Saturday, June 20, 2015

Robert Fellner: Over 8,000 LA County Retirees Made at Least $100K in Pension Pay as Taxpayer Cost Soars

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(Mod: Ever wonder where your property taxes go? That several thousand dollars you cough up every once in a while? Some of it is returned to Sierra Madre by the County of Los Angeles. But the rest? They keep for themselves. What they do with it is the topic of today's post.)

Last year, 8,088 retirees in the Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association (LACERA) received yearly pension and medical benefits packages worth at least $100,000, a more than 11% increase from the previous year, according to Transparent California’s recently published 2014 pension data.

At the same time, the employer’s annual required contribution – the cost borne by taxpayers – hit a record high 20 percent of payroll, more than double the 8.9 percent paid in 2001.

Topping the pension list was former Los Angeles County Sheriff, Leroy Baca, who is collecting a yearly pension and benefits package worth nearly $340,000.

The next three highest compensated members were:

1. Larry Waldie, retired from the Sheriff’s Department in 2011, received $333,009.
2. Thomas Tidemanson, retired from Public Works in 1994, received $332,200.
3. Michael Judge, retired from the Public Defender’s Office in 2010, received $325,078.

The average pension and benefits package for a retiree of the Fire Department with at least 25 years of service was $128,729 and the average for a retiree of the Sheriff’s Department was $106,299. For all other members who had retired with at least 30 years of service, the average pension and benefits package was $74,568.

Current LACERA members are able to include a variety of supplemental pay items as part of their pensionable compensation – which is their highest single year of pay that will be used to calculate their pension benefit. Additionally, LACERA allows employees to sell back any unused vacation, holiday, or sick leave and counts that as part of their pensionable compensation.

While the Pension Reform Act of 2012 sought to ban “abusive practices used to enhance pension payouts” and calculate pension benefits “based on regular, recurring pay” only the practice of selling back unused leave was banned, and only for employees hired after January 1, 2013.

LACERA’s unfunded liability has more than doubled over the past 10 years – rising from $5.6 billion in 2004 to $13.3 billion in 2013, despite LACERA hitting their investment target over that same time period.

A Moody’s Investment Services report calculated LACERA’s adjusted net pension liability at nearly $40 billion. They also found that the rules governing public plans inappropriately emphasize investment returns over yearly contributions, resulting in shortfalls even under ideal investment conditions.

Moody’s also cautioned against the increased risk public pension portfolios have taken. When comparing LACERA’s most recent investment portfolio they found a higher allocation of riskier investments such as private equity and hedge funds, as compared to prior years.

This “increases the risk of sharp asset declines” and, consequently, increases the likelihood that taxpayers will be required to pay substantially more to keep the system afloat.

A recent paper published in the Journal of Retirement found that many public pensions will remain underfunded, even if they hit their investment goals, because they rely on flawed actuarial assumptions that understate the true cost of benefits.

Pete Constant, Senior Fellow at the Reason Foundation, observed that there are strong incentives for pension boards to adopt assumptions that are wrong. Doing so directly benefits both the pension system and its member agencies – which now have more tax dollars at their disposal – while the costs are borne by future generations.

To view the complete 2014 pension report in a searchable and downloadable format, visit TransparentCalifornia.com.

http:sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

41 comments:

  1. This is the reason that "We the People" have the right to bear arms...The revolution started because of taxes. It does matter that it goes to a king or a government!

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    1. Are you going to war with the county?

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    2. The County has more guns.

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    3. Give peace a chance.
      http://harvardpolitics.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Police-militarization.jpg

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    4. Elected officials need to implement pension and benefit reform. There is a disconnect with the people! It need to start now, it will take a grass root effort, or history will repeat itself!

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    5. 8:18 - You are a total idiot and a danger to this country! How can you even think something like that, let alone write it! The father of Dylan Roof probably felt the same way you do - why he gave his son a gun for his 21st birthday. What and who was he protecting when he killed all those innocent people?

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  2. Pretty much the case all over California. Passive pols are driving us ino bankruptcy.

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  3. Definition of hypocrisy:
    "I wonder how many of the LA County retirees have moved out of state. I mean, hell, I got mine, why should I stay and pay those outrageous taxes to pay for those big pensions?"

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    Replies
    1. You can live like a king in some states with a $250,000 pension.

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  4. I begin to believe that people don't care for much. They don't vote. They're willing to vote for taxes because they figure it gives them more for less and they are entitled.They all want free health care, free tuition, free cell phones, free food, and anything else they can get for free. Elected officials don't listen to what you have to say and those that are for taxes call you names, 8:24AM, you ask if 8:18AM is going to war with the country? Do you not think revolution for some ideology is coming? Are you accepting of the tax and spend government? Do you feel an obligation to pay salaries for people for the rest of their lives? Do you have any answers? I'd like to hear them.

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    1. The US is a decadent corrupt Republic and the populace is sound asleep. Go try and wake them up why don't you. Good luck.

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    2. That's why you cut off the money. Start with Sierra Madre's UUT. You keep them from expanding power that way.

      SMPD didn't get much of a raise last time. Why? Easy. No $$

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    3. Yes sure there will be an armed revolution because we are taxed less than most civilized countries. It's not cheap to control the world. Move back to N.C. the Confederacy get some slaves refuse to pay taxes. We are a Democracy we approve all taxes the sky is falling. BTW there is this thing called Social Security hell yea we pay salaries for life..............

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    4. Cross the street. Crazy coming through.

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    5. Yup, 6:01, I agree, we are taxed less. If you are reading this and you don't believe it, then research it - do your homework. What do we have more of??? Guns, easy access to guns, assault weapons, people getting "accidentally" shot and killed. 8:18 and 6:16 - Talk to a mom or a dad (like Representative Jack Scott) who has lost a child because of our lax gun laws, then see if you have no compassion and can still spout your idiotic rhetoric.

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    6. I think 6:01 missed his meds

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  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmC26RuO26g

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    1. That is hysterical! Must see youTube.

      Salty language alert.

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    2. What is it about? Not a great practice to go to a link without knowing what it is.

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    3. It is an animated cartoon of a fireman and private sector employee talking salaries.

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    4. Thanks 12:00. Very funny!
      Dozing for dollars.

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    5. The guy who made that video has some others on YouTube. Same theme.

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    6. There's oen where a blogger gets totally owned by a real journalist, you'll have to look for it though, work involved.

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    7. Oh good Lord.

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  6. It is really sad to see the fall of such a great nation as ours. I imagine the average Roman felt like we do, watching a once wonderful society fade away.

    As with most countries where the government evolves to being served by the people, instead of serving the people, a revolution is inevitable. Revolution seems to be the natural evolution of the human race. Again, SAD.

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  7. The problems derive from city and government managers that allow these pensions and pay. Our city manager is not working for the residents. Council should do it's job and start fixing these problems with the money they have. Believing everything the city manager says is wrecking this town.

    COUNCIL, please do your job.

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    Replies
    1. Gene they call me CouncilmanJune 20, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      I can't. The library will close.

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  8. ITS ALL A MATTER OF GREED!

    1) Its not just the republicans as you have stated,

    2) OBAMA, your momma printed and spent in excess of $13 Trillion dollars while he was in office!

    I believe OMMA is a democrat, not a republican!

    FACT - the federal government has no conscience and no morals, just want to spend what is not theirs!

    SOLUTION - we need city - state and federal government management who want to govern our country and not act with out a conscience! The tax payers on a whole are acting as if we are prostitutes and paying monies to their pimps!

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    Replies
    1. The Republican vs. Democrat argument is irrelevant.

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    2. 10:28 - have you tried cable news?

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  9. I believe Nancy Walsh retired from the county. Is there a way to search by name?

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    1. Check Transparent California. She is there. $101,000 yearly pension.

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    2. She seems pretty angry for someone who gets > $8,000 a month direct deposit.

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  10. Sickening to see this when I'd be happy just to have a job.

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    Replies
    1. That is why they want to raise the UUT in Sierra Madre. So they can bring that here.

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  11. very misleading article. it cites examples of those who reached the very top of the pay scale who also put in 30 plus years on the job. they are also some of the declining number of those who are part of the plan A pension, which was changed in the 70's. county retirement benefits have been cut back in stages since then to the current system which felner does not mention. sick leave has not been offered since the early 90's to all but safety positions. the county has been moving to 401k and 457 plans since the early 90's. its nothing like felner was one to believe it is.

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    1. The numbers were supplied by the County of Los Angeles. Are you saying nobody should look at them?

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    2. the numbers are there, but selectively chosen by fellner to the exclusion of others that undermine his position. if you read the newspaper you would know they major issue in the budget that was passed yesterday. the key expense is not pensions, but healthcare costs.

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    3. The salaries and pensions being paid by LA County are outrageous. You must be one of them.

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