Fraser to retire as Pleasanton police chief

30 years on the job, including last 3 years as chief

Police Chief Michael Fraser will retire Nov. 12 as head of the Pleasanton Police Department after 30 years on the job, including the last three as chief.

Fraser is Pleasanton's fifth chief of police, appointed to the position in 2007 by City Manager Nelson Fialho and succeeding Chief Tim Neal, who retired that year. His annual salary currently is $200,000.

Fraser came up through the ranks, joining the Pleasanton police force in 1980 when it had 29 officers. Today, there are 84 officers on the force.

During the course of his career, he had a broad array of assignments including patrol officer, field training officer, detective sergeant and SWAT commander. He was also the fourth motorcycle officer in the Pleasanton police department's history.

Fraser introduced the E-911 service to Pleasanton in 2007. This service allows residents with cell phones to punch in 9-1-1 during an emergency and have the call go directly to the Pleasanton Police Department rather than a California Highway Patrol call center based in Vallejo. The change speeds up the local response time to an emergency by contacting Pleasanton police first during an emergency.

"Mike Fraser has been an exemplary chief of police," Fialho said. "His depth into the community cannot be understated. He really embraced community policing and played a major role in the quality of life that we enjoy in Pleasanton."

"Chief Fraser has evolved the police department to align with the needs of the population, and his forward thinking has led to the implementation of a new dispatch system that expedites incoming calls, and specialized training for our officers, particularly in the area of diversity," Fialho added.

When he first joined the Pleasanton police force as a patrol officer in 1980, Fraser found a Pleasanton that was in the middle of a major economic boom, largely associated with the development of Hacienda Business Park.

Stoneridge Shopping Center was under construction and preparing to open in nine months with the original anchor stores of Macy's, Emporium Capwell, and JC Penney. The average family income was $30,000 and Pleasanton's population of just over 35,000 residents was experiencing rapid change.

"Pleasanton went from a small town bedroom community to a well balanced mid-sized city over the past 30-plus years that I have worked here," Fraser said.

"There is a vast difference between the 'then' and 'now' aspect of my career," he added.

"In 1980, the police department was housed in what is now the Museum On Main with a locker room, briefing room, report writing room, and lunch room," he recalled. "We kept track of all calls with paper and pencil. Everything was done manually."

Fraser has a bachelor's degree from the University of San Francisco and a Master's degree from Cal Poly University, Pomona. He graduated from Command College in 1996 and the FBI National Academy in 2001.

He has lived in Pleasanton for more than 27 years with his wife Diane. They have two daughters, Valerie and Stacie.

Fialho said recruitment for Fraser's successor will begin immediately with the final selection probably occurring in the March/April timeframe.

In the meantime, interim command will be provided by the department's two police captains, Eric Finn and Dave Spiller.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Oct 29, 2010 at 8:10 am

Not to be rude, but how old is Mr. Fraser and what will his taxpayer funded retirement pension and benefits be worth, annually? And how much of that did he pay for with paycheck deductions, vs. how much will city residents have to support out of future tax payments?

Note: I'm not really trying to pick on Mr. Fraser. The whole public pension system needs to be questioned, from the city level through the federal level. But this provides an example that is close at hand.

Like this comment
Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Oct 29, 2010 at 9:38 am

Einstein is a registered user.


As the article says he started in 1980 and currently makes $200,000 dollars per year, so that means he has 30 years worth of service and looks like he is in his early 50's so based on California's 3 point retirement system he will receive a minimum of $180,000 dollars per year plus COLA increases per year for the rest of his life plus 100% medical, dental, and vision. The reason all of these guys are retiring now is because they are aware that the pension plan have to be reduced and soon and if they have retired they may not be impacted. I wonder how many ex police, fire, and city managers we are still on the retirement hook for?

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Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Oct 29, 2010 at 10:32 am

GX is a registered user.

The NPV of just his pension (not including medical) is somewhere between $4.5-5 MILLION assuming he lives as long as the general population. THIS IS NOT A SUSTAINABLE SITUATION!

Pleasanton pension costs are increasing dramatically and will only continue to do so because of actions like this. Retirement costs now eat up 9% of the budget and are growing at 10%/year as the overall budget remains flat or goes down.

In the meantime, city management and the City Council are trying to ignore this problem because it is politically difficult to address.

PLEASE WAKE UP AND SPEAK UP!!! Otherwise we will continued to be gamed and city services will continue to decrease.

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Posted by DJohns
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

Three years in the position? He is a very young man, we will be paying his very high pension for a very long time. Even if he had been with Pleasanton for many years he should not have been put in a position just so he could retire with the highest pension.

It is irresponsible to hire top salary earners at the end of their careers. There should be a minimum commitment of years to receive such a high pension.

We are racking up retired top earners who we will be paying high pensions to for 20-30 years each.

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Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:11 pm

GX is a registered user.

Assuming Mr. Fraser is 55 and he lives to 82 (Calper's estimate), Pleasanton is obligated to pay him $4.9 Million dollars - assuming he has not gamed the system and spiked his last year's compensation. This does not include the medical benefits he will receive.

And City management and the City Council is doing nothing about this hoping people won't notice or the problem will go away.

Keep this in mind as your taxes/fees go up and your services decrease.

Shame on Nelson and others for not dealing with this sooner. But of course they too will benefit from this unsustainable situation if people continue to ignore it.

Like this comment
Posted by captain
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 31, 2010 at 2:26 am

captain is a registered user.

If the chief was earning 200K his earnings for his retirement calculations would be much more then you think. The Calpers plan breaks the pension contribution into two parts: the "employee" contribution (typically 9% for public safety), and the "employer" contribution. The employer contribution in Pleasanton is something I'll have to guess at for the moment because the Calpers website is currently down. I'll conservatively guesstimate the number at 24%, although I've seen numbers between 18-45%.

In Pleasanton employees do NOT pay in to social security (6.2%), but they do pay into medicare (1.45% and that is matched by the city - and that is standard). The private sector employee has the entire 7.65% (SSI)deducted from their paycheck which is matched by the employer.

Here is how Pleasanton differs; employees contribute nothing to their pension. They don't have any Social Security deductions from their check nor do they contribute a penny toward their pension. In the scenario I've described the taxpayers "pick-up" the entire tab. "Pick-up" is the language used by Calpers and also what is probably stated in the employee MOU's (contracts). There is a big issue when the city (taxpayers) "pick-up" the employee pension contribution and this has an impact on the chiefs pension. BTW, the 200K salary costs the taxpayers (9% +24%) 33%. That's 66K per year the city contributes to the pension, on top of the 200K and much, much more.

Here is the CRAZY part. Under calpers rules the Chief gets to claim the 9% of the "employee" contribution, which the taxpayers have paid for him, as income in the final year of his employment. What that means is he gets to add 9% to the 200K for a total of 218K in pensionable income. So if you were to calculate his pension at 90% he would retire at 196K, instead of 180K, with a 2% cost of living increase each year (calculate that). Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'm done. There are other items that are considered pensionable income which could increase the pension amount. I won't go into detail unless someone asks, but I will list the items that are pensionable income: holiday pay could add 6%, uniform allowance becomes part of the pension, car allowance of 500 dollars per month (6K per year) could add $5400 per year to the pension, healthcare buyback could end up costing the same as the car allownce. And there is also the issue of sick leave buyback that can buy service time or get paid asa termination cash out.

The only other city I'm aware of that pays the pension contribution for all employees is Palo Alto, and I think they are ending the practice. Another issue for cities that use this practice is it tends to make compensation appear less then what it really is. Employees use that to justify increased wages.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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