Cities urge CalPERS to help ease staff, pay cuts

The city manager of once-bankrupt Vallejo expects soaring police pension costs to reach 98 percent of pay in a decade. Lodi employees dropped from 490 to 390 in the last decade. And Oroville, after cutting a third of its staff, recently cut police pay 10 percent.

Eight cities struggling with rising pension costs urged the CalPERS board yesterday to analyze two ways to reduce the cost of pensions, even though the proposals were said by the CalPERS attorney to be unconstitutional under current law.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, asked the CalPERS board to analyze the cost of suspending cost-of-living adjustments and giving current employees, for work done in the future, the lower pension for employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013, under reform legislation.

The chairman of the League of California Cities pension committee, Bruce Channing, Laguna Hills city manager, told the CalPERS board that cities throughout the state are “gravely concerned” about “unsustainable” pension costs and all options should be considered.

“Cutting staff, as we have done in my city, is becoming a recurring pattern,” Channing said.

Five unions and retiree groups urged rejection of Moorlach’s request, saying a COLA cut would harm retirees with small pensions. They said Moorlach wants to do away with pensions and should do his own analysis, rather than pass the cost to CalPERS.

The CalPERS board president, Rob Feckner, said he won’t repeat what he said on first seeing the Moorlach letter. He said the request did not come from the entire Legislature, and if Moorlach really believes in his “pet project” he should find another way to fund it.

Vallejo filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and did not cut pensions, a trend followed by the Stockton and San Bernardino bankruptcies in 2012. Vallejo said CalPERS threatened a long legal battle. The other two cities said they needed to be job competitive, particularly for police.

There was speculation several years ago that Vallejo, which had higher costs than the other two cities, may be headed for a second bankruptcy. The Vallejo city manager, Daniel Keen, said he took office three months after Vallejo exited bankruptcy in 2011.

Keen told the CalPERS board yesterday that Vallejo has the same gradual erosion of services that the other seven cities talked about, despite an increase in the sales tax and a tax on medical marijuana.

“We are facing dramatic increases in our pension rates, as are many cities,” Keen said. “We will be looking at 98 percent rates for public safety by ’27-28 and 55 percent rates for our miscellaneous employees in that time frame.”

The Lodi city manager, Steve Schwabaurer, thanked the board for its courage in acknowledging there is a “crisis’ and taking some steps. But he said he has not seen a discussion of options other than asking the cities for more money.


He gave examples of Lodi’s reduced services and employees: “In 2008 we had 490, today we have 390. In 2008 we had 78 police officers, today we have 71. In 2008 we had five active fire stations, today we have four and a quarter.”

Schwabaurer said CalPERS is projecting that Lodi’s pension rates will increase to 38 percent of pay and 78 percent of pay. He said the projected rates will burn up the general fund reserve and the pension stabilization fund.

To give union representatives in the board audience a sense of what that means, he said: “That is one of my police officers 24 hours a day. It’s a fire station. It’s all of my parks and rec, and all of my library. It’s not a choice we can make.”

The Oroville finance director, Ruth Wright, said the city’s workforce was cut by a third two years ago to balance the budget. A recent 10 percent pay cut negotiated for police was “very hard, very sad,” she said, and now pension rates are projected to double in seven years.

“In three to four years our cash flow is going to be gone,” Wright said. “We don’t even know how we are going to operate past four years. We have been saying the bankruptcy word, which is not very popular.”

West Sacramento’s assistant city manager, Phil Wright, said the city was able to successfully bargain with unions to get through the financial difficulty after the recession began in 2008.


“Now I’m sitting at the table telling them there is no money after they have taken 5 percent cuts, paid all of their PERS, and it’s because we can’t afford any money,” Wright said. “Every penny that has been returned to our general fund in property tax and sales tax is going to pay for our PERS benefit.”

Others urging CalPERS to do the cost analysis requested by Moorlach were Concord, Santa Rosa, Chico, Yuba City, and the California Special Districts Association.

Opponents said the Moorlach proposals would violate the “California rule,” a series of state court decisions widely believed to mean that the pension offered at hire becomes a vested right, protected by contract law, that can’t be cut unless offset by a comparable new benefit.

Al Darby of the Retired Public Employees Association said the Moorlach request is an “anti-pension proposal” that the CalPERS actuary extimates would cost 80 hours of work time, not counting followup questions.

He said CalPERS was being asked to do opposition on itself, which is absurd. He said cities should explore other methods of relief, such as better use of technology, innovative contracting, and taxing power.

Neal Johnson of SEIU Local 1000 said the fact that the request comes from one legislator, not a committee, seems to have a “certain aim.” He said the advocates say all options should be considered but the request is for just two.

“It is self-serving,” he said. “It is not in the benefit of the 1.5 million members of the system, and I hope you will reject it. As I said, the data is there. They can do the analysis.”

Board member J.J. Jelincic said “a big problem is that what we are being asked to do is a bullet point for an initiative that will pick out the most extreme number and will ignore all the conditions that went into the assumptions.”

Board member Henry Jones said he appreciates the fiscal responsibility of cities to balance the budget and maintain services. But, he said, the fiduciary responsibility of the CalPERS board is to the members of the pension system.

“Our primary responsibility is to have a sustainable fund to pay retirement benefits for years to come,” he said, “and I think we have exercised some of those responsibilities.”

Jones said CalPERS lowered the earnings forecast used to discount future pension obligations, raising employer rates, and adopted other risk mitigation strategies to maintain the pension system in the long run.

Board member Richard Gillihan said he probably would not support the reforms Moorlach wants analyzed, particularly the COLA cut. But he said the request is being “twisted” by some of his colleagues.

Because the CalPERS staff often responds to stakeholder requests without going to the board, he said, the fact that the Moorlach request is before the board suggests that the board is politicizing it.

He said the Moorlach request comes from not just one legislator but also the cities that urged that CalPERS provide the data. He said it’s difficult to negotiate with the unions, as some members suggested, without the data.

“We are just going to disregard their interest in the data,” Gillihan said. “I find that somewhat insulting.”

Given the comments of most board members, the committee chairman, Richard Costigan, said he would not call for a vote. He instructed the CalPERS chief executive, Marcie Frost, to tell Moorlach where to get information to answer his request.

Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades, most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at Posted 21 Sep 17

43 Responses to “Cities urge CalPERS to help ease staff, pay cuts”

  1. JenniferHu Says:

    Seems interesting that the cities, counties and special districts gathered at CalPEArS by senator Moorlac, not a committee request but an unprecedented personal senators request focused on the hardship of the lack of CalPERS data for COLA and making legacy retirees rollover to the new retirement program. This personal request for CalPERS data would give the grandstanding effect of CalPERS data backing.since taking away a COLA boost intermittently from these retirees will not make a dent in the public agencies individual budgets and would only harm the retiree who already did their job with a contract including their retirement benefit. That changing these very same legacy retirees to the new PEPRA law would be illegal and also impair these retirees ability to pay their bills or contribute economically to the very entities where they live.
    I heard no mention of the positive effects the 2013 PEPRA law effects showing up now.
    Interesting the lack of coverage from retirees pushing back noting that most retirees are making approximately 2000 a month and are now paying much higher copays and health care benefits has eaten away at their fixed income. That these same retirees are contributing to the very representatives districts economically In a significant way.
    This request to impare older Californians that worked until retirement under contracts including their retirement benefits is just wrong. These cities, county and public agencies should also be looking at their administrative costs, the pay and benefits for the very people who came to CalPERS at the senators request. Average city manager pay 700,000/ yr. the silly programs they fund instead of going back to the public programs needed, negotiating with all their manager/staff and bargaining units who work in each entity that spoke. What I heard is they can’t meet their retirement payments yet I did not hear that every employee was paying more just bargaining unit employees.
    I recommend that all those who came to whine about their individual fiscal mess should all go back to their people and sit down and do an actual balanced budget with the bare bones of public services. Stop paying these city management staff the outrageous pay and benefit packages including regular raises. When they get their individual balanced budgets together with their people then we should listen.

  2. Richard Rider Says:

    The people in Vallejo deserve what they get. They had their bankruptcy, and let the politicians avoid the chance to institute reforms — leaving them in worse shape than ever. Screw ’em.

    Vallejo voters, if you want effective public safety protections, buy guns and fire extinguishers. Your city government will tax you to death, while gutting the safety programs you THINK you’re paying for.

    The smart ones have probably already moved away (especially the retired public employees). The Darwin effect.

    Rest assured: In Vallejo not one of their firefighters and probably no police LIVE in the city that pays them.

  3. John Moore Says:

    At this time there is only one pension reform, except for a chapter 9 in bankruptcy that rejects the agency defined benefit plan: that is to elect a majority on the agency legislative body. That will take the agency general fund out of the hands of the DB advocates and place it in the hands of reformers.

    Currently legislative bodies utilize the agency general fund to defeat pension reform. They spend millions of taxpayer money for that purpose. But if a majority of reformers controlled that fund, it could hire attorney’s and staff to reform pension plans through salary control. There is no vested right to any level of salary and salaries should be the variable that assures that annual pension costs do not create pension debt or excessive annual costs.

    Reformers who believe a state wide initiative or supreme court decision will have any effect on pro DB plan agency councils and BOS are unrealistic.

  4. Debra Desrosiers Says:

    I can’t believe how the CalPERS & it’s board members think it’s John Moorlach’s job to do a cost analysis. What is wrong with those people, they obviously don’t care about where the money comes from as long as it comes. I can’t wait to get out of this state.

  5. Ken Churchill Says:

    The truth is that 3% at 50 years of age for Safety employees and 3% at 60 for non safety employees is unaffordable. Until we change the formulas going forward for all employees to the current PEPRA formulas and reduce payroll and benefits through lay-offs and salary reductions most California cities and counties are going to still be headed for bankruptcy and service insolvency.

    We need the Supreme Court to rule that making changes going forward to formulas for existing employees as the First District Court of Appeals ruled is legal in the Marin case would bring much needed relief.

    Also, my understanding is that a 2% COLA adds about 26% to the plan’s liability so it would have a huge impact on the unfunded liability and current pension costs right away. But I would suggest that only COLA’s for folks who got a retroactive pension increase should be eliminated.

  6. SeeSaw Says:

    @Jennifer–You are so right! My take home pension check is cut by 50% the moment it hits my bank account in order to pay the out-of-pocket costs due my former employer for ABC medical premiums for me and my spouse–this insurance is only secondary to Medicare, yet the premiums are more than the cost of insurance for the active employees who are fully covered by such. This a the thing that should be analyzed and corrected!

    @Debra–No kidding? CalPERS has a fiduciary duty to serve its members. It has no duty to analize ways to cut that obligation and no duty to find the means to do something that is illegal!

    @Ken–So what god in heaven appointed you to decide who should have their COLA cut!

  7. CalPERSon Says:

    Hey Sen. Moorlach, COLAs are capped at 2%. That means if inflation is really 3% or 4% then retirees will see erosion in their purchasing power. Isn’t that enough pain on retirees for you?

  8. Touigh love Says:

    Hay CalPens ……….. that 2% more COLA than Private Sector pensions ever granted ……………. almost NEVER including COLA-increases.

    What make PUBLIC Sector workers so “special” that they deserve a better deal …..on the Taxpayers’ dime ?

  9. Earth Says:

    Earth to Tough Love:

    Perhaps you picked the wrong sector. Maybe public workers …are… the best and the brightest.

  10. SeeSaw Says:

    @touigh love–I think TL knows how to spell his alias. Your imitation is not very good.

  11. Craig Powell Says:

    CalPERS board members are just unbelievable. They claim they’re acting as fiduciaries in the best interests of their members, but they sacrifice the portfolio’s rate of return with their arrogant “socially conscious” investing. Then they sit back do nothing while CalPERS members are poised to be laid off in droves because cities and counties won’t be able to afford to keep them on their payrolls AND pay their exploding pension bills to CalPERS. CalPERS board members should take the time to ask laid off CalPERS members if they think they’re acting in their best interests.

    When fiduciaries bury their heads in the sand and refuse to even study options for fixing what is a growing disaster for California communities AND CalPERS members, you know we have a rogue pension system in California.

    Plus, if and when the Cal. Supreme Court upholds the appellate court ruling that municipalities have the legal right and power to tweak pension benefits going forward, California municipalities need to be prepared with vetted options for implementing its broadened powers to save their communities from service insolvency and even Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Do your jobs!

    I foresee a slew of breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits in the future for “head in the sand” CalPERS board members.

  12. SeeSaw Says:

    @Craig – There is nothing proper about investing in tobacco products and fossil fuels! A moral stand has to have a beginning somewhere–why not CalPERS? If the Supreme Ct upholds the appellate court ruling, statutory legislation or voter-approved initiatives will still be necessary to cut benefits going forward, except for the cuts that were already passed with PEPRA 2013. Individual entities do not have to do mass layoffs if they act responsibly in their, respective, hiring practices.

  13. S Moderation Honestly Says:


    Nope, that is classic Tough Love.

    Hay… (grass, clover, alfalfa, etc., cut and dried for use as forage.)
    Hey… (an interjection to call attention to something)

    “that 2% more COLA” (syntax)
    “What make PUBLIC Sector workers so “special”… ” (more syntax)

    “almost NEVER including COLA-increases. What make PUBLIC Sector workers so “special”…” (inordinate use of “CAPS-LOCK”)

    It is difficult, in such a short post (very rare for Tough Love, by the way) to get in the required quota of mis-takes, so she/he has to extend the errors to the alias.

    Imagine the hell her keyboard goes through.

  14. CalPERSon Says:

    So how many of these cities crying poor mouth are ones that let their fire chiefs and city managers roll overtime, vacation, and uniform allowances into their final compensation?

    Before we start cutting COLAs for 85 year olds who didn’t game the system we ought to look at how much those “spiker cities” contributed to the CalPERS shortfall. Let’s ask CalPERS to research that!

  15. StatusQuoMustGo Says:

    Best and brightest. Hahaha. Especially the State of CA Engineers, scientists and attorneys work way less hours than their private sector counter parts. What do they have to show us for their efforts? Oroville Dam anyone? The vast majority of government workers these days are only focused on the “2% at 55” and “how little can I work to earn it?” Their motto is: “what can my government do for me?” Obviously, the majority of the board members feel the same way as the rest of the state work force when it comes to actually doing any work. Why not, if they can get someone else to do it. Completely backwards.

  16. SeeSaw Says:

    @CalPERSon – CalPERS does not allow overtime and vacation to be rolled into salary for the pension calculation–has not allowed that since 1993. Uniform allowance was different story for rank and file. PEPRA 2013 made a start at pension reform, state-wide.

    @S Moderation – I will accept your decision that TL was too busy to spell his handle correctly; You have always referred to TL as “her”. I have never met the person who hates me so without ever having met me, and I assume you have not either. My mind always refers back to a post between TL and Skipping Dog when such communications were more cordial. TL told SK of taking the wife to an affair of some kind–such remark led to my belief that TL is a “he”.

  17. S Moderation Honestly Says:

    I’m not certain, CalPERSon, but I think CalPERS eliminated pensions based on OT, vacation, etc. in the 90s. Some 37 county systems and separate city systems continued, but were stopped by PEPRA in 2012. Maybe someone can find that info for sure.

  18. SeeSaw Says:

    @Status- What public-sector job did you fail to obtain that caused you to get such a bad case of pension envy?

  19. S Moderation Honestly Says:

    Thank you, SeeSaw, for the spiking info.

    I didn’t see the wife post. I’ve seen several posters ask, but he never answered. I’ll go with “he” from now on. It’s much simpler and actually irrelevant anyway. I’m sure you don’t take it personally, there is a long list of people he hates. (You know who you are.) Imagine going through life like that. Sad.

    His typos and syntax errors are legendary. I’ve seen “Touch Love”, among others. And CAPS-LOCK, of course.
    I wouldn’t make fun of a speech impediment, but “Touch Love” is fair game for mockery. He practically begs for it.

  20. CalPERSon Says:

    SeeSaw, S Mod — Yes, I’m aware PEPRA put an end to spiking. But how much money in spiked benefits is being paid out today for city or county retirees who retired before 2013?

    Example: Joe retired in 2012 with a base salary of $90,000. He had a one time excess vacation payment of $30,000 and was allowed to include it in his final compensation, and got a pension based on $120,000.

    Joe’s spiking is going to incur a large extra cost to the system this year and every year until he dies. Now look at all of the Joes in the system, what are they costing CalPERS today? Before we ask all retirees to give up COLAs, maybe CalPERS should consider a special assessment against cities and counties that allowed spiking to pay for the damage to the system that their negligence and largesse caused.

  21. StatusQuoMustGo Says:

    Imagine all the people living for today. Yoo-hoo-oooo. – John Lennon.

    SeeSaw- You disgruntled, ungrateful pensioner you. Get to the business of living and enjoying the years you have left! LOL.

  22. SeeSaw Says:

    @Status – Oh, look who is calling someone else disgruntled–ROFLMAO

  23. SeeSaw Says:

    @Cal, I get it. But, in hindsight, what has been done contractually must be honored. Why do you think CalPERS ended those egregious spiking practices 14 years ago! Baby steps are being taken by the State and that is all that can and should be done. I am not one of those former employees you hypothetically describe. For heaven’s sake, my former CM gets seven to eight times more than I and that was just calculate from his salary and an individually negotiated benefit separate from CalPERS. Would it make me happy if some were taken from him and given to me? Of course not! People need to get rid of the envy and lead their own lives properly. The, respective, public entities need to get their own acts together and starting giving more equitable treatment across the board to their employees.

  24. SeeSaw Says:

    My error–CalPERS ended those spiking practices 24 years ago. Watch out Status–I am tuning up the violin for you.

  25. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    Right or wrong, it is now illegal (and arguably unconstitutional) to reduce pensions for those who “spiked” their pensions. This and other benefits were often made knowingly in negotiations with unions, often in exchange for lower wages.

    Pension terms should be very difficult to change because they are a long range obligation. A city can increase or decrease wages annually, and if wages are too low, workers can go elsewhere. But if pensions are changed after the fact, the retiree is stuck.

    Those wanting pension reform (usually a euphemism for reduction) often downplay PEPRA, or don’t mention it at all. True, much of the savings are “in the future” but the pension changes are significant in the long run. First, current workers are contributing more, for the same pension. And new workers are contributing more for a reduced pension down the line.

    “In the CalPERS policymaker report, the example is a worker with a starting salary of $46,000 who retires after 20 years at age 62. The pension for the pre-reform or “classic” worker is $2,140 a month, compared to $1,705 for the new hire — $435 less.”

    And, in my bargaining unit (12) he now contributes 10% of salary, instead of the previous 5%.

  26. CalPERSon Says:

    SMD: Right or wrong, it is now illegal (and arguably unconstitutional) to reduce pensions for those who “spiked” their pensions.

    Correct, but in my post I did not advocate cutting Joe’s pension. Joe went to his managers and got his final year of comp approved, he did nothing wrong. My beef is with the city that encouraged or allowed the pension spiking to occur.

    It irks me that the Mayor of Spikertown wants me to give up my COLA to help bail out his budget when his pro-spiking policies helped create the CalPERS shortfall in the first place.

  27. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    Sorry. This is very complicated, but I think the CalPERS funding ratio usually given is an average of all local governments and the state. In 2016, Adelanto was 97% funded, while the city of Alameda was only 70%.

    Unless that spiker was in your city, it shouldn’t affect you. I understood Sen. John Moorlach, wanted CalPERS to analyze the cost of suspending cost-of-living adjustments and giving current employees, for work done in the future, the lower pension for employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013… for each individual city requesting it. So if Alameda wanted to eliminate COLAs, they could negotiate with their employees (and fight the constitutional issue) and not affect other cities.

  28. SeeSaw Says:

    Senator Moorlach had his bills for allowing cities to freeze COLAS and cut pensions for current employees going forward stalled in Committee at the close of this session–they then became two-year bills. So instead of waiting until the next session convenes in 2018, he is coming to CalPERS to do an analysis for him so he has his ammunition when the session convenes again. What a sneak!

  29. SeeSaw Says:

    CalPERSON the CalPERS shortfall was created in the 2008 global collapse which was caused by the corruption of Wall Street with the housing market. It lost almost 40% of its portfolio. The fund was100% funded in 2007.

  30. Tough Love Says:

    Two sides of a coin:

    The S Moderation Douglas side:

    ” And new workers are contributing more for a reduced pension down the line”

    The more CORRECT side:

    “new workers pensions (even after factoring in their higher contributions) remain MUCH greater than those granted their Private Sector counterparts, and current Public Sector workers continue to accrue new pension accruals under the LUDICROUSLY excessive formulas & provisions in place today”

  31. Tough Love Says:


    A Public Sector worker/retiree calling Moorlach a “sneak” is like a hog calling a vulture a “pig”.

  32. CalPERSon Says:

    SMD: Thank you for the information. I had wrongly assumed Moorlach wanted an across-the-board COLA cut for everyone.

    SeeSaw: If the 2008 collapse was the only reason for the shortfall, CalPERS would be back at 100% today. The real reason for the problem is SB400. I’m a strong believer in DB plans for both the gov’t and private sectors, but they have to be sustainable, and PEPRA will right the ship. 3% at 50 was a big mistake.

  33. Earth Says:

    Earth to Touigh love:

    “I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right.”

  34. S Moderation Honestly Says:

    A Blast from the past…

    (BuryPensions, April 16, 2016)

    TL @ 5:02

    “The groups impacted by MPRA are FAR FAR different than Public Sector workers”

    “These workers have run-of-the-mill pensions, clearly very modest (and MULTIPLES LESS) than those granted Public Sector workers.”

    SMT @ 7:55…

    Public sector pensions are not all alike. California pensions are more generous than New Jersey. Private pensions are not all alike. In the Maryland Local 992, If a driver starts at age 20, he can retire at 55 with $4,200 a month.

    A New Jersey state truck driver with 35 years can retire at 60 with $2,566 a month. Even with 3% automatic COLAs, it would take him over 17 years to get to $4,200 a month. 11 years to catch up with the $3,500 a month pension
    “run-of-the-mill pensions, clearly very modest (and MULTIPLES LESS) than those granted Public Sector workers.”

    You’re shooting from the lip (again). In virtually every instance, you automatically assume the public worker is overcompensated.

    Calm down. Check your facts …before… you rant. It’s no skin of my nose. It’s your credibility on the line.
    Back to the present…

    We have learned that *some* private sector pensions are more generous than public sector. How many? We don’t know. Public sector pay and pensions are a matter of record. Private sector, not so much.

    Next time, before you do your math, give us a source for some of your “typical” private sector pensions. Some kind of current database would help.

    Some say your opinions are biased, and your “facts” are skewed. Show us the data.

  35. S Moderation Honestly Says:


    “SeeSaw: If the 2008 collapse was the only reason for the shortfall, CalPERS would be back at 100% today. The real reason for the problem is SB400.”

    No, CalPERS would not be back at 100%. With the dot com bust, CalPERS went from overfunded in 2000 to about 80% funded in 2004. By 2007, they had returned to 100%… even with SB400 in effect. Many other states and private pensions did the same. 2008 was different… “The worst recession since the Great Depression”

    Look at the pattern for funding status of S&P 500 private pensions. It mimics the pattern for CalPERS, and I guarantee SB400 was not a factor there.

    2008 pension decline was not a California problem, not a public vs private sector problem (not an SB400 problem); it was, and still is, a global pension problem.

    SB400 was a product of the times (near unanimous approval by the legislature). Something we’ve learned from as evidenced by PEPRA forbidding pension holidays and capping pensionable pay. And, once again, SB400 was *not* a “50% increase in pensions” for the vast majority of public workers. That applied only to safety workers, and then only to those who actually retired at age 50. The average age of CHP retirement is 54, and those who retired at age 57 received exactly the same pension under 3%@50 that they would under 2%@50.

  36. S Moderation Honestly Says:

    It would seem that any city, even a smaller one, could hire an actuary to estimate these savings under various scenarios. Moorlach and others would likely be skeptical of CalPERS figures anyway.

  37. SeeSaw Says:

    CalPERson, There is no more 3% at 50 with PEPRA–for new hires after Jan. 01, 2013. However, what was legally contracted must be honored. All ills of the DB pension system cannot be laid at the foot of the 3% formulas. Not every public employee was a public safety worker and not every public entity enacted the 3% at 50 and 3% at 60 plans. My former employer changed its 3% at 50 down to 3% at 55 for its public safety new hires eight years prior to PEPRA and its 3% at 60 down to 2% at 60 for miscellaneous five years prior to PEPRA.

    SMD is correct–the 3% formulas did not result in automatic 50% increases for everyone. I was misc–my 3% at 60 gave me an extra 13% more, at the time of my retirement, than I would have gotten with the original 2% formula. Without that extra 13%, my out-of-pocket premiums for medical insurance for me and my spouse would be 63% of my take-home pension check.

    People like TL can call us greedy, but all they have are opinions–the only thing that counts are facts. The fact is that people who work during their adult lives are better off and the economy is better off if defined benefit pensions are there when retirement comes. We want all workers to have DB pensions–that is the difference between us and the the pension- envy crowd.

  38. S Moderation Honestly Says:


    It’s all relative. From a recent article by Mary Pat Campbell listing the authors of an article…

    X’s 2016 pension was $126K

    Y’s was $110K,

    Z has pension of $104K for 32 years of service

    “I’m not quoting these to get snippy about the $100K club – after all, I make more money than that and I don’t think that these are necessarily excessive amounts.”

    Perhaps TL’s problem is he doesn’t make more money than that, and can’t stand that someone else does.

  39. SeeSaw Says:

    SMD, TL mentioned before that what people like my former CM makes (seven+ times more than I) is small peanuts compared to what he makes.

    Corporations used to have profit sharing for their employees. I believe all workers should get a share of the pie. We don’t see article after article by pundits who want to take the corporations to task for giving the CEO’s golden parachutes and the workers peanuts.

    I always wonder what posters, “Status”and others are doing when they are so disdainful of public-sector workers–are they sitting in a crow’s nest on the town’s water tower with binoculars? I imagine TL doing that from the top of his penthouse–all the way from NJ to CA.

  40. S Moderation Honestly Says:

    Interesting. I hadn’t read that either. Wouldn’t have guessed it. However, I have wondered how TL has so much free time to post all over the web.

    From a Yale school of management article…

    “In today’s House Financial Services Committee hearings, the contrite CEOs of financial institutions were drilled repeatedly by legislators over the lush payouts given to the lieutenants of these financial titans just weeks ago.

    Occasionally, professors hear, “If you are so smart, why aren’t you rich?” To which professors covertly retort, “If you are so rich, why aren’t you smart?”


  41. S Moderation Honestly Says:

    That might explain TL’s notorious spelling and grammar problems also, especially when he’s arant.

    There is plenty to debate about his ridiculous theories and questionable data. I don’t have to point out his sometimes hilarious typos. That’s just an ancillary benefit.

    He mentioned once that he is much more careful with business communication, but on blogs, as long as he gets his point across, spelling is not important. In other words, on the job, The secretary has to correct his errors. That’s typical, as I understand.

  42. Justin McCarthy Says:

    Nothing the State will like more than a fiscal crisis in municipalities. The state has been raiding cities for decades and would like to see many go away. It killed redevelopment. Eventually we will see cities disincorporate or merge with other cities to spread overhead costs. Further, the last time I looked at funding levels for public pensions about five years ago the legislative pension was funded well over 100%. That is something the unions need to start looking at.

  43. S Moderation Honestly Says:

    Legislative pensions are being phased out. Since 1990, there is no pension for CA legislators. Those who accrued time before 1990 will still receive benefits for that prior service.


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