Report reveals large retirement payouts for former San Diego city employees

By Joe Britton
City News Service

A report released Monday documents large retirement payouts for former city of San Diego employees, which a pension reform advocate said amounts to a bigger scandal than in the city of Bell, where eight officials now face corruption charges for excessive salaries and perks.

According to the report, which was prepared by Marcia Fritz, the president of the California Foundation for Pension Reform, the top 10 pension recipients in the city of San Diego will split $61.5 million over the next 25 years.

“These workers, these retirees, are drawing from four different retirement allowances at the same time,” Fritz said.

“They are making more in retirement than the current salary of the city workers that are replacing them,” she said. “We are making millionaires out of these workers.”

Fritz and Councilman Carl DeMaio compared the city’s pension payments to the city of Bell, where it was recently revealed that some executive-level and elected city officials had exorbitant salaries and benefits. As a result, the mayor, several City Council members, the city manager and other officials in that Los Angeles County city are now facing corruption charges.

“This is actually worse than Bell, believe it or not,” Fritz said.

The report highlights a former San Diego city librarian who is eligible to collect a $227,249 pension annually, with an estimated payout over 25 years of more than $6 million.

“That’s a lot of books,” Fritz said.

The top pension recipient is a former assistant city attorney, who is eligible to collect a $299,103 pension annually, with a total estimated payout over 25 years of more than $8 million, according to the report.

DeMaio – who has long advocated for greater pension reform and is a vocal opponent of a proposed half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot – called the retirement payments “outrageous.”

“Taxpayers should be outraged by the data that is being released today,” he said. “These pension payments are not only unaffordable, they are indefensible.”

DeMaio also criticized the pension system for San Diego’s elected officials, which has granted benefits to those as young as 35 and heavily subsidizes those retirements.

The City Council tomorrow is scheduled to consider increasing the amount San Diego’s elected officials must pay into their pensions. That is one of the 10 fiscal and pension changes required before a half-cent sales tax under Proposition D, if approved by voters on Nov. 2, can take effect.

The fact that some former San Diego city officials are receiving large pension payments has been known for some time.

The San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System currently faces a funding shortfall of about $2 billion.

Deals forged in 1996 and 2002, which granted increased pension benefits in exchange for a reduced contribution by the city into the retirement system, greatly contributed to that deficit.

Attempts to overturn those deals have been mostly unsuccessful.

Over his four-year tenure, former City Attorney Michael Aguirre filed several lawsuits in an attempt to roll back pension benefits, but was largely rebuked by the courts on the grounds the benefits were vested.

DeMaio on Monday said there is still room to reform the pension system and called on his colleagues to ask San Diego voters to approve a measure that would eliminate politician pension subsidies, enact higher contribution rates for city employees and cap their pensions.

“These reforms can be implemented,” DeMaio said. “The only thing we are missing is political commitment.”

Related posts:

  1. Judge refuses to honor War Machines plea deal in PB bar fight
  2. Whooping cough cases more than double since 2009
  3. Zoo asking public to vote on baby elephant's name
  4. Air quality rules changes could affect SD's compliance
  5. Child exploitation protection program launched

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=2751

Posted by Halie Johnson on Oct 4, 2010. Filed under News, Region. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Del Mar couple to present program about Bhutan at Solana Beach Library September 1, 2014
    Join cultural anthropologist and photographer Roger Harmon and his wife, Nancy, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in the Solana Beach Library for a free presentation of their travels to Bhutan through slides and artifacts. […]
  • Carmel Valley Boy Scouts climb Mount Whitney September 1, 2014
    Several boys from Boy Scout Troop 765 (Carmel Valley) made the climb to the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states this summer. They spent the summer hiking the tallest peaks of Southern California, preparing for their hike of Mount Whitney. These peaks included Mount Baldy, Mount San Jacinto, and Mount San Gorgonio. The boys made the 22-mile round-trip tr […]
  • Multimillion-dollar renovation complete at Hilton San Diego Del Mar September 1, 2014
    Hilton San Diego Del Mar announces the completion of its multimillion-dollar renovation. Funded by Wheelock Street Capital and Sage Hospitality, the hotel’s completed renovation includes the lobby, business center, fitness center, restaurant, meeting spaces and all 257 guest rooms. “This renovation has truly transformed the Hilton San Diego Del Mar property, […]