the government like me life will be fine.

  6. Pensions should be based on BASE salary without the add ons, overtime, vacation pay saved up for years, etc. The FACT that the public in California remains ignorant and tolerant of this theft actually explains more than the numbers themselves do. The people are too lazy to inform themselves, and be INVOLVED in government. Their abdication brings about their ruin. Allow the foxes to guard the henhouse, the foxes will get fat… at the expense of the hens. Even Chicken LIttle had the guts to say something……. Californians seem to be of two types….. comatose (victims), or emigrants. Soon enough, there will be no more hens to feed the foxes. Then the foxes will have to leave or starve. They will be unemployable elsewhere, though. Their starvation will suit them well. Something like desserts. Just ones.

  7. Colonialgirl says:

    When I was working, The estimate was that in retirement you would only require approximately 80% of the amount you made while working and THAT included Social Security. There should be no way that government employees are making as much or more than their BASE pay check and even then it should be limited to 80%.

  8. Gkloria Wedemeyer says:

    It';s time for the people in California to wake up, and if they don't let them deal with the problem.

  9. rootcause says:

    Who pays for this? WE DO.