Viewpoints: When it comes to pensions, we can’t afford to party like it’s 1999
April 16th, 2012

If public employees agree to split the cost of their retirement plans with taxpayers, the savings would begin immediately and at every level of government, from the state general fund to the local mosquito abatement district. Public employee unions can … Continue reading

Salary ‘spiking’ drains public pension funds, analysis finds
March 27th, 2012

Approaching retirement, Ventura County Chief Executive Marty Robinson was earning $228,000 a year. To boost her pension, which would be based on her final salary, Robinson cashed out nearly $34,000 in unused vacation pay, an $11,000 bonus for having earned … Continue reading

Viewpoints: California must address leaks in budget before raising taxes
March 27th, 2012

In an effort to preserve existing services, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a temporary tax increase to generate new revenue of $9 billion per year for seven years. The Legislative Analyst’s Office says the proposed tax increase will yield less. … Continue reading

Daniel Borenstein: Public-pension fund assumptions put future generations at financial risk
March 27th, 2012

The recent debate at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System over expected future investment earnings missed the forest for the trees. The nation’s largest pension plan, and most government retirement programs across the state and nation, set contribution rates based … Continue reading

$100,000 Pension Club Update: Mike Luery
November 3rd, 2011

A three-month investigation by CBS 13 reveals the list of retired government workers collecting six-figure pensions has grown by more than 3,000 names in the past year. Citrus Heights accountant Marcia Fritz has been crunching the numbers. “There’s over 12,000 … Continue reading

LA Times Op-Ed: Marcia Fritz
November 3rd, 2011

One way or another, California will get public pension reform. When the governor and every expert who has looked at the books use the word “unsustainable” to describe California’s public pension systems, they’re not kidding. If the Legislature doesn’t fix … Continue reading

Press Release: Public Employee Unions Misrepresent Pension Reform Analysis
August 15th, 2011

A group representing several large public employee unions released a statement last week that mischaracterizes comments by California’s two largest public pension systems about a study of pension reform issues by California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. Continue reading

KXTV News 10 Video: Comparing public retirements to private
August 5th, 2011

The debate over public pension reform is about to get even hotter. California’s state and local government workers make salaries similar to those at large private-sector employers, but get significantly higher retirement benefits. Continue reading

CFFR’s Marcia Fritz: Fix pensions and we won’t have to fire teachers
July 7th, 2011

California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility President Marcia Fritz: California taxpayers would save billions of dollars that would flow to public schools, community colleges and universities if state and local public employees retired with benefits comparable to those provided to employees … Continue reading

CFFR’s Maria Fritz: Want to save schools? Fix pension systems
July 7th, 2011

Marcia Fritz, a certified public accountant, is president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. The recession deserves most – but not all – of the blame for the 1,200 layoff notices mailed to Sacramento area teachers this year. You … Continue reading

NY Times: California Teacher Pensions Fall Short of Other Public Workers
July 7th, 2011

As states and cities debate whether benefits can or should be cut back for public workers, a new study suggests some of those workers have a lot more to fight for than others. The study found that public school teachers’ … Continue reading

Gates Says Benefits Costs Hit Schools
July 7th, 2011

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates will step into the national debate over state budgets Thursday with a call for states to rethink their health care and pension systems, which he says stifle funding for public schools. Mr. Gates in an interview … Continue reading

Sacramento County’s Retirement Board Must Release Pension Data at Once
June 10th, 2011

There is no excuse now. The 3rd District Court of Appeal has denied the Sacramento County employee retirement board’s petition for a rehearing of the court’s decision last month, ordering the board to make public the names and pension amounts … Continue reading

California Lifeguards in Hot Water Over Pay and Pensions
June 10th, 2011

He could be working in any major Southern California hospital, with his master’s in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and bachelor’s from UCLA. Instead, Kevin Selna, 33, chose a different public health setting: the beach. Selna, who patrols the coastline … Continue reading

Grand Jury Says Orange County, California Is Keeping Public in Dark on Salaries for Electeds, Department Heads
June 9th, 2011

The County of Orange is leaving the public in the dark about how much its elected officials and top level employees earn and what extra perks are tacked on to their salaries, according to a recently released report by the … Continue reading

$3.9 Million Pension Paid to Salinas, California Hospital Exec Demands Sunshine
June 9th, 2011

Pension payments such as the $3.9 million in supplemental funds to Samuel Downing, retired chief executive of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, have touched off outrage among California legislators, editorial writers, and the public. But the amounts were approved … Continue reading

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Withholds Support for Pension-Reform Deal
June 9th, 2011

On Tuesday, the public policy committee of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce invited Sean Elsbernd, a supervisor, in to talk about the pension reform plan that City Hall announced on May 24, after months of talks with union- and … Continue reading

California Cities Carry Out Pension Changes While Governor Is Still Negotiating
June 9th, 2011

With little public comment and about 15 people in attendance, the City Council of Brea, California, voted unanimously last month to slash pensions for future hires and require current employees to pay as much as 4.5 percent of their salary … Continue reading

Woodland, California Has Hundreds Apply for 8 Firefighter Openings
June 9th, 2011

Woodland’s Fire Department was looking for firefighters on Wednesday, and no one wanted to be the last applicant in line. Doors at Woodland’s Community and Senior Center opened at 5:15 a.m. to allow a line to form for interviews that … Continue reading

Disclosure of San Diego Pension Data Would Put Lives at Risk, Says Retirement Association Exec
June 9th, 2011

Is it worth $1.20 a day for eight months to protect the prosecutor – who convicted scores of violent criminals, including a man who killed his grandmother – from becoming an easy target when those criminals are released and seeking … Continue reading

Sacramento Cops Must Take Pension Rollback or Lose Up to 81 Officers
June 9th, 2011

There is what’s true, what’s real and what must be done. What’s true is that Sacramento doesn’t have enough cops and those cops get paid less than their counterparts in most other law enforcement agencies. What’s real is that Sacramento … Continue reading

Sacramento, California’s Budget Cuts Put Pressure on Police and Fire Unions to Agree to Pension Concessions
June 9th, 2011

With a dramatic vote Tuesday to make unparalleled cuts to police and fire services, the Sacramento City Council stepped up pressure on public safety unions to agree to pension givebacks and other long-term salary concessions. The message: Sacramento can no … Continue reading

California Budget Compromise Doesn’t Address Massive Unfunded Pension Liabilities for Current, Former Employees
June 8th, 2011

Some legislative Republicans are flirting with putting tax increases before voters in return for promised state budgetary reform. Taxpayers should be grateful these few compromise-minded Republicans so far refuse to agree to Gov. Jerry Brown’s additional demand that they approve … Continue reading

US Funding for Future Promises Lags by Trillions
June 8th, 2011

The federal government’s financial condition deteriorated rapidly last year, far beyond the $1.5 trillion in new debt taken on to finance the budget deficit, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The government added $5.3 trillion in new financial obligations in 2010, … Continue reading

Pleasanton, California Pays Off $7.8 Million Toward Its Public Employee Pension Obligations
June 8th, 2011

PLEASANTON — Pleasanton’s recent push to lower its pension obligations took another step forward as the City Council agreed Tuesday to pay off a small portion of its unfunded liability. The council, through its consent calendar, authorized the city manager … Continue reading

As Unions Protest, Oakland Bows Out of Running Museum of California
June 8th, 2011

Oakland — The City of Oakland relinquished control of the Oakland Museum of California in a move Tuesday night that sought to stabilize the museum while saving the city money. Starting July 1, the museum will be entirely run by … Continue reading

San Jose, California and Its Unions May Yet Negotiate Pensions
June 8th, 2011

It looks like parking an RV in front of San Jose City Hall may have worked. On Monday, three city unions in San Jose symbolically parked the RV, telling city leaders to walk 150 steps across the street, encouraing them … Continue reading

Police and Fire Pensions Threaten Local Governments’ Solvency Throughout California
June 8th, 2011

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a four-part series examining the compensation of public safety employees in Orange County. The county Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Fire Authority are hired by many cities to provide police and fire services. … Continue reading

Four times as many public employees receive $100,000 a year pensions compared to 2005
June 8th, 2011

A $100,000-a-year pension for a public employee used to be a benefit enjoyed by only a few top officials; now it is collected by one of every 50 pensioners. The number of public employees who have retired to collect pensions … Continue reading

Pension Reform Playing a Role in California’s Budget Negotiations
June 8th, 2011

GOP lawmakers might agree to let voters weigh in on taxes that are set to expire July 1, in exchange for state spending restrictions, changes to public pensions and new regulatory policies. Gov. Jerry Brown wants to extend the taxes … Continue reading

Oakdale, California Declares Fiscal Emergency
June 7th, 2011

OAKDALE — Voters will decide in the fall whether they want to pay a half-cent more in sales tax to help fund public safety, parks and recreation and other services that city officials say have been cut to the bone. … Continue reading

Redlands, California City Council Should Do the Right Thing on Pay and Pensions
June 7th, 2011

I wanted to elaborate on some comments attributed to me in the May 24 edition of the Daily Facts, from the last Reform Redlands Now meeting. At that meeting, I suggested two possible solutions the city could consider in order … Continue reading

San Jose City Council Cuts Is Own Pay and Perks
June 7th, 2011

After urging city workers to slash their pay and consider ways to shrink their pensions, the San Jose City Council voted Tuesday to swallow the same bitter pill. In an 8-3 vote, the council accepted the 10 percent pay cuts … Continue reading

California Prison Guards Union Locks Up Benefits, Politicians, People
June 7th, 2011

Is the deplorable state of California’s prisons, which has now been underscored by a Supreme Court decision ordering the state to release almost a quarter of its prisoners, the fault of the state prison guards union?  Orange County Federalist Society … Continue reading

Foster City, California Cuts Pension Benefits for Police and Fire New Hires
June 7th, 2011

Foster City has rolled back pension benefits offered to new hires in the police and fire departments to levels not seen since before 1999. Starting January, new public safety hires will be eligible to receive a 2 percent at 50 … Continue reading

Bargaining, Not Balloting, to Fix Oakland, California’s Public Pensions
June 7th, 2011

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has pledged to rein in city worker pensions, a plan that might require going to voters. In San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee, working closely with union leaders, has announced a pension reform plan for voters … Continue reading

Union Protests Napa County, California’s Two-Tier Pension Proposal
June 7th, 2011

Public employees are blasting Napa County’s plans to curb future retirement costs, saying instead that cuts and savings should come from the top. On Tuesday, roughly two dozen members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 — which represents employees … Continue reading

Council in Foster City, California Approves Trailblazing Pension Changes
June 7th, 2011

The Foster City Council has approved a new pension plan for police and firefighters that will save the city $9 million over the next 30 years but could present challenges when it comes to recruitment. The council lavished praise on … Continue reading

San Jose City Council Member Calls Out Crony Democrats on Budget, Pension Reform
June 7th, 2011

In an extraordinarily honest open letter printed in the San Jose Mercury’s editorial page Tuesday, June 7th, San Jose Council Member Sam Liccardo of district #3 chastised fellow democrats for failing to take a responsible position in solving the city’s … Continue reading

CalSTRS surprise: It’s a pension/401(k) ‘hybrid’
June 6th, 2011

Under little-noticed legislation a decade ago, the nation’s second largest public pension fund, CalSTRS, became what is now advocated by several reformers — a “hybrid” combining pensions with a 401(k)-style individual investment plan. CalSTRS was not cited as an example … Continue reading

Public Pensions Operate Under Far Laxer Accounting Rules Than Private Pensions
June 6th, 2011

Government pensions, including CalPERS and the other public pension plans in California, are permitted to use far laxer accounting standards than private pension plans. This allows them to greatly overstate how much money they have and to understate future liabilities, … Continue reading

San Jose, California’s Public Employee Unions Protest Mayor’s Pension Reform Plan
June 6th, 2011

San Jose’s director of employee relations on Monday apologized to union members who say they were caught off guard Friday when a meeting with his office touched on a different topic of pension reform than they were led to believe … Continue reading

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s Bold Stand on Pension Reform
June 6th, 2011

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, declaring his city is facing a state of fiscal emergency, seeks powers to act quickly to solve the problem by amending pension and public sector benefit packages. Some, such as Fox and Hounds blogger Joe … Continue reading

Panel Deserves Credit for Reviewing Marin County Cities’ Pensions
June 5th, 2011

LARKSPUR spent $1.5 million — about 12 percent of last year’s budget — to cover its pension costs. Officials in Marin’s cities and towns are searching for ways to rein in those escalating costs, which are consuming bigger and bigger … Continue reading

Marin Couny Budget Requires $5.6 Million in Spending Cuts, Largely to Offset Rising Pension Costs
June 5th, 2011

Marin County’s budget, which soared for decades before leveling off, is on the way down. Proposing a spending trajectory sure to win a tip of the hat from taxpayers, Marin County Administrator Matthew Hymel has drafted a $441 million budget … Continue reading

The Role of the Prison Guards Union in California’s Troubled Prison System
June 5th, 2011

Jailing is big business. California spends approximately $9 billion a year on its correctional system, and hosts one in seven of the nation’s prisoners. It has the largest prison population of any state. The number of correctional facilities, the amount of compensation … Continue reading

Real Data Needed for California Pension Reform
June 5th, 2011

The pensions received by California’s public employees have erupted into a very hot political issue, so hot that it has become one of the key issues in the state budget stalemate. Scarcely a day passes without some new anecdotal revelation … Continue reading

Pension givebacks for some are hefty
June 4th, 2011

Solana Beach lifeguards have taken the biggest reduction in pension benefits among local government workers in the past two years, according to a survey by The Watchdog of cities, water districts and other public employers. The survey is part of … Continue reading

Setting aside money up front is the key to preventing pension disaster
June 4th, 2011

Much has been written about the public pension problem, but not enough has been written about who is and is not responsible, and who are the victims. Let’s agree that retirement security is a good thing and lacking for far … Continue reading

San Bernardino County Public Employee Unions’ Stance Will Cost Jobs
June 4th, 2011

More job losses are coming to San Bernardino County, thanks to the decisions of two county employee unions. Leaders of the Safety Employees’ Benefit Association, which represents sheriff’s deputies, and the San Bernardino Public Employees Association, which represents most county … Continue reading

Stockton, California Says, ‘We’re No Vallejo, But …’ as Chap. 9 Talk Dogs the Debt-Laden City
June 3rd, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO — Stockton may not exactly be the next Vallejo, but similarities between the two California cities have started people talking. Stockton, located 80 miles east of San Francisco, is more than twice the size of the Bay Area’s … Continue reading

CalPERS Orders Outside Probe of Gifts to Staff
June 2nd, 2011

An investigation is under way at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest public pension fund, into whether dozens of employees received gifts but didn’t report them as required by the state’s disclosure rules. The gifts went to … Continue reading

More Pension Data, Not Less, Is Needed in Sacramento County
June 2nd, 2011

DELAY ON PENSION TRANSPARENCY: 15 DAYS AND COUNTING The number of California Public Employees’ Retirement System pensioners drawing pensions worth $100,000 a year and more is soaring. As The Bee’s Phillip Reese reported Wednesday, the $100,000 pension club has nearly … Continue reading

San Francisco’s pension smackdown
June 2nd, 2011

Two Bay Area billionaires are squaring off in the battle over how to fix the city’s benefits mess. It’s a liberals-only version of the national debate FORTUNE — Michael Moritz and I are sipping dry white wine on a mild … Continue reading

Watsonville strikes deal with police: Tentative agreement cuts pay and pension benefits, saves jobs
June 2nd, 2011

WATSONVILLE – Police officers have agreed to less pay and smaller pensions for new hires in a tentative deal announced by city officials Thursday. The deal, which will go before the City Council on Tuesday for ratification, saves the jobs … Continue reading

In California, Many Police and Firefighters Get $100,000 Pensions
June 2nd, 2011

Efforts to reform California’s public employee pension system got a boost Wednesday from a Sacramento Bee investigation that unearthed some staggering numbers. “Almost 9,000 retirees in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System receive at least $100,000 in annual benefits,” the … Continue reading

California Court Ruling on Sacramento’s Public Pension Data Could Have Broader National Implications
June 2nd, 2011

An an important California legal case touching on secrecy in public employee pension programs, an appellate court has ruled for government transparency and openness, and against efforts to withhold information about taxpayer-financed pension plans. California decisions are frequently precursors to … Continue reading

San Diego County’s Pension Board Has Spent $100,000 Withholding Data on Retirees
June 1st, 2011

San Diego County pension officials spent more than $100,000 over eight months in their legal fight against releasing names of highly-paid retirees and the amounts of their benefits. According to agency data released this week, the San Diego County Employees … Continue reading

Contra Costa grand jury calls for pension reforms
June 1st, 2011

A month before labor contracts with the vast majority of Contra Costa County government workers expire, the county’s civil grand jury has called for sweeping pension reforms that produce rapid dollar savings. “It is not enough to make changes solely … Continue reading

Talks between city of San Jose, cops break down; 156 more layoffs loom
June 1st, 2011

Hopes for a last-minute deal aimed at preventing 156 more San Jose police officers from being laid off at the end of the month faded Wednesday as talks broke down on pension changes. “We understood the stakes involved in these … Continue reading

SF Muni, operators reach tentative contract deal
June 1st, 2011

San Francisco’s public transit agency has reached a tentative deal with its operators on a new contract. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the new Municipal Transportation Agency contract would freeze wages. According to Muni management, it would also require … Continue reading

Roseville, California Faces Rising Pension Tide
June 1st, 2011

Like many municipalities, the City of Roseville faces a pension problem. The city’s annual contribution to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has become a bigger part of the budget in recent years, said Roseville spokeswoman Megan MacPherson. The … Continue reading

Bell and Vernon Cases Put Focus on Pensions of California’s Non-Elected Officials
June 1st, 2011

Under the law, elected officials who are convicted of felonies also lose their pensions. That isn’t so with other public employees. When former Vernon City Administrator Bruce Malkenhorst was convicted of misappropriating public funds last week, the gap between two … Continue reading

California Republicans Promote Costa Mesa as a Pension-Slashing Leader
June 1st, 2011

The Orange County city may lay off half of its workers. The GOP sees it as a local ‘ground zero’ in efforts to curb the collective bargaining powers of public employees. At a recent talk to a roomful of “tea … Continue reading

$100,000 Pension Club of Retired California Public Employees Is Booming
June 1st, 2011

The $100,000 pension club is growing fast. Almost 9,000 retirees in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System receive at least $100,000 in annual benefits, more than quadruple the number getting that much during 2005, according to a Bee review of … Continue reading

San Jose City Council Imposes 10% Pay Cuts on Four Public Employee Unions
May 31st, 2011

On an 8-3 vote that signaled growing impatience with labor battles in the face of a fiscal crisis, the San Jose City Council on Tuesday imposed 10 percent pay and benefit cuts on four unions representing more than half the … Continue reading

It Is California’s Public Employee Unions, Not Pension Reformers, Who Are Distorting the Facts on Benefits
May 31st, 2011

Today’s Sacramento Bee featured a viewpoint column entitled “Pension ‘Reformers’ distort facts on benefits.” The column was written by Martha Penry, “a special education teacher’s assistant in the Twin Rivers school district.” Not disclosed in the article was the fact … Continue reading

VIDEO: Bill Gates Talks State Budgets and Education at TED 2011
May 10th, 2011

Proposed California Pension Reform Measure Could Save Billions
May 10th, 2011

The controversial “Public Employee Pension Reform Act” – which would “reform the excessive pension benefits provided to current government employees” – would save billions over the long haul and give local governments more room to maneuver in tight fiscal times, … Continue reading

California’s State Workers Need to Give More
May 9th, 2011

As lawmakers and the governor struggle to forge consensus on solutions to close California’s remaining $15.4 billion budget deficit, one thing is clear. Savings and sacrifices must be made in every area of state spending if we are going to … Continue reading

Vista, California’s Financial Woes Show What Cities Face
May 9th, 2011

VISTA — Gail Glass said she could not imagine that her city would be running so low on money that it would be forced to shut off streetlights on her block. Vista ended up issuing a brief reprieve on its … Continue reading

City of Sacramento Intensifies Budget Talks on Gaping $39 Million Deficit As Retiree Pension and Health Costs Increase
May 9th, 2011

The city of Sacramento is facing a $39 million deficit in its general fund for the 2011-12 fiscal year that begins July 1. It’s the fifth straight year of cuts to the general fund, which pays for most city services, … Continue reading

Central Contra Costa County Sewer Rates Rise to Offset Higher Costs of Employee Pensions and Benefits
May 9th, 2011

Sewer rates in Central Contra Costa County will go up this year by $20 for residents of Concord and Clayton and $30 for those elsewhere, if proposed rate increases are approved. Sewer fees are charged on residents’ property tax bills, … Continue reading

General Manager of Tiny Water District in Orange County, California Made $258,000
May 9th, 2011

Total compensation for the top job at the wee Serrano Water District — which manages the fish-filled Irvine Lake and provides drinking water to all of 6,500 people in  Villa Park and slices of Orange – was $258,259 last year, … Continue reading

Judge Holds Off on Releasing Names of $100,000-Plus Pension Recipients in Ventura County, California
May 9th, 2011

A Ventura County Superior Court judge on Monday ordered the release of the names of county government retirees drawing pensions of more than $100,000 a year, then delayed the disclosure until a higher court rules. “If I grant this and … Continue reading

California Prison Academy: Better Than a Harvard Degree
May 9th, 2011

Prison guards can retire at the age of 55 and earn 85% of their final year’s salary for the rest of their lives. They also continue to receive medical benefits. Roughly 2,000 students have to decide by Sunday whether to … Continue reading

Retiree Health Care Costs: San Diego Cuts a Big Deal
May 9th, 2011

San Diego expects to save $714 million over the next 25 years under a tentative retiree-health agreement with labor unions announced last week by Mayor Jerry Sanders, a step toward cutting a long-ignored public employee cost. Rising pension costs during … Continue reading

San Francisco Rethinking Annuity for Public Employees With as Little as 5-Years of Service
May 9th, 2011

San Francisco’s pension fund last year paid $3.3 million to former employees who worked as little as five years in city government but nonetheless qualified for a generous pay package upon their 50th birthday. The program, which city officials say … Continue reading

The Clock Is Running on Pension Reform in California
May 8th, 2011

Self-styled “truth squads” visited Sacramento this past week to contest warnings that pension debts are squeezing the ability to pay for basic public services. Critics, according to Martha Penryn, a special-education teacher in Sacramento, “continue to spread myths and falsehoods … Continue reading

A Case for Pension Reform in California
May 7th, 2011

A new report estimates that government workers’ wages in California are about the same as in the private sector, but the retirement benefits are considerably greater. A controversial new report estimates that government workers’ wages in California are, on average, … Continue reading

Dispelling the Public-Sector Salary Myth
May 7th, 2011

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE unions often defend their members’ pricey pensions by claiming the benefits make up for salaries that are lower than those in the private sector. A study released Thursday undermines that rationale. In California, wages of state and local … Continue reading

Congressional Budget Office: State & Local Government Pension Liabilities Could Be $3 Trillion
May 6th, 2011

Another voice chimed in this week on the unhealthy status of America’s public pensions. The Congressional Budget Office wrote, “The recent financial crisis and economic recession have left many states and localities with extraordinary difficulties for the next few years, … Continue reading

San Diego Saves $323 Million on Retiree Health Care
May 6th, 2011

The agreement would still leave an $800 million shortfall in promised benefits The city of San Diego’s leaders signed off on a tentative agreement Friday with labor unions that they say would shave $323 million off a $1.1 billion shortfall … Continue reading

$200,000 Lifeguards in Newport Beach, California to Receive Millions in Pension Payments
May 6th, 2011

Public outrage over lavish government employee compensation and pensions is becoming more heated as new revelations about excesses seem to crop up every week.  The latest: Newport Beach, California, where some lifeguards have compensation packages that exceed $200,000 and where … Continue reading

New Contract for Menlo Park, California’s Police Sergeants Includes Retirement Age Increase for New Hires
May 6th, 2011

Menlo Park’s eight police sergeants have agreed to a two-year contract that includes no pay bumps and slashes 100 hours of paid work from the schedules of four sergeants, according to a city memo released Thursday. Contracts for the sergeants, … Continue reading

Official at Irvine, California’s Great Park Could Get a $332,282 Double-Dip
May 6th, 2011

Orange County Great Park finance manager Kurt Mowery retired in December, but that doesn’t mean he stopped working. The very next month he was rehired, part-time to the very same job. And now the Great Park board — essentially the … Continue reading

Judge Orders Release of San Bernardino County’s Public Employee Pension Records
May 6th, 2011

The San Bernardino County retirement board must publicly disclose the pension records of county retirees, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday. Judge John Vander Feer ruled in favor of The Press-Enterprise, ordering the San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association to … Continue reading

Pension study: Teachers’ benefits are modest
May 6th, 2011

SACRAMENTO — An economic research firm hired to produce data that could justify an expected initiative campaign to scale back public-employee pensions uncovered what its authors called a surprising finding in its report issued this week: Teachers receive relatively modest … Continue reading

AUDIO: California Pension Reformer Marcia Fritz Interviewed on Los Angeles Talk Show
May 6th, 2011

Click Here to Listen to the Interview

Union Clamor Can’t Muffle the Need for Pension Reform in California
May 6th, 2011

Union activists plan to march on the state Capitol and have launched a public relations blitz to convince the public that efforts to rein in out-of-control pension costs for public employees amount to an effort to demonize government workers. As … Continue reading

California’s Public Employee Unions Counter Facts About Pensions With Emotionalism
May 6th, 2011

Yet another report released this week confirms the enormous liabilities that California taxpayers must endure to pay for pensions for public employees. The study, released at a Pension Boot Camp for elected officials held in Citrus Heights by the reform … Continue reading

Congressional Budget Office Says Public Pension Plans Should Change Reporting, Contribution Methods
May 5th, 2011

State, county and municipal pension plans should use fair-value accounting and change how they determine contributions, according to a Congressional Budget Office brief. The CBO brief, “The Underfunding of State and Local Pension Plans,” suggests that actuarial guidelines be replaced … Continue reading

San Francisco Unions’ Plan to ‘Smooth’ Recent Pension Fund Losses Is ‘Ponzi Funding,’ Says Expert
May 5th, 2011

In a final push to get a consensus pension-reform measure on the ballot this fall, San Francisco’s public-employee unions are lobbying hard for a change in accounting procedures that experts say is legally dubious and would cost the city hundreds … Continue reading

Times/USC Dornsife poll: California voters want public employees to help ease state’s financial troubles
May 3rd, 2011

A cap on pensions and a later retirement age — even for current public employees — are supported by the poll’s respondents. Reporting from Sacramento— California voters want government employees to give up some retirement benefits to help ease the … Continue reading

$458K California Transit District Exec Gets $1.2 Million Housing Loan
April 29th, 2011

When we at The Watchdog learned that Will Kempton, CEO of the Orange County Transportation Authority, had a $75,000 housing loan built into his contract, we wondered why. Kempton’s total compensation is just shy of $384,000. Couldn’t he afford to … Continue reading

San Diego Has No Obligation to Provide Health Care Benefits to Workers Who Haven’t Yet Retired, Judge Rules
April 29th, 2011

Ruling could affect San Diego labor negotiations to reduce $1.36 billion liability A Superior Court judge has ruled that the city of San Diego has no obligation to provide health care benefits to workers who haven’t yet retired, a key … Continue reading

Lawsuit Claims Prison Receiver Spiking CalPERS Pension
April 28th, 2011

Peel away the legalese, and a 62-page lawsuit in Sacramento comes down to this accusation: Prison Receiver J. Clark Kelso — with help from a federal judge, the state court administrative system and CalPERS — is spiking his state pension … Continue reading

Orange County Judges Lobbying to Keep Their Cadillac Health Plans
April 28th, 2011

When not in his courtroom, Orange County’s Presiding Judge Thomas Boris has been seen recently walking the fifth floor of the Hall of Administration lobbying county supervisors. His mission: To convince county supervisors that they should let him and the … Continue reading

California’s Prison Guards Make More Than Twice Their Counterparts in Texas
April 28th, 2011

As California tries to close a $15.4 billion budget gap, state workers—who earn 25.2 percent more than their counterparts in Texas—face cuts California’s prison guards make more than twice their counterparts in Texas—$71,000 a year, compared with $31,000. That difference … Continue reading

California Led Nation in Pension Fund Losses
April 28th, 2011

All state public pension funds lost money in 2009 as their stock and property investments tanked, a new Census Bureau report says, but California’s systems accounted for a huge share of the losses. The state has three major pension systems … Continue reading

Salinas, California Public Hospital President’s $4 Million Retirement Pay Spotlights Issue of ‘Supplemental’ Pensions
April 28th, 2011

The president and CEO of a Salinas, Calif.-area public hospital district will receive nearly $4 million in retirement pay on top of his $150,000 annual pension. Such ‘supplemental’ pensions are one focus of criticism over the way public officials are … Continue reading

Will California’s Public Pension Funds Unite to Invest in Job Creation?
April 28th, 2011

Using their massive investment funds to create jobs might be a way for embattled public pension systems to aid the struggling California economy, while also generating some sorely needed good publicity. Gov. Brown may propose a job-creating pension investment program, … Continue reading

The Public Pension Crisis Is Real, as Fates of Other Cities Show
April 28th, 2011

With the interminable debate we’ve witnessed over pension reform during the last year, it’s sometimes easy to forget that this isn’t just another political shooting match over a characteristically trivial San Franciscan topic. (Dog parks, anyone?) Yet an article published … Continue reading

Los Angeles Unions Will Contribute 4% of Pay Toward Toward Retirement Health Benefits to Save Jobs
April 27th, 2011

Los Angeles city workers voted to contribute 4 percent of their salaries toward retirement health benefits for the first time to avoid furloughs and job cuts. About 19,000 full- and part-time employees were eligible to cast ballots yesterday, and 80 … Continue reading

California’s Union Bosses Still Denying There’s a Pension Crisis
April 27th, 2011

Public union leaders have consistently denied there is a problem with the current government employee pension system. They defend the high benefit levels and consistently argue that pension funds are perfectly solvent. Those claims are delusional at best; ignorant at … Continue reading

Hermosa Beach, California’s City Council Approves Two-Tier Pension System
April 27th, 2011

Hermosa Beach’s City Council took a giant step on the road to curtailing government spending by approving a two-tier pension system that will save the municipality loads of money in the future. At its April 26 meeting, the council unanimously … Continue reading

How Rates of Return Affect Required Pension Contributions
April 27th, 2011

In the post “How Rates of Return Affect Required Pension Assets,” the point is made that depending on the rate of return achievable by the pension fund, there are significant changes to what level of assets are required for that … Continue reading

California Controller’s Office Releases Next Round of Compensation Numbers
April 27th, 2011

State Controller John Chiang updated his website showing the salary, pension benefits and other employee compensation for several hundred Cemetery, Electric, Financing and Construction, Facilities, Flood Control and Water Conservation, Recreation and Park, and Community Service Districts. Last October, the … Continue reading

For Councilmen in Vernon, California the Living Is Easy
April 27th, 2011

Critics say their lifestyle — large salaries, excellent benefits, below-market housing rentals — is proof the city is a fiefdom that benefits its ruling clique. Officials say they know changes are needed. To be a councilman in Vernon is to … Continue reading

What Were Alameda, California’s Council Members Thinking in 2000 When They Enhanced Public Employee Pensions?
April 27th, 2011

Beverly Johnson had been on Alameda’s City Council for less than two years in 2000 when city staff approached her and other council members about upgrading public safety workers’ pensions. Three months earlier, Governor Gray Davis and the state Legislature … Continue reading

States Take Action to Combat $1.26 Trillion Shortfall
April 26th, 2011

States are facing a whopping $1.26 trillion shortfall in funds to pay pension and health-care benefits for public sector employees, according to a new study by the Pew Center on the States. Wisconsin and Ohio, both of which made headlines … Continue reading

Costa Mesa, California Stares Down Huge Pension Debt
April 26th, 2011

COSTA MESA – If Costa Mesa wants to cut its losses and bail out of the state pension system, it will need to pay $315 million over 10 years to settle debts already accrued, the City Council learned Tuesday. City … Continue reading

106 Cops Get Layoff Notices in San Jose, California
April 26th, 2011

After months of nervous anticipation, 106 San Jose police officers are getting notices this week that they may be laid off as the reality of the city’s dire financial picture cast a gloom over police headquarters and City Hall. An … Continue reading

Santa Cruz, California’s Police Officers Will Pay 20% of Pay Into Their Pensions, Move to Two-Tier System
April 26th, 2011

SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz police have agreed to contribute 20 percent of their salaries toward the cost of their pensions and move to a two-tier retirement system as part of a two-year contract extension that will save the city … Continue reading

Even Leaders of Public Employee Unions in Orange County Are Part of the Pension Crisis Deniers Club
April 26th, 2011

Leaders of public-sector unions have consistently denied that there is a problem with current government employee pension systems. They defend the high benefit levels – relative to retirement benefits available to most taxpayers – and consistently argue that pension funds … Continue reading

California Pension Reform Advocate Steven Greenhut Debates Union Boss at Newport Beach Luncheon
April 26th, 2011

If you’d like to believe the state’s public pension crisis can be resolved, you might want to steer clear of pundit Steve Greenhut. Greenhut squared off against union chief Nick Berardino in a public pension debate sponsored by the Orange … Continue reading

Pew Center’s State Pension Crisis Update Actually Shows $3 Trillion Sneak-A-Tax
April 26th, 2011

By FRANK KEEGAN – Look past Page 1 of the latest Pew Center on the States’ update of retirement promise shortfalls, and you will get an idea how huge it really is. Right now citizens are on the hook for … Continue reading

Bell, California Seeks $4.5 Million in Former Officials’ Pensions to Ease City’s Budget Problems
April 26th, 2011

Grand jury transcripts reveal funds that were placed in secret plan for former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo and chief deputy, Angela Spaccia. A special pension fund set up by former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo and his top aide … Continue reading

Pensions, Health Costs and State Inaction Cloud Budget of Yolo County, California
April 25th, 2011

In Yolo County, budget officials are gearing for the next major test of balancing spending with available revenues – a task made harder by increasing health care and pension costs. In recent years, Yolo – like other counties in the … Continue reading

San Francisco Pension Reform to Be Hottest Issue on Ballot
April 25th, 2011

Don’t expect the fireworks of the sit/lie ban, Care Not Cash or decriminalizing prostitution. While San Francisco is famous for its controversial and unique ballot measures, the hot debate this year isn’t as splashy – and isn’t unique to the … Continue reading

San Francisco Likely to Drop Cops’ ‘Double-Dip’ Retirement Option
April 25th, 2011

A voter-approved measure meant to keep veteran officers in the Police Department by allowing them to “double dip” by drawing a pension and a salary at the same time could soon be retired. The Deferred Retirement Option Program allows retirement-age … Continue reading

SEARCHABLE DATABASE: New Pay and Benefits Database for San Francisco Bay Area
April 25th, 2011

View the Database Here

California Next in Line to Overhaul Public Employee Pensions
April 25th, 2011

California voters are overwhelmingly in favor of overhauling the state’s public employee pension system to help reduce the current budget deficit, according to results of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll. As Gov. Jerry … Continue reading

Public Employee Pensions, Once Off Limits, Face Budget Cuts
April 25th, 2011

When an arbitrator ruled this month that Detroit could reduce the pensions being earned by its police sergeants and lieutenants, it put the struggling city at the forefront of a growing national debate over whether the pensions of current public … Continue reading

Pew Study Finds Shortfall in States’ Retirement Systems Has Increased
April 25th, 2011

Washington, D.C. – 04/25/2011 – The gap between the promises states have made for public employees’ retirement benefits and the money they have set aside grew to at least $1.26 trillion in fiscal year 2009, resulting in a 26 percent … Continue reading

US States’ Pension Fund Deficits Widen by 26% to $1.26 Trillion, Pew Center Study Says
April 25th, 2011

U.S. states’ deficits in their employee retirement systems widened by 26 percent in fiscal 2009 as governments were stung by investment losses and failed to pay enough into their pension funds, a study found. The deficits, or the difference between … Continue reading

Don’t Tax San Francisco Businesses to Pay for Public Employee Pensions
April 24th, 2011

The legendary thief Robin Hood may have engaged in illegal activities, but at least he restricted his robbing to the rich and shared his loot with the poor. However, exactly the opposite would happen if pension reform for San Francisco … Continue reading

The Time for San Francisco Pension Reform Is Now
April 24th, 2011

With pension costs expected to rise by$400 million over the next five years, San Francisco can no longer afford to kick the can down the road on pension reform. Numerous reports, including those by The City’s Controller and Civil Grand … Continue reading

Politicians and Unions Acting in Concert Caused San Diego’s Pension Crisis
April 24th, 2011

Government labor unions find themselves the target of enormous citizen anger over strained local and state budgets. Shuttered libraries, slashed funding for filling potholes and threats of cutbacks in public safety services to meet pension obligations are being blamed on … Continue reading

Members of Six Los Angeles Unions Should Approve a Plan to Raise Their Retirement Contributions
April 24th, 2011

Members of six city unions should approve a plan to raise their retirement contributions. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year is imbued with his trademark optimism, but it also carries an implicit threat. The optimism is … Continue reading

CHART: Part-Time Work, Full-Time Benefits — Top Recipients in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
April 24th, 2011

View Chart here

Health Benefits a Big Perk for Northern California’s Part-Time Elected Officials
April 24th, 2011

Serving as a part-time elected official governing a school district, public utility or small city may seem like a poorly compensated public service. But it often comes with a hidden perk worth far more than the meager monthly stipend for … Continue reading

Some Local Government Officials Refuse to Disclose Public Employee Health Costs
April 24th, 2011

Four years after the California Supreme Court ruled that the pay of government employees is a public record, some cities, school boards and special districts still make it difficult to obtain and display data showing how much taxpayer money they … Continue reading

Californians Back Capping Public Employee Pensions, Poll Says
April 24th, 2011

A majority of California voters support capping the pensions of current and future public employees to balance the state’s budget, a poll shows. Voters support the idea 70 percent to 22 percent, according to the poll released yesterday by the … Continue reading

Even the US Can’t Afford Generous Defined Benefit Pension Systems
April 23rd, 2011

The defined benefit is dying. Barack Obama is struggling to keep it alive, but it’s apparent that it’s something that even as bounteously rich a society as ours can’t afford. Yes, I know that “defined benefit” is not a common … Continue reading

Pension Quagmire: San Bernardino County Leaders Didn’t Think CalPERS Increases Would Be a Problem
April 23rd, 2011

Unions wanted them. Pension managers said they were affordable. Elected officials approved them. But improved pension benefits granted to public employees over the past 12 years are now costing local governments dearly. And for that, officials acknowledge, there’s plenty of … Continue reading

New Northern California Public Salary and Benefits Database Allows You to Do Your Own Fact Checking
April 23rd, 2011

TODAY, RIGHT now, you have the ability to search and review an itemized database of $76,281,544,074.74 in state and local government spending from the years 2008 through 2010, and that number will grow throughout the year as we add more … Continue reading

In Labor Deals, California Gov. Jerry Brown Postpones the Day of Reckoning
April 23rd, 2011

THAT CLANGING sound you hear is Jerry Brown kicking the can further down the road. The governor touted his budget plan as an honest forecast of revenues and expenditures. Indeed, his accounting avoids the smoke and mirrors of his predecessor, … Continue reading

San Francisco Mayor Urges Pension Reform to Ease Budget Woes
April 22nd, 2011

How do you avoid rolling closures of neighborhood fire stations and laying off 171 police officers to balance San Francisco’s budget? Mayor Ed Lee has a straightforward answer: pension reform. “A third of that $306 million deficit is due to … Continue reading

California Court Rejects Retroactive Pension Rollback — What’s Next?
April 22nd, 2011

Orange County supervisors led by John Moorlach took on the legal issue of boosting pensions for years already served under a less generous plan. They lost when the state Supreme Court last week unanimously refused to hear their appeal. An … Continue reading

‘Sweetheart Deal’ for California Prison Guards Hits Taxpayers
April 21st, 2011

In the midst of trying to convince Californians to boost their own taxes by $12 billion, Gov. Jerry Brown showed where his true priorities lie. As the Los Angeles Times reported on the deal he just worked out with the … Continue reading

San Francisco’s Labor Unions Wary of Potential Pension-Rate Increases
April 21st, 2011

A ballot measure from Public Defender Jeff Adachi that would double pension rates has drawn concern from labor leaders working to strike an agreement with Mayor Ed Lee on an alternative measure. As Lee is negotiating a consensus pension measure … Continue reading

71% of Silicon Valley CEOs Want to Move California Public Employees to 401(k)s
April 21st, 2011

Silicon Valley chief executives continue to be upbeat on the economy but decidedly gloomy about the state of the state, according to a survey released Thursday. More than half the CEOs of area companies who responded to a survey by … Continue reading

New Report Pending: What Will the Nation’s Public Pension Funding Gap Be Now? $3 Trillion? $5 Trillion?
April 21st, 2011

This time last year they said the gap for public employee pension and retirement health care promises was $1 trillion. What will it be when the Pew Center on the States releases its updated study next week: $3 trillion? $5 … Continue reading

Audit of San Jose, California’s Disability Retirement Program for Police and Firefighters Reveals Abuses
April 21st, 2011

A new city audit slams San Jose’s disability retirement program for police and firefighters, saying it’s too easy for retirees to claim a disability — which comes with a hefty tax break. The high number of public safety employees who … Continue reading

San Francisco Pension Clash Could Wind Up on Ballot
April 21st, 2011

Political Leaders, Unions Work on Separate Proposals Amid Disputes Over How to Revamp San Francisco Retirement System Local leaders in San Francisco are so at odds over how to overhaul the city’s pensions for public employees that different constituencies are … Continue reading

Losing 84 Cents on Dollar Reveals Runaway US Public Pension Shortfalls
April 20th, 2011

The deal came together behind the doors of a Louisiana psychiatric ward. John Skannal, 74, signed a document in October 2003 authorizing the sale of land handed down through eight generations of his family. The buyer was a statewide pension … Continue reading

Sutter County, California Institutes Pension Reforms
April 19th, 2011

Elected officials and top managers in Sutter County will begin paying more for their pensions and may take longer to receive them, under a system approved by county supervisors Tuesday night. Under the revised salary and benefit agreement, those employees … Continue reading

Reform Ideas Emerging From Santa Rosa, California’s Pension Panel
April 19th, 2011

The sharp disagreements between public- and private-sector members of Santa Rosa’s pension reform task force aren’t especially surprising. In fact, they were predictable, maybe even inevitable, when the task force was formed in December by Mayor Ernesto Olivares. The differences … Continue reading

Unique Pink Slip Severance Plan Approved for Marin County Workers
April 19th, 2011

An unusual severance program that provides employees facing layoffs with up to $10,000 was swiftly approved Tuesday by county supervisors. The one-time program, which could cost taxpayers up to $250,000, will help ease the blow of getting a pink slip … Continue reading

California Prison Guards Getting Payoff for Supporting Gov. Jerry Brown?
April 19th, 2011

A taxpayer rights group has blasted California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, for giving the prison guards who funded his re-election a new contract that will eventually cost millions to a state that is virtually bankrupt. The new contract, which … Continue reading

New Contract for California Prison Guards Lifts Cap on Saved Vacation
April 19th, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown negotiates a new contract for California’s prison guards, who will be allowed to save unlimited amounts of vacation, potentially leading to massive payouts when officers retire. Reporting from Sacramento— Deep in the 200-page contract that Gov. Jerry … Continue reading

Pensions ARE the Problem
April 18th, 2011

My colleague at The Heartland Institute, Eli Lehrer wrote a rather controversial op-ed for the Weekly Standard recently arguing that “Pensions Aren’t the Problem.” Eli’s piece makes some good points in regards to the public pension debate and has, if … Continue reading

San Francisco’s Adachi Finalizes Pension Reform Measure and Starts Gathering Voter Signatures
April 18th, 2011

New proposal ignores health care costs, creates separate pension package for new hires City Public Defender Jeff Adachi has settled on a pension-reform proposal and is starting to gather voter signatures to place it on the November ballot. Adachi had … Continue reading

Marin County, California and Its Cities’ Pension System Costs and Debt Are Rising
April 18th, 2011

Marin County will be forced to dig deeper to pay for pension benefits promised Civic Center employees, and San Rafael taxpayers are on the hook for a “very substantial” pension debt mounted by the City Council, a new actuarial report … Continue reading

California’s Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts Struggle to Fund Pension Plans
April 18th, 2011

The economic crisis that dealt a severe blow to public employee pension funds throughout California did the same to the retirement plans of the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. Records obtained by The Bee show that the pension plans offered … Continue reading

Public Employee Retirements Surge as States Cut Benefits to Shrink Deficits
April 18th, 2011

Teri Essex retired a year earlier than planned when she was offered $56,000 to leave her elementary-school teaching job in Elk Grove, California. Instead of accepting a salary cut, larger classes and less money for supplies from spending reductions made … Continue reading

San Francisco Unions Present Proposals on Pensions and Health Benefits
April 18th, 2011

A coalition of city employee unions has come up with a pension and health care reform proposal it says will save the city about $1.3 billion over the next 30 years, including $100 million in fiscal year 2012-13. The plan … Continue reading

It’s Not Too Late to Fix Ventura County’s Pensions
April 17th, 2011

California finds itself in a totally unprecedented and destructive pension crisis — currently underfunded at $500 billion and rising every day. While Ventura County has managed its finances better than the state, we, too, are in trouble: In the latest … Continue reading

California Publishers Review Public Pension Problems at Conference; It’s Not Petty Politics
April 17th, 2011

News reports are focused at the moment on California’s $15 billion budget defict. But that appears to be a drop in the bucket compared to the unfunded pension liabilities of California’s state and local governments. Estimates of the problem start … Continue reading

CalPERS Scandal Makes Reform Urgent
April 17th, 2011

The last thing California’s and the nation’s largest public employee pension system needs is a corruption scandal. But that is what has emerged from a scathing report prepared for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System by Washington law firm Steptoe … Continue reading

San Bernardino County’s Firefighters Lead the Way on Pension Issue
April 17th, 2011

We have to hand it to San Bernardino County firefighters for stepping up to help ease the county’s serious fiscal problems. Firefighters quickly signed on to county government’s attempt to rein in rising pension costs, with 98percent of union members … Continue reading

San Jose, California’s Pension Crisis Is All Too Real
April 16th, 2011

San Jose’s pension crisis is real and immediate. With more retirees and fewer employees, the cost of the pension plans is increasingly consuming the dollars needed to maintain the services we are here to provide — police officers on patrol, … Continue reading

Experts Tell National Conference of State Legislatures to Fix Pensions, Fast
April 15th, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A lawyer and an economist disagreed about the immediacy of the financial crisis state governments face, but did give about 30 people gathered at a National Conference of State Legislatures session here one common message: Start fixing … Continue reading

Public Employee Fight Comes to Congress
April 14th, 2011

(Reuters) – Political skirmishing in U.S. states about public employees spread to Washington on Thursday, as members of the House of Representatives came to verbal fisticuffs over collective bargaining and a pair of wealthy brothers. The most visible figure in … Continue reading

A Pension Restructuring Proposal for California
April 14th, 2011

According to the CalPERS website, in their California Investments section, “as of January 31, 2011, approximately 10.3 percent of CalPERS total assets are invested in California.” This means that out of the $233.5 billion in assets under management by CalPERS … Continue reading

For CalPERS and CalSTRS, Reform Does Not Begin at Home
April 14th, 2011

The nation’s two largest public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, are stepping up their drive to reform corporate boards of directors at a time when others are proposing reforms of pension boards. A new listing of potential directors announced by … Continue reading

There Was No Recession for California’s Public Employee Pensions
April 14th, 2011

Only government-employee union officials at this point are denying the reality of California’s pension crisis, as public pension debts estimated as high as a half-trillion dollars are crushing state and local governments and threatening to increase the burden on already … Continue reading

California Supreme Court Casts a Blind Eye to the Massive Shift of Wealth From Private to Public Sector
April 14th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon the California Supreme Court denied the County’s petition to have its retroactive pension benefit case heard.  All of the articles below deal with this issue.  The first is by the OC Register, followed by PublicCEO (which refers to … Continue reading

California Supreme Court Denies Review of Ruling on Orange County Pensions
April 14th, 2011

A Court of Appeal ruling upholding an agreement increasing pension benefits for Orange County sheriff’s deputies was left standing yesterday by the state Supreme Court. The justices, at their weekly conference in San Francisco, unanimously denied review in County of … Continue reading

California Court Deals Blow to Taxpayers, Illustrating the Dire Need for Sweeping Public-Employee Pension Reform
April 14th, 2011

Orange County taxpayers were dealt a blow Wednesday by the California Supreme Court, which refused to hear the county Board of Supervisors’ challenge to the legality of retroactive pension increases that had been given to sheriff’s deputies by a prior … Continue reading

Pension ‘Boot Camp’ Slated for California Elected Officials on May 5
April 14th, 2011

Hosted by the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility Click Here for more information and to register!

Bay Area Rapid Transit’s General Manager Quits With $1 Million Severance Deal
April 14th, 2011

(04-13) 10:37 PDT OAKLAND — Embattled BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger, whose job has been endangered since a vote to fire her in February, resigned on Wednesday after reaching a severance deal worth nearly $1 million. The BART Board of … Continue reading

Court Says San Diego Can Make Changes to City’s DROP Program
April 13th, 2011

A state appeals court has ruled that the city of San Diego can make adjustments to a controversial benefit offered to its public employees to ensure it isn’t a drain on city coffers. But the question of whether the Deferred … Continue reading

Riverside County, California’s Supervisors Are Right to Cut Public Employee Pension Benefits
April 13th, 2011

Riverside County supervisors are on the right track in making government more accountable, responsible and reasonable by readjusting the pension system for future employees. This was a move that should’ve been made years ago, when many companies in the private … Continue reading

432 School Employees Being Paid Over $90,000 in Fullerton, California?
April 13th, 2011

In a city with a population of about 126,000 where the median household income is roughly $75K and the per capita income is about $23K it is almost unfathomable that 432 school district employees in Fullerton are being paid upwards … Continue reading

San Francisco Municipal Bond Rating Downgraded by Fitch
April 13th, 2011

One of three major rating agencies Tuesday downgraded $2.6 billion in San Francisco municipal bonds because of concerns over shrinking reserves and short-term fixes that the city has used to balance its budget in recent years. Fitch Ratings found that … Continue reading

Jeff Adachi Launches Signature Collection Drive on San Francisco Pension Measure
April 13th, 2011

As Mayor Ed Lee is working with labor leaders to arrive at a consensus November ballot measure to rein in pension costs, Public Defender Jeff Adachi is moving ahead on his own and announced Wednesday the launch of a signature … Continue reading

A Blueprint for Genuine Public Employee Pension Reform
April 13th, 2011

Third of a Three-Part Series Governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey have enacted modest pension reforms so far, yet they have stirred the pot on one of the salient issues of our time: public … Continue reading

California Supreme Court Sides With Orange County Deputy Union on Lucrative Pensions
April 13th, 2011

The California Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by Orange County supervisors who wanted them to sanction amendments to what an earlier board of supervisors had done: grant sheriff’s deputies the right to retire at the age of 50 and … Continue reading

Montebello, California's Interim City Manager Resigns as City's Fiscal Crisis Deepens
April 13th, 2011

Peter Cosentini told Montebello council members, who are dealing with a fiscal crisis, that they should hire someone “more in tune with your approach to municipal finance.” The city of Montebello, already facing the prospect that it may not be … Continue reading

Pension Costs to Skyrocket for Key San Francisco City Unions
April 13th, 2011

Last week, the president and vice president of the local SEIU penned an opinion column in the San Francisco Bay Guardian espousing a marvelously novel take on the city”s exploding pension crisis. The problem, per the column, isn”t that the … Continue reading

Yes, States Can Cut Excessive Government Employee Pensions
April 12th, 2011

Second of a three-part series State public pension systems are in such bad shape that some have called for allowing states to go bankrupt. Aspiring reformers have been reluctant to propose tackling the unfunded liabilities that portend financial catastrophe, yet … Continue reading

Number of Retired San Diego City Workers Collecting $100,000-Plus Pensions Jumps 71% Over Previous Year
April 12th, 2011

Data shows big jump in $100,000-plus pensions SAN DIEGO — The number of retired San Diego city workers collecting more than $100,000 annually in retirement has risen to 487 — a 71 percent increase from a year earlier, according to … Continue reading

Public Pensions Crowding Out Services
April 12th, 2011

A Chinese folk tale tells of a sculptor that placed fake money on a tree to trick villagers into cutting it down for him.  But so many people believed the tree to be sacred that the sculptor was warned that … Continue reading

Why Is the San Leandro, California’s Public Employee Pension Liability So High?
April 11th, 2011

San Leandro currently has the highest PERS rate for police and firefighters of any city in Alameda County. Pension reform, pension sustainability — whatever you want to call it, public employee pensions and how to contain the costs of covering … Continue reading

San Diego County Sheriff’s Contract Calls for Contributing More Towards Pensions
April 11th, 2011

Deputy sheriffs would receive a 1 percent raise and one-time payment of 2 percent of their salaries, but they would pay a larger share of their retirement under tentative agreements going before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The proposed three-year … Continue reading

San Francisco’s Adachi Settles on One and Only Pension Reform Ballot Measure
April 11th, 2011

Public Defender Jeff Adachi is hoping the sixth time’s the charm. That’s how many separate versions of a ballot measure to reform the city’s pension and health care systems he had in the hopper until today, when he advanced just … Continue reading

Bad Accounting Hides America’s Coming Public Pension Disaster
April 11th, 2011

First of a three-part series How do you solve a fiscal crisis if you don’t have the right numbers? That is the dilemma facing governors, legislators and would-be reformers around the country trying to deal with the public employee pension … Continue reading

Sacramento’s Police and Firefighters to Be Asked to Chip in on Their Pensions
April 11th, 2011

For decades, police officers and firefighters in the city of Sacramento have paid nothing out of pocket toward their retirement accounts. Instead, City Hall has picked up the bill. It’s a common arrangement, negotiated years ago in lieu of raises. … Continue reading

Interview With Jeff Adachi on San Francisco Pension Reform
April 11th, 2011

Editor’s Note: There’s no denying something has to be done to rein in unsustainable city employee pension and healthcare benefit costs in San Francisco. Last year, Mr. Adachi attempted to address pension and healthcare reform via the ballot and failed. … Continue reading

Newport Beach, California May Lay Off Employees to Reduce Pension Obligations
April 11th, 2011

The proposal by City Manager Dave Kiff includes layoffs for 25 workers and the elimination of 30 vacant positions, outsourcing parts of the city department that maintains streets, parks, beaches and more. In a move to stave off rising pension … Continue reading

San Francisco’s Mayor Still Formulating Pension-Fix Plan
April 10th, 2011

After being named mayor in January, Ed Lee pledged that reining in skyrocketing pension costs would be his top priority. He backed a consensus approach that would have the buy-in of labor groups in the hope that such a plan … Continue reading

City, Employees Debate Pension Reforms in Riverside, California
April 9th, 2011

Though Riverside City Council candidates may disagree on changes to employee pensions, some city officials say they don’t have the luxury of debate. They’re planning the 2011-12 budget to include about $3.5 million in savings from two-tiered pension agreements and … Continue reading

True Pension Reform May Fall to California’s Voters
April 8th, 2011

Serious proposals to reform pensions of public sector workers finally are coming forward – Gov. Jerry Brown offered a plan that takes modest steps and the latest is a promising initiative advocated by a former assembly member. They come none … Continue reading

Governor Brown Is Avoiding Real Pension Reform for California
April 8th, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown’s initial foray into the debate about reforming the pension systems for government employees was greeted by derision from both sides, which is not unexpected given his predicament. The governor understands as well as anyone that California cannot … Continue reading

San Francisco Mayor Unveils Pension Reform Proposal
April 8th, 2011

San Francisco’s generous public employee benefits would become notably less so under a draft plan Mayor Ed Lee rolled out Thursday in an attempt to rein in the city’s spiraling retirement costs. City workers’ pension contributions would rise and fall … Continue reading

Why Did Irvine Ranch Water District Sweeten Pension Benefits?
April 8th, 2011

We told you recently that more than 200 agencies boosted retirement benefits for public workers since 2008, which is when the financial cookie began to crumble. Nine Orange County agencies were among them. Four cities granted sweeter pension formulas to … Continue reading

California Local Governments Continued to Enhance Employee Pensions Amid Economic Collapse
April 8th, 2011

The bills for enhanced pension benefits in Costa Mesa, San Bernardino and other cities and agencies are coming due. Drastic cuts and legal battles are just some of the consequences. Scores of California government agencies continued to sweeten employee pension … Continue reading

San Diego’s Pension Reform: A Model for California?
April 7th, 2011

As San Diego officials joined forces this week on an initiative to switch all new hires except police from pensions to 401(k)-style plans, Mayor Jerry Sanders said the city’s troubled pension system could become a “national model.” But in Sacramento, … Continue reading

The State Pension Time Bomb
April 7th, 2011

Poor accounting rules and flagrant irresponsibility have sped up the states’ day of reckoning. For decades state officials have encouraged adults to believe in the financial equivalent of the Tooth Fairy: that state pensions can yield high returns while being … Continue reading

As US Boomers Age, A Soul-Searching Budget Battle
April 7th, 2011

WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) – In 1983, a civil servant named Robert Ball worked a political miracle: he convinced Republican Ronald Reagan to raise taxes and Democrat Tip O’Neill to accept trims to Social Security. That was the last time … Continue reading

CalSTRS’ Shortfall Swells to $56 Billion
April 7th, 2011

Unbelievable as it may seem, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), the sixth largest public pension fund in the country, now has a pension shortfall of $56 billion, up $15.5 billion from last fiscal year.  That’s an increase of … Continue reading

Sacramento, California Wants Cops and Firefighters to Contribute to Their Own Pensions
April 6th, 2011

The city of Sacramento could save millions of dollars every year by requiring its public safety employees and top management officials to contribute to their retirement funds, an auditor has found. A report released today by city Auditor Jorge Oseguera … Continue reading

Pension Tsunami Sweeps Into Stanton, California
April 6th, 2011

The Stanton City Council, facing a $3 million budget shortfall, voted unanimously March 25 to put before city voters a “utility tax” of an additional 2.5 percent. The tax ought to be offensive on its face to Stanton taxpayers and … Continue reading

Assess the Need for Pension Reform in California
April 6th, 2011

Acknowledging a problem is the first step in solving that problem. So goes the old saw that is often applied to many cases of destructive behavior. In this case, it ought to be applied to California’s problem of unfunded pension … Continue reading

San Diego Is Moving in the Right Direction
April 6th, 2011

There is still work to be done before San Diego can bury its self-earned moniker as Enron-by-the-Sea. But there is reason for optimism that out of the financial black hole will emerge a new reputation as a model of responsible … Continue reading

States Increasingly Turn to 401ks to Replace Pensions
April 5th, 2011

Big labor used the 43d anniversary yesterday of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to hold hundreds of rallies nationwide, attacking “right-wing corporate politicians” for “trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for: the … Continue reading

Think the US Debt Is Bad? Check Out the States
April 5th, 2011

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin talked Tuesday about cutting federal spending by a staggering $6 trillion in the next decade and in the process eliminating the $14.3 trillion national debt. As incredible as these numbers are, all … Continue reading

Top San Diego County Exec Among Those Receiving 2% Bonus
April 5th, 2011

Unions, nonunion workers affected by deal Thousands of county employees, including San Diego County’s top administrator, will receive 2 percent bonuses —- in lieu of permanent raises —- during the fiscal year that starts July 1. The San Diego County … Continue reading

Conservatives Launch Fight to Reform San Diego’s Public Employee Pensions
April 5th, 2011

SAN DIEGO — Conservatives are picking a fight with organized labor in San Diego. Local Republicans are backing a ballot measure that would weaken unions and eliminate most pensions. Only police officers would still receive pensions under the proposed measure. … Continue reading

How Rates of Return Affect Required Pension Assets
April 5th, 2011

While pension finance is a relatively obscure discipline that requires of its practitioners expertise both in investments and actuarial calculations, it is a mistake to think the fundamentals are beyond the average policymaker or journalist. One policy question of extreme … Continue reading

Half Moon Bay, California’s Decision to Disband Police Force Is an Ominous Sign
April 5th, 2011

The news keeps getting worse for the financially desperate city of Half Moon Bay. Last year, the beachfront town of 13,300 people began talking seriously about disincorporation as a solution to its crushing financial position. The city inched closer to … Continue reading

Pleasant Hill, California Imposes Employee Contract That Increases Health Premium, Requires Pension Contribution
April 5th, 2011

PLEASANT HILL — In the first sign city leaders are serious about cutting costs and willing to play hardball during negotiations with employee groups this year, the City Council on Monday imposed a one-year contract on management employees that raises … Continue reading

League of California Cities Releases Pension Reform Survey of City Managers
April 5th, 2011

Last month, the League of California Cities released a survey revealing trends in California’s municipal pension plans. From that survey, we can see models of how pension reform is moving throughout the state. And the reforms are fascinating. The statistics … Continue reading

San Diego Pension Measure Faces Battle With Public Employee Unions
April 5th, 2011

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and supporters could face a titanic battle with labor unions in the June 2012 election after deciding to eliminate guaranteed pensions for newly hired firefighters and lifeguards as part of their plan to overhaul the … Continue reading

Two San Diego Pension Reform Ballot Measures Become One
April 5th, 2011

Sponsors of two proposals agree on compromise measure Proponents of dueling ballot measures to curtail San Diego city pensions reached a compromise Monday to combine forces behind a single initiative for the June 2012 ballot. The measure would eliminate guaranteed … Continue reading

Keeping a Collar on Public Pension Costs in Ventura County, California
April 5th, 2011

Ventura County gets it: public pension issues need attention in California. Giving proper attention to this pressing area of policy making, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to introduce changes in some pension issues at the county level. … Continue reading

High-Ranking Employees in San Bernardino County, California Asked to Pay More Toward Pensions
April 5th, 2011

High-ranking San Bernardino County employees will see their paychecks shrink later this year, as the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan that will ask those employees to pay more toward their retirement plans. It’s the first step … Continue reading

Jerry Brown’s Pension Plan for California Is Nothing But Fluff
April 5th, 2011

The timing of Gov. Jerry Brown’s “12-point pension reform plan” last week was no accident. The plan was released on Thursday, a couple of days after his negotiations with Republicans on a state budget deal collapsed. The latter contended that … Continue reading

If You Think Unfunded Public Employee Pensions Are a Problem, You Don’t Know the Half of It
April 4th, 2011

This nation is in trouble. Unfortunately, rather than recognize that they are a large part of the problem, today’s union bosses would rather obfuscate and attack those trying to reform the government-union system. Today, unions and their allies are engaging … Continue reading

Scandal Shows It Is Time to Reform CalPERS
April 4th, 2011

THE LAST thing California’s and the nation’s largest public employee pension system needs is a corruption scandal. But that is what has emerged from a scathing report prepared for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System by Washington law firm Steptoe … Continue reading

CalPERS Chief Sorry for Scandal, Says Fund Will ‘Take … Action’
April 4th, 2011

In an open letter released today, CalPERS Chief Executive Officer Anne Stausboll says she’s sorry that recent revelations of alleged wrongdoings by high-ranking former fund officials has put a cloud over the organization’s integrity. “Still, I believe, as does our … Continue reading

Supervisors in Riverside County, California Support Changes to Pension Plan for New Employees
April 4th, 2011

SEIU Local 721 President Bob Schoonover warned that any attempt to change benefit formulas without the union’s consent would be met with hostility. A proposal to shift a greater share of future Riverside County employees’ pension costs onto those workers … Continue reading

California Pension Fixes: San Diego Area Cities Must Push on
April 4th, 2011

Let’s step back for a moment from the barrage of stories out of Sacramento and around the nation about fiscal woes associated with public employee pensions and take a look at the local picture. Almost two years ago, most of … Continue reading

Public Pension Crisis Has Some Bracing for Worst; Wide-Ranging Reforms Require Back-To-Basics Financial Planning
April 3rd, 2011

Legislative ambiguity about public pension funds, as well as their underfunded status, has financial advisers who work with public employees scrambling to plug holes in their retirement plans. Cash-strapped states and municipalities are confronting the realities of their public pension … Continue reading

California’s Riverside County Weighs Pension Reform; Proposal Cuts Off Contributions to New Hires
April 3rd, 2011

RIVERSIDE — A pension reform proposal to end employer-paid contributions to newly hired employees’ retirement accounts will be debated Monday by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. A 60-day study by three firms into the legal and financial ramifications of … Continue reading

Minor Reforms Won’t Be Enough to Curb the Growing Expense of California’s Public Pensions
April 2nd, 2011

Tackling obvious abuses offers a good start on pension reform. But the governor needs to flesh out the weightier parts of his proposed changes if he hopes to convince Californians he is serious about reining in retirement costs. Minor reforms … Continue reading

Governor Brown’s Pathetic Pension Plan Won’t Solve California’s Problem
April 2nd, 2011

After a year of lip-service, Gov. Jerry Brown demonstrated last week that he isn’t serious about controlling the rapidly escalating costs of public-employee pensions. The pathetic “reform plan” he unveiled Thursday is really a thread-bare series of tweaks — some … Continue reading

Merced, California Moving Toward Two-Tier Pension Plan
April 2nd, 2011

Contract with group that surveyed possible tax increase to be canceled. The Merced City Council said it will consider approving three employee contracts and canceling a contract with an educational consultant hired for a possible sales tax vote. Members will … Continue reading

A Third of San Carlos, California’s Employees Earned More Than $100,000 Last Year
April 2nd, 2011

San Carlos paid roughly a third of its employees more than $100,000 in 2010 — the same year it contracted for police service and searched for other cuts to eliminate a $3.3 million budget deficit, salary data released by the … Continue reading

Gov. Brown’s Pension Plan for California Is Too Little, Too Late
April 1st, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a package of reforms to the pension systems for state workers. He tackles the obvious and most egregious abuses in the current system but falls far short of offering anything that would have a significant … Continue reading

California Governor Brown’s Pension Proposal Is a Bad April Fool’s Prank
April 1st, 2011

Governor Jerry Brown released Thursday his proposal to reform pension benefits for California public employees. But his outline for so-called reform more resembles a bad April Fool’s joke than much else. Superficially, the governor’s plan tackles the obvious and most … Continue reading

A Small Handful of Pension Reform for California
April 1st, 2011

Yesterday Governor Brown released a list of flagrant pension system abuses he proposes to fix as part of a pension reform package. This handful of first step reforms is great as far as it goes, but voters must not be … Continue reading

More Americans Now Work for Government Than in Several Other Industries Combined
April 1st, 2011

More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined. If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this … Continue reading

California Pension Reform: How Much Would It Save?
April 1st, 2011

How could Republican legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown have debated the best ways to catch the state’s pension systems before they fall off the cliff if they didn’t know what the possible fiscal effect of each reform would be? Brown … Continue reading

AUDIO: California Pension Problems Deepen as Governor Proposes Reforms
April 1st, 2011

California Governor Jerry Brown Thursday introduced a series of pension reform proposals, as the California State Teachers Retirement System reported a jump in unfunded liabilities… Meanwhile, the California State Teachers Retirement System projected that it now has $56 billion less … Continue reading

Latest Public Pension Fund Data Show Taxpayers Still on Hook for Trillions
April 1st, 2011

Despite pension fund investment gains in 2010, taxpayers still owe state and municipal workers trillions of dollars for promised benefits no matter how much funds earn during the next 30 years. According to data for the 4th Quarter released Thursday … Continue reading

US Wants States to Reveal More About Pension Funding
April 1st, 2011

(Reuters) – A federal board will soon propose that U.S. states disclose more about their pension funding as worries grow whether states and municipalities can pay for their employees’ pensions. Of the longer-term problems in states’ budgets, none loom larger … Continue reading

Another Los Angeles Pension Gimmick
April 1st, 2011

The “landmark pension and healthcare reform agreement with a coalition of six Los Angeles civilian unions” proposed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council President Eric Garcetti does little to eliminate the projected budget deficit of $500 million and the … Continue reading

Funded Ratios for States’ Pension Funds Continue to Weaken, Says Standard & Poor’s
March 31st, 2011

The funded ratios of U.S. state pension systems continued to weaken during the 2009 budget year despite a strengthening stock market after lows that March, Standard & Poor’s said Thursday. While state and local tax revenue has nearly snapped back … Continue reading

PENSION PULSE: CalSTRS’ Shortfall Grows to $56 Billion
March 31st, 2011

The pension system for California’s teachers has $56 billion less than it needs to cover the benefits promised to its 852,000 members and their families, the fund reported Thursday, as big investment losses in 2008 continue to reverberate. The drop … Continue reading

CalSTRS’ Unfunded Pension Liabilities Continue to Grow
March 31st, 2011

CalSTRS today reported a big leap in its unfunded liabilities – the gap between its assets and its pension obligations to California’s teachers. The new estimate could intensify the political debate over public employee retirement costs. An increase in the … Continue reading

Shortfall grows to $56B for Calif. teachers pension fund despite better-than-expected returns
March 31st, 2011

California teacher pension shortfall grows to $56B The pension system for California’s teachers has $56 billion less than it needs to cover the benefits promised to its 852,000 members and their families, the fund reported Thursday, as big investment losses … Continue reading

Ousted City Manager of Bell, California Indicted for Conspiring to Illegally Boost Pension
March 31st, 2011

Former city administrator and his assistant conducted an elaborate plan to conceal benefits and bypass state law by hiding their true pensions, an indictment says. Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo and his assistant spent seven years conspiring to illegally … Continue reading

UCLA’s Millionaire Doctor David Feinberg
March 31st, 2011

How Feinberg got $1.3 million amid tuition hikes, budget cuts and a recession Last year, when Stanford Hospital & Clinics was considering poaching Dr. David Feinberg from UCLA, where he is the associate vice chancellor and CEO of its public … Continue reading

Mayor of Rocklin, California Wants City to Sue CalPERS
March 30th, 2011

In a surprise move last week, Mayor George Magnuson called for a lawsuit against the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. “I would like to have a closed session and take a look at the probability of filing a lawsuit against … Continue reading

Little Hoover Commission Report Paints Dire Picture of California Public Pensions
March 30th, 2011

California’s Little Hoover Commission (officially, the Milton Marks “Little Hoover” Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy), an independent oversight agency, added to the growing California public pension literature when it issued a report on the condition of the … Continue reading

Fullerton, California’s Unfunded Pension Liability Is $192 Million
March 30th, 2011

It’s almost April. Our wise and courageous city council is already wading through wage negotiations with the city employee unions for the upcoming budget year. How did we get this far without adding up Fullerton’s total unfunded pension obligation? Oh … Continue reading

California Governor’s Public Safety Employee Contract May Not Convince Skeptics
March 30th, 2011

If you’re already skeptical about the state’s ability to cut billions of dollars from projected spending levels, the new contract Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has negotiated with public safety employees will not do much to win your confidence. A review … Continue reading

Jerry Brown, Show Us Pension Reform!
March 30th, 2011

IT’S TIME for Jerry Brown to show us the reform — to prove that he’s willing to stand up to the public-employee unions that helped put him in office in order to solve the pension crisis eroding state finances. With … Continue reading

Pension and Budget Reforms More Popular Than the Taxes California Democrats Want on the Ballot
March 30th, 2011

That explosion you heard in downtown Sacramento on Tuesday was the big blowup of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plans to ask voters in June to extend billions of dollars in taxes to balance the deficit-riddled state budget. Brown terminated negotiations with … Continue reading

Retired City Manager of Santa Ana, California Cashed Out $230,366 in Unused Time Off
March 30th, 2011

Recently retired Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream cashed out $230,366 in unused time off, according to figures provided by the city, yet another large cost attributable to a major turnover in city leadership over the last few months. In … Continue reading

Retired Teachers in California Earn More Than Working Teachers in 28 States
March 29th, 2011

I came across the most recent summary report for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and I thought its pared-down tables and graphs nicely encapsulated the pension situation in the state. First note that the average annual salary in … Continue reading

Inreasing Pension Costs a Factor in Lompoc, California’s Budget
March 29th, 2011

Like other cities around the state, Lompoc is looking at a budget deficit while grappling with employee pension costs that are expected to continue rising. The “worst case scenarios” have the city’s annual pension costs increasing as much as $2 … Continue reading

Today’s Class Conflict: Government Employees vs. the Taxpayers
March 29th, 2011

Today’s government workers receive not only better medical benefits and retirement packages than private employees, but significantly higher base salaries, too — as well as easier working conditions and greater job security. I’ve talked a lot about how this has … Continue reading

CHART: The Escalating Cost of Kern County’s Public Employee Pensions
March 29th, 2011

View the Chart Here

KERN COUNTY PENSIONS IN PERIL – Part 4: Allowances, Regular Raises Also Boost Pension Payouts
March 29th, 2011

A number of obscure county policies drive up pension costs and make it difficult for pension funds to cover the cost of basic benefits. EXTRA PAY CREDITS County employees’ monthly pensions are based on an average of their highest consecutive … Continue reading

KERN COUNTY PENSIONS IN PERIL – Part 3: Proposed Solutions Abound, But Will They Work Here?
March 29th, 2011

There is no swift path out of the financial crisis Kern County faces because of its troubled pension plan. So far the county has attempted to roll back pensions for future employees and require increased contributions from current employees to … Continue reading

KERN COUNTY PENSIONS IN PERIL – Part 2: Bad Decisions Have Piled Up
March 29th, 2011

Kern County’s pension system is in crisis and losing ground. In just a little more than two years, actuarial estimates predict, the system will have only half the money it needs to meet its long-term obligations. Financial analysts generally consider … Continue reading

KERN COUNTY PENSIONS IN PERIL – Part 1: Rising Costs to Endanger Workers, Services for Years
March 29th, 2011

This fiscal year, Kern County will spend $245.9 million to fund pensions for current and retired workers, a mix of cash payments and principal and interest on pension bonds. That’s around $15 of every $100 in the county’s $1.6 billion … Continue reading

Board Member Calls for Pension Overhaul at Placer County, California’s Water Agency
March 29th, 2011

Failing to get traction for his push to reduce Placer County Water Agency’s pension costs, a board member went public this week calling the agency a “government-protected monopoly” that “can simply raise water rates” rather than deal with ballooning obligations. … Continue reading

California’s Pension Reform Begins With the Current Workforce
March 29th, 2011

While Governor Brown was acknowledging yesterday that pension reform is a possible element of a budget solution, a bipartisan, independent state commission released a report charting a bold path for pension reforms that would create both short- and long-term budget … Continue reading

Let California voters decide on pensions, spending
March 29th, 2011

In Sacramento, the knee-jerk response to any crisis is to blame the Republicans. But if Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders can’t cut a deal to win the two GOP votes in the Assembly and two in the Senate … Continue reading

Double-Dippers Earning Pensions Plus Paychecks Are Targeted by US States
March 28th, 2011

Bill Treacy retired as executive director of the Texas Public Accountancy Board in 2003. Rehired to the same job a month later, he’s been pulling down both a government paycheck and a pension ever since. “The job has to go … Continue reading

New California Pension Reform Issue: Governing Board Makeup
March 28th, 2011

Should the makeup of the governing boards of the two big state pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, be changed? The issue edged into the spotlight last week, pushed from the shadows by rising government pension costs and a CalPERS corruption … Continue reading

San Francsico’s Jeff Adachi Pushes New Pension Reform Initiative
March 28th, 2011

Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s elected public defender, is a modern-day Don Quixote tilting at unionized windmills while singing “To Dream the Impossible Pension Reform Dream.” The self-described progressive dared to take on that city’s powerful unions last year with his … Continue reading

California Cities and Counties Face Bigger Bill for Employee Pensions
March 27th, 2011

The bill is coming due this year for local governments struggling to fulfill generous pension promises they made in better economic times. Starting July 1, most cities and counties in the Sacramento region will need to step up their contributions … Continue reading

CalPERS’ Irresponsible Return Rate
March 27th, 2011

The worker-dominated board of the nation’s largest public pension program demonstrated last week that it is willing to put our children and grandchildren at financial risk to protect its own current interests. Ignoring the recommendation of its own actuary, and … Continue reading

The Days of Gold-Plated Public Sector Pensions Are Numbered
March 27th, 2011

Public sector employees, the workforce elite led by state and municipal workers, are now storming legislative chambers to preserve their special status. Wisconsin is the current case study in what happens when the government, a monopoly service provider, confronts the … Continue reading

How Did California Get $500 Billion in Public Pension Debt? One Dollar at a Time
March 25th, 2011

California is mired in an unprecedented and positively destructive pension crisis – underfunded by $500 billion, and rising. Yet there’s a more pressing challenge: How best to illustrate the problem? What will motivate Californians to press for a bold and … Continue reading

VIDEO: Costa Mesa, California May Lay Off Nearly Half of City Workers to Balance Budget
March 25th, 2011

Watch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.com

Public-Sector Pension Wars Are Breaking Out Across the Political Landscape
March 25th, 2011

PUBLIC-SECTOR PENSION wars are breaking out across the political landscape. Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to rein in state and local employee pension costs is central to his explosive battle with unions in Wisconsin. In Costa Mesa, Calif., a GOP … Continue reading

Public Pensions Are in the Red Even With Rosy Assumptions
March 25th, 2011

The decision to avoid the extra upfront expense was, in effect, a government decision to borrow each dollar at a 7.75% rate, says American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Andrew Biggs. Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service have begun treating unfunded … Continue reading

There Are a Lot of People Who Want You to Think There Is No Public Pension Crisis
March 25th, 2011

There are a lot of people, mostly representing governments, who want you to think that there is no crisis in public pensions and there are a lot of people, mostly government workers, who want to believe them.  They have seized … Continue reading

Pension, Healthcare Deal Reached With Los Angeles’ Largest City Union
March 25th, 2011

Villaraigosa says the landmark tentative labor agreement would greatly increase employee contributions and put an end to some furloughs. Union rank and file still must ratify the pact. Los Angeles officials Thursday unveiled what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa termed a landmark … Continue reading

San Diego Ballot Measure Aims to Revamp Pension System
March 24th, 2011

Sanders, Faulconer promise big savings if voters approve plan A proposed ballot measure by Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Councilman Kevin Faulconer would alter San Diego’s pension system in profound ways that they say would save a projected $1.6 billion … Continue reading

California Gov. Brown Says Unions Should Be Open to GOP Concessions on Pensions
March 24th, 2011

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that he has told his labor union allies they should be open to concessions that Republican lawmakers are seeking on public employee pensions in exchange for GOP votes on the budget. The … Continue reading

Former California Legislator Submits Pension Rollback Ballot Initiative
March 24th, 2011

Former Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello has submitted a proposed statewide ballot initiative to the Attorney General’s Office, the first step to circulating a petition to put a measure on a November ballot, if an election is called this year. Niello, … Continue reading

City of San Diego's Pension Settlement Talks Collapse
March 23rd, 2011

Differences prove too great at single negotiating session Talks between city officials and labor leaders over a global settlement that would end San Diego’s protracted pension problems have been called off — at least for now. The negotiations ended after … Continue reading

READ THE POLL (p.12): ‘Californians and Their Government’
March 23rd, 2011

Some findings of the current survey: * Public support has dropped for holding a June special election on extending temporary tax and fee increases. * Nearly half of Californians say the amount of money that state and local governments spend … Continue reading

Poll Finds Support Is Dropping for Brown Budget, But Rising for California Pension Reform
March 23rd, 2011

Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to follow the latest move on how to fix the $26.6 billion California budget. It’s been changing hourly. Does Guv Jerry Brown got the votes to put it on the ballot in June? … Continue reading

New PPIC Poll Finds 56% of Likely Voters Say California’s Public Employee Pensions Are a Big Problem
March 23rd, 2011

Support for a special election on Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to extend temporary tax and fee increases has waned significantly in the past two months, according to a statewide survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California. The … Continue reading

Taxpayers in Calaveras County, California Are on the Hook for $40 Million in Unfunded Public Employee Retirement Benefits
March 23rd, 2011

As much as $40 million in benefits at stake SAN ANDREAS – Calaveras County taxpayers are on the hook for as much as $40 million in unfunded employee retirement benefits, a California Public Employees Retirement System actuary said Tuesday. Actuary … Continue reading

CalPERS’ Decision to Not Cut Assumed Earnings Rate Was Politically Expedient
March 23rd, 2011

California should understand by now the dangers of setting long-range fiscal policy based on present convenience. Yet officials at the state’s largest pension fund adopted that dubious approach once again last week. Public retirement boards, however, should base financial decisions … Continue reading

LAUSD’s Health Obligation Is $10 Billion; ‘This Will Bankrupt the District’ Says Superintendent
February 25th, 2011

If the Los Angeles Unified School District had to cover all of its long-term health care promises to current and past employees today, the tab would reach nearly $10 billion, district officials said Tuesday.

A generous health benefits plan, coupled with skyrocketing medical costs, declining revenues and a growing population of retired employees, have caused the steady climb of health care expenditures at the school district over the last decade, officials said during a presentation to the school board. Continue reading

$170 Million in Bonus Payments to Retirees Draw Ire in Cash-Strapped San Francisco
February 25th, 2011

As San Francisco struggles under ballooning pension and health care costs, the city’s retirees will receive unexpected cost-of-living bonuses totaling $170 million. The city’s anticipated budget deficit for the coming year is $360 million.
Continue reading

Pink Slips and Pension Red Ink: In California, It’s ‘Pension Layoffs’ vs. ‘Pension Attrition’
February 25th, 2011

The chickens have come home to roost in the California municipal pension community. The state’s largest pension fund recently* gave local government officials a wake-up call about their projected pension cost increases. One city, Pasadena, has responded by laying off management workers in an effort to rein in personnel costs that are now obviously unsustainable in light of skyrocketing pension bills. Continue reading

Path is Sought for States to Escape Debt Burden
February 25th, 2011

Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers. Continue reading