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Public employee pensions higher than advertised

Original post made by Fact Checker 2, Amador Valley High School, on Feb 9, 2011

Did anyone else see this article about the pension rates quoted by unions and politicians (~@,2200/month) vs. what reality is (~2.5 to 3 times higher). I was taken in by this recently and now know more.

Check this out and make sure you understand any assumptions that others are using as lots of misleading information out there. The rates quoted by most include:
- blend of new employees as well as career employees
- older rate schedules and not latest for someone retiring today

Pls be sure you have apples and apples assumptions so you do not get fooled like I was. If anyone has most recent data for someone retiring today and only for career workers with 30-35 yrs service,so we can understand apples for apples, please share with us.

Here is the article:
Daniel Borenstein: Public employee pensions much higher than advertised, 2/5/11 (Oakland tribune)

(Copyrighted story from another newspaper removed.)

Comments (8)

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Posted by t_time
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2011 at 11:51 am

Good read. Thanks for the pointer.

Here's the link: Web Link

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Posted by factchecker2
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Thank you so much for posting the link and your note.

If anyone has up-to-date data for Pleasanton career workers who retiree today after 30 years, please share with all. Thank you.

Like this comment
Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm


Tomorrow I'll post the numbers for both you and truthputz. They will be much different from the CalPERS numbers.

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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2011 at 7:20 am

I have repeatedly requested this recent retiree information from the city but they have not published it yet. I suspect recent average retirements are much higher than the historical average of $27K/person. Remember the $27K includes people who retired many years ago and those individuals who worked a short period of time for the city.

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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2011 at 11:10 am

Yes, lots of misleading numbers out there (on both sides).

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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

From the Daniel Borenstein article:

“IN THE statewide debate over public employee pensions, there are few numbers more misleading and misused than the average benefit for retirees of the California Public Employees' Retirement Association.

CalPERS loves to circulate the statistic. So do politicians and unions representing workers. "Twenty-five hundred dollars a month is the average state employee pension," state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a member of the CalPERS board, told a UC Berkeley conference of academics and journalists last month.

As the public pension debate heats up in coming weeks, you will certainly hear that more often. Indeed, there's a corollary number that pulls even harder on the heartstrings. When the pensions of local government employees covered by CalPERS are added in, the average pension is $2,220 a month.

It leaves the impression that the average public employee now retires after a full career into a life of poverty, living off less than $27,000 a year. That's simply not so.”

Calpers is essentially a 200 Billion dollar instrument of the unions used to push their own agenda. It really isn’t all their money but don’t try to tell them that. The board is comprised mostly of union members, with a couple of appointed positions that are democrats that the unions control. In the Pleasanton “White Paper” the members of the two county pension task force actually acknowledge this as an issue. SB400 was a union effort to redistribute the excess pension funding (128.5% at the time) to union members. They used CalPERS as their lobbyist to get this accomplished - and they were able to do so by claiming it wouldn’t cost a penny for at least a decade - using projections of the Dow reaching 25,000 by 2009. They were just a bit overoptimistic with those projections and now their funding level is about 63%. Unfortunately they still cant be trusted. They, CalPERS are still promoting their campaign of misinformation and blatant lies.

While there are many examples of the CalPERS campaign of misinformation, including the news story that spawned this thread, I will use CalPERS own lies to make my point. They, because of intense criticism, started a section on the CalPERS website called CalPERS responds: Myth vs. Facts. I consider the following a blatant lie but I’ll let you decide for yourselves. From CalPERS:

Myths vs. Facts

Myth: Government workers don’t contribute to their pensions; taxpayers are on the hook to pay those costs.

January 12, 2010


All government workers contribute to their CalPERS pensions. For state employees, the range is five to eight percent of their monthly earnings; for public agencies it is five to nine percent. While the vast majority pay five percent, firefighters, peace officers, and the CHP pay eight percent.

Web Link

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Posted by bob123
a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Let get something straight-- public employee salaries,benefits and pensions will not go away or get significantly smaller until we, the general public, finally realize that we can not expect government to take care of everything in our lives. When we ask government to make daily decisons on what,where and how we eat, what health care we will receive, provide us with money when we don't or won't work, ask the govenment to pick up the litter we drop, expect every kid in America to go to college free and to live in a MacMansion --then and only then will we stop paying thru the nose and stop being ripped off by those who are supposed to be "serving " the public.

Like this comment
Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Government Employees are not "serving" the public. They are "working" for the public. We pay good money in taxes and expect the money will be spent wisely. It should not be up to the employees to say they can rip us off but the unions have allowed them to do so.

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

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