By: John Krikorian
California “Retired” Government Workers in Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena Receive Pensions in Excess of --- $10,704.908 Annually
California’s rapid economic decline has prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to propose what once was unthinkable – rolling back generous pensions in a state heavily influenced by pensions in a state heavily influenced by public employee unions. California has at least $63 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, an amount equal to roughly twothirds of all annual general fund spending.
The Governor’s office Aaron McLear, Press Secretary advises that we also need to reform pensions in California that they are an unfunded liability that is crushing the rest of government services. Under Schwarzenegger’s proposed reform, the earliest retirement age for those employees would increase to 60. Employees in high-risk jobs such as firefighters and patrol officers can receive up to 90 percent of their salaries if they retire at age 50. Schwarzenegger proposes pushing the earliest retirement age for those workers to 55. The Governors proposal would not change the pension system for current workers, but would lower benefits for new employees. His office said such changes would save the state some $95 billion over 30 years.
Schwarzenegger’s pension proposals come at a time when millions of Americans are worried about their ability to retire. The value of all U.S. retirement funds lost $4 trillion between October 2007 and October 2008, much of which has not been recovered, according to the Center for Retirement Research.
“Changing the retirement formula for state employees would not have helped the immediate financial hole California recently faced, but it would save billions in future years. As the baby boomer generation storms into retirement age, the unfunded pension liability will continue to wreak havoc on not only the state’s balance sheet, but on the other government agencies who use CalPERS as well. It is time to face this challenge, and I support and applaud the Governor’s renewed drive to reform government,” states Senator Bob Huff California State Senate ?District 29.
In addition Senator Huff notes “There is no question that promises must be kept; those in the system now must retain their benefits and current retirement formulas. But it is fiscally irresponsible to not reform such an unsustainable system by being less generous with new hires. These jobs are good paying jobs, even without such lavish retirements, and will not go wanting.”
“The pension benefits for public employees in California are extravagant and they are going to bankrupt cities and counties, along with the state,” said Keith Richman, a former state assemblyman who said he plans to launch an initiative campaign to change state employee pension benefits. “The situation with the state and local governments is no different than what the Big Thee automakers faced with their legacy costs from retiree benefits.”
In the cities of Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena there are 88 individuals at last reporting from information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act From the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). The largest pension fund in the country, collects, manages and invests contributions from public employees and employers in order to provide a secure retirement for now over 1.5 million members and more than 400,000 retirees. It provides benefits based on members’ years of service, age and highest compensation.
Burbank with 32 CalPERS retiree’s received $3,969,871 annually — average $330,822, per month, with the highest paid pension of $ 14,881.16 per month. Glendale has 38 CalPERS retiree’s receiving$4,547,143. yearly and average $378,928 monthly, with the top person receiving $15,016.72 per month. Pasadena is with 18 retiree’s receiving $2,187,893 annually and $182,324 monthly income, with top person receiving $14,982.58 per month.
These numbers do not reflect the impact to the city budgets of the cost of payroll on hiring a replacement for the retiree. In quite a few cases the individuals retire from the cities noted and obtain a similar position in a city of less size. An example is the former Police Chief of Los Angeles receiving $22,000.monthly from CalPERS and in his new elected position of Los Angeles City Council member at a base of near $180,000 annual salary, This was the case in Glendale for both the Police and Fire Chief, who have and will receive CalPERS income plus that from their new position.
The complete listing of CalPERS monthly and annual pensions for Burbank, Glendale and
Pasadena. Plus visit: CaliforniaPensionReform.com to learn more