Town Square

Retirement Benefit Excesses of California Public Employees (Refreshed)

Original post made by No Fear, Civic Square, on May 12, 2009

This has been the most active thread over the past week and deserves a refresh...

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Posted by Pepper Shaker
a resident of Rosepointe
on May 12, 2009 at 11:37 am

The "spiking" of retirement has been done many times by fire and police chiefs. The San Ramon case is the most crass I have ever read about.

There are also "double dipper" police and fire chiefs. A subject not broached in this thread. One such is locally employed. Supposedly retired out of LA City with a LA City Retirement and is gorging himself towards a CALPERS Retirement (5 years to be eligible), hence he will have two retirements. A law should prevent that but you can thank city managers who hire these pigs and councils who pay them.

One thought is if you sit behind a desk and don't actively do policing or firefighting you should get a lesser percentage retirement. Boy, would these managers holler! The fat salary they get paid could be spent on some insurance or other investment type vehicle since they pull down a hefty wage for "paper shuffling". Chances are they are healthy and just getting fat while working a four day week. Yeah, look into everyother Friday or Monday off because many Managers work "odd hours" at $120,000 and up salaries---go figure.

The various city workers choose their profession but so do Managers and long hours are tied to Management in both Public and the Private Sectors.

Lastly there are cities who are at times Superfunded which means they pay nothing to CALPERS. I have been told Pleasanton has been in that category a few times. No tax dollars spent. Investment results were steller so cities didn't have to make payment.

The "common" city worker deserves a fair pension and a fair wage. We have great employees. I believe most are in a job category where "spiking" is impossible--leave it to a Manager such as the San Ramon Fire Chief, to get a ridiculous package.

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Posted by slash waste and fraud
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Pepper Shaker,

Great comments!

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Posted by concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Pepper Shaker, I believe we have spiking here in ptown. First we have a city attorney that has announced retirement and then the council is voting to give him a raise AND make it retroactive. That is to get his last year's salary higher, resulting in a higher pension.

Somebody should ask the city for a list of employees who have been saving up their sick or vacation time as I believe the sick and vacation time can be cashed in on the last year which then increases your "salary" for that year, resulting in higher pensions. Somebody showed me a list a long time ago of saved time (they got that through the freedom of information act I believe), and there were people on that list that have accumulated over 6 months of sick or vacation time. They were just waiting to use this in their last year of employment. I have no idea how anybody can accumulate that much time but it was done.

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I am very happy that all the people on this Blog are finally getting on to the huge ripoff of the taxpayers by the Public employees. I have called the City council members and the City manager re: this. All the retirment plans and retiree medical plans have to be rewritten including all existing employees and (Maybe) retirees. If we need to declare bankruptcy to do this then that is what needs to be done. I have been talking about this for years but the City management and council members blithely ignore this. It is a vicious circle. The unions control the council and city management. No one is looking after the taxpayer.

Call the council members and the manager about the retroactive increase in the City attorney's salary to boost his pension etc. If this is not retroactively changing option prices, which put people in jail, I don't know what is. We need to roll back all pensions that were boosted by using vacation time and other artificial means.

Please go to the Council meeting next Tuesday to voice your opinion re: the City Attorney salary boost and support the council members that oppose it. It is about time the taxpayers fight back against abusing the system. California is bankrupt and Pleasanton is headed fast that way unless we change the public sector salaries and benefits.

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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 2:19 pm

We need to get a city referendum on the ballot about these pensions.

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Posted by Enough Already
a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on May 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm


I agree. The canard is that if we don't pay whatever these people demand, we won't attract the best and brightest to work in our city -be it city government or the school district. I say nonsense. A fair salary and a fair non-defined benefit package are what's called for. the excess pay trend over the past 10 years must come to an end.

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Agreed. Let us get a referendum and explain how we are headed very fast into bankruptcy. The federal govt. is bankrupt too but they don't know it as they can print paper. Once the world stop buying this worthless paper things will collapse. May not be too far off.

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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Oh the old battle cry if we don't pay top dollar then we cannot get the best. Let me tell you that we can find good and great talent by paying a good and fair wage and benefits, not by bankrupting the city on the backs of people trying to get by.

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Posted by I can't hear 'em
a resident of Del Prado
on May 12, 2009 at 9:21 pm

The silence of the pro-union crowd is absolutely deafening!

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

I think PW software geeks need to restrict posts such as this one. Cut and paste should not be permitted unless it is limited in extent.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm


me think you want to silence the voices of truth.........

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Posted by No Fear
a resident of Civic Square
on May 13, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Please read this important lead editorial in the May 13, 2009 Contra Costa Times. It validates the position of proponents of this thread:

Web Link

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Posted by Point a finger and three point back
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 14, 2009 at 10:11 am

I wish we would all hold our elected representatives accountable.

For all of you who have year-over-year elected tax and spenders and voted for bond measure-after-bond measure and countless well intended (or not) social welfare programs via our direct-democracy experiment called the ballot initiative process, I urge you to stop, take a look in the mirror and repeat after me:

"I am directly responsible for this mess".

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Posted by interesting fact
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Nobody was complaining about the DEFINED retirement plan when the stock market was climbing high and the private sector was RAKING it in.

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Posted by Change we need to believe in!
a resident of Downtown
on May 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm

interesting fact: The world is a much different place than it was even one year ago. Please don't say don't say nobody was complaining. I've been sounding the alarm within my circle of influence for years. Steve Brozosky and many others have sounded the alarm over time. The point is, something needs to be done now.

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Posted by J.L. Thorpe
a resident of Rosewood
on May 14, 2009 at 2:08 pm

interesting fact, the private sector is all about risk/reward. That's capitalism.

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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on May 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm

interesting fact,

Nothing is guaranteed in life and that goes for retirement as well or at least how you will live when you retire. I invested very conservatively in my 401K and did not make as much as others but on the other hand did not lose as much as other either. Honestly, when the average age at death is 80 and climbing unless someone has some affliction then they should not be able to retire at 50 and expect everyone else to support them. The days of the new deal/great society are over and we will need to be frugal again. The issues coming are far bigger than measure G or pensions for that matter.

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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on May 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Einstein is a registered user.


excellent posts and points. At the end of the day it will be about affordability and if it is needed. I suspect that we are going the wrong way here by increasing taxes on everything and drying up liquidity. If we continue to tax at this rate and build up this huge debt then we will be looking at hyper inflation as there will not be enough cash to go around. Therefore, our current savings rate yields of 1-2% will be driven up like they were in the Carter years to 12-15% and the individuals rewarded will be the rich. Afterall, do the math and you can see that they more money you have in the bank the higher the yield and the ones punished will be the ones with credit card debt and flexible mortgages. We should be significantly reducing individual tax rates as well as taxes on corporations to infuse cash and spending back into the economy and encourage hiring.

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Posted by Standing up for Public Safety
a resident of Ruby Hill
on May 20, 2009 at 11:19 am

Just as many of you have stated "You chose to become a cop or firefighter knowing the dangers you would encounter". We have also all chosen to work in the private sector. How much sense does it make to complain about there wages, benefits, and retirement? It is like buying a car that does 14 miles a gallon and later complaining that someone else's car does 28 miles per gallon when you were fully aware and educated prior to you buying the car. We have the same opportunity and abilities to work the jobs they do and in turn receive the same pay, benefits, and pensions. All everyone sounds like is a bunch of whiney kids mad because they don't have what others have. Go out and work for it!


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2009 at 11:32 am

Standing up for Public Safety, you have missed the point completely.

First, you analogy isn’t accurate. It’s more like this: we, the taxpaying, voting citizens of California agreed to a vehicle (all government services and employees) that gets 35 miles to the gallon. We also agreed to pay $15,000 for the vehicle. Pretty reasonable, we probably all agree. Now, we come to find that year-over -year, the efficiency of that vehicle is not now nor has it ever been 35 mpg – more like 12 mpg and declining steadily every year. And wait, the price was more like $38,000 and that price is steadily increasing over time, to the point where the path we’re on is UNSUSTAINABLE.

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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on May 20, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Standing up,

big difference. Public sector does not fund the private sector therefore the private sector should get a say so as to how their tax dollars are spent.

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Posted by Take a breath
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm

It's sad to see the attacks on City of Pleasanton employees posted on this blog. It is true these employees became civil service postions with the hope of advancement of position, pay and benefits. It is also true that those selecting Public Safety postions were aware of the hazards associated with them. Many were ex-military who understood, and were comfortable with, the semi-militaristic environments of the PD and FD. This should not be looked upon as a sign of weakness or incompetence. They could have performed well in the private sector but elected to serve you instead.

We all understand that the current economic downturn has created an uprecedented hardship on all of us. The employees of Pleasanton will in the near future face difficult contract negotiations. And I would submit these discussions will entertain salary and benefit adjustments.

To propose attacking current retirees and their benefits is naive and short sighted. Your responses were, I assume, generated by the above mentioned $100K/year CalPERS retirees. Please note they are a small minority. Also, with such a wide-sweeping proposal you would crush those achieving a far smaller pension. If your intent is to punish those that served you when times were good your mission would be accomplished. If what I read is driven by envy, again mission accomplished. These folks' income was absolutely no issue to the citizenry for decades. Now that we arrived at this economic disaster we attack the undefended. It's a bit like eating your young.

Indeed their are reductions in budgets to be made by the City. They always try to do so without reducing YOUR service levels. I would like you to reflect on your position a bit. Before you raise the flag and behead the city employees consider the far reaching ramifications of your decision.