I hope I was not the only Laguna resident who saw the irony in last week’s front-page article about the candor expressed by retiring City Manager Ken Frank during a farewell interview (“Summing Up 31 Years with His Usual Candor,” Dec. 10).
The first three paragraphs of the article addressed Frank’s caution to the City Counsel with respect to upcoming contract negotiations with city employee unions over pension expenses. That concern was followed by a paragraph indicating Frank’s city-provided, publicly funded pension which begins this month starts out at a cool $197,600 annually (presumably to include annual cost-of-living adjustments not mentioned).
I’m confident all Laguna residents appreciate Ken’s 31 years of effort to make our city a wonderful place to live and work. However, he was compensated very well for that service at the time and his last contract culminated in his final annual salary of $247,000 plus benefits.
Historically a public sector job provided secure employment along with a lower salary, while the reverse was true about a private sector position. Apparently, our outgoing city manager was able to negotiate a contract with our city which clearly reversed that paradigm. Naturally, I don’t begrudge Ken for obtaining the best economic deal he could for the benefit of himself and his family and I wish him the best of luck in the future. I do, however, question whether those who negotiated Ken’s last contract on behalf of the city considered whether the city could afford the burden of publicly funding the more than $4 million in pension benefits Ken can expect to receive over the remainder of his life.
Apparently someone should have expressed Ken’s concern about the use of public funds for pension benefits of highly compensated city employees before now.
Jack Veth, Laguna Beach