Pension Costs Tally to a Stunning Sum



Re: Roger Carter’s letter, page 16, March 30 edition, mentions city employee pensions and roughly quotes Elizabeth Pearson: “our city pensions are out of whack and will eventually bankrupt the city.”

Some facts about Laguna Beach County Water District illustrate the point. From Transparent California I learned that the regular salary for the top five individuals at LBCWD was $ 1.1 million. Laguna Beach follows the 3%/30 year rule as to pensions to be paid for life.

That is 3% per year for 30 years = 90% of final salary to be paid at retirement.

Let’s make the reasonable assumption that these five retire at age 60 and live to be 85. The total to be paid over their retirement years is (.03 x 30 years x $1.1 million x 25 = $21.9 million. This does not include COLAs or medical coverage costs after retirement .

If COLAs are 3% per year compounded, the amount to be paid increases gradually year by year until it doubles in 24 years.

To make things worse, the first Brown administration gave public employees collective bargaining rights.

Check out Transparent California. Through it you can learn salaries and benefits paid to any government employee by position, name  and title. Use LBCWD as an example to get started. I guarantee you will be absolutely stunned

as to current salaries and benefits.

Remember that most of these people will get 90% of their final salary for life.

George Orff, Laguna Beach


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  1. George, you are absolutely right and it is obscene! Our children and grandchildren are being ripped off big time by incredibly selfish *public servants* such as these, including teachers, firefighters, policemen, state and federal employees, and politicians. They should all pay into social security and draw from it like most of the rest of us do. That would solve the “problem.” But the Democrats will never let it happen.

  2. George
    You are absolutely WRONG.
    LBCWD does not now nor has it EVER had a 3%/30 as you erroneously stated in your article. LBCWD Tier I employees have a 2%/@55 that increases to a MAXIMUM 2.4%/@63+. The retirement for LBCWD Tier II employees is 2%/60. The MAXIMUM allowable COLA is 2%, so again your basic premise is based upon faulty and inaccurate data and information. Where you found your alternative facts is open to debate, but the actual retirements LBCWD retirees receive are FAR LESS generous than your doom & gloom fear mongering suggests. If you have any doubts as to the veracity of the actual figures in my statement, I suggest you contact Andrea Miller, Human Resources, Laguna Beach County Water District.


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