Pensions: What Public Employees are Getting

Newspaper database details pension range for Livermore retirees in CalPERS system; it's a context for the pension reform bill that awaits the governor's signature.

Nearly 300 retired employees of the and 501 from the are drawing pensions from the California Public Employees Retirement System.

The retirement compensation is part of a list posted by the San Jose Mercury News and other newspapers.

The CalPERS list was unveiled as the state Legislature last week approved a pension reform bill that is now on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.

Among other reforms, the legislation raises the retirement age for most new employees from 55 to 67 to receive full benefits. It also eliminates so-called "double dipping" and caps the pensions of highly paid retired workers.

On the CalPERS database of current retirees, atop the Livermore city employees list is a former director of finance/city treasurer, Monica Potter. She retired with an initial monthly pension of $19,704 a month. Last year her total pension came to $188,566.

Twelve former city employees in 2011 took in pensions of more than $100,000 each.

At the other end of the pension list are 24 city retirees whose 2011 pensions came to less than $5,000.

Atop the list for the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District is former Superintendent Brenda Miller. She retired with an initial monthly pension of $13,396. Her 2011 total pension was nearly $228,000.

At the other end of the pension list are 14 school district retirees with 2011 gross pensions of less than $5,000.

The Real Anon September 07, 2012 at 09:54 PM
How did Brenda Miller go from 160K in initial pension to $228K in 2011? How did it grow 88K? Also, how did Potter start out at $236K and drop to only 188K? Were the numbers mixed up here?
RedDogLead September 07, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Looks like Patch wouln't publish these numbers so I'll have to--------- For all you working folks in LiverLand and struggling retirees---you may find some of these numbers totally obscene---this is what former Livermore City employees pull down in retirement pay " For Life"----without lifting a finger each day, week or month TOP 8 FOR 'LIVERMORE' WITH MONTHLY PENSION PAYMENT GREATER THAN $10,000.00 Name Monthly Annual POTTER, MONICA $15,309.42 $183,713.04 SCOTT, RONALD $12,625.95 $151,511.40 WEISS, MARK $11,351.71 $136,220.52 CALVERT, ALICE $11,065.43 $132,785.16 HORNER, LELAND $11,058.57 $132,702.84 WOLF, KRISTINA $11,051.21 $132,614.52 ROONEY, KATHLEEN $10,501.69 $126,020.28 ROBERTSON, SCOTT $10,125.25 $121,503.00 *** Monthly < >Annuallyt
Cherry September 07, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Who are these people? What were their jobs?
RedDogLead September 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Monica Potter was Finance Director Ron Scott------------ Police Chief Alice Calvert--------City Clerk Lee Horner-----------City Manager ??? Not sure of others---somebody Help ?
Darwinian Justice September 08, 2012 at 12:21 AM
You idiots keep voting in Democrats who are nothing but union shills... then you complain when your taxes are high! Look in the mirror! You voted them in! No, it is just easier to blame "Tea-baggers" for all of our problems. If you don't like these pension terms or rates, STOP VOTING IN THE A-HOLES THAT ENACT THEM!
Dick Lamb September 08, 2012 at 03:10 PM
These people should be ashamed. And they wonder why people don't trust them!! Take them to court and have their pensions adjusted to reflect fairness, not greed or what can I get away with. ABOVE ALL....DO NOT VOTE FOR ANY NEW TAXES OR RAISE ANY TAXES. They will either learn how not to screw the public or they go bankrupt. Then they can restructure the old contracts for sure. They should be arrested for robbing the public!!!
Livermore citizen September 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM
These people took advantage of the system. Just remember that the average teacher's pension in ca is $3300 a month and they cannot collect social security.
Tom Ness September 08, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Keep in mind, these few people are not the average. They are the chiefs, managers, superintendents etc. they of course made more, because in any job you always make more then the people you supervised in saying that, I am glad that the government put a cap on the pensions so the next generation of employees cannot retire with those huge numbers. Also keep in mind though that their pension is funded by almost 70% by investment returns
Tom Ness September 08, 2012 at 04:02 PM
These people don't go about fairness or taxes etc. they worked their job and then took what they were given, if you worked many decades would you then give back some of your cash for fairness, I think not.
Jenn September 08, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Weiss & Robertson are retired police officers that served our city for well over 20+ years! You do realize they paid into their pension plans I hope!
Switch September 08, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Here we are again, another blog horribly lacking in perspective. Is it apparent to anyone else that the most investigation found in the Patch is done by the readers? This is what I see... A one sided article centering around a line item cost that incites the ignorant/ angry vocal minority. More self perpetuating blather about cost without perspective of value. How do you know these people were over paid or taking advantage of a system if you have no idea what they did or how may hours they worked to earn it. BIG NUMBERS DO NOT EQUAL OVERPAID!!! One more point needing to be made Department heads are NOT union members the are supervised and paid by the city council and city manager. The ignorance that floats up through these blogs is stunning. It would be laughable if it wasn't so civicly damaging.
Tom Fletcher September 08, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Not to mention, not only have these people paid into their own pension, but many started out at way below average pay and sacrificed early in their careers to help others. When Brenda Miller started teaching, the average starting teacher salary was below 20k a year. She bettered herself, went to school and was a great leader for the growth of our district, which has a hand in educating thousands of children. It's America, I do not begrudge her for doing well for herself and earning a nice retirement.
mike September 08, 2012 at 06:39 PM
These pension costs, many of which are modest for the length of service, would not even be on the public's radar if it were not for the lingering poor economy. With few exception's these are at the lower end of middle class wages. You are seeing a class war in this country, but it is not 'rich vs poor" but middle against middle.
Ron Geren September 08, 2012 at 09:17 PM
AND, if a teacher also worked in another profession where they paid into Social Security, they may not collect more than about a 1/3 of the Social Security they should have coming to them because of the Windfall (what ever they call it) Act.
Lmr September 09, 2012 at 02:49 AM
I bet these pensions are as much or more than these people made when they were working. That's not how it works for private sector employees. Our tax dollars at work. No wonder the government is broke.
Lmr September 09, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Include in that police, fire department and more. I know people in both professions who run up their overtime in the last year or two and make more in retirement than they did in their previous years of employment.
Lmr September 09, 2012 at 02:56 AM
LMR I'm not talking about govenment employees who invested and are drawing on their investments. I'm talking about people who are making large pensions because they worked the system and loopholes. Tax dollars!!
JoAnne September 09, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Nanette Asimov in SF Gate writes that there is a lack of proper auditing and control of the pensions. It is so wrong that honest hard working people could be cheated out of their pensions due to the careless/criminal handling of their money and ours. Even more outrageous is that the teachers work years longer, taxpayers pay millions more, and the government allows these flaws to remain in place. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/State-Pension-bosses-missing-cheaters-3843238.php
Dick Lamb September 09, 2012 at 04:25 AM
They're up there with the President!!! They don't do anything like him. For a City employee, these amounts are insane!!!
MagWil01 September 09, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Sorry for my ignorance. If anyone has the patience to educate me I would appreciate it. I’m not taking any side, just trying to sort out the issues. Is this something new or were these pensions determined many years ago (and what year would that be)? What was the retirement age when these pensions were determined? And how long did one have to work before becoming eligible? The people who are receiving the pensions, who determined what their pensions would be? Did they have a say in it? Who oversaw it? Were there checks and balances? Was this published? Was this something for the public to vote on? Was it published? About what percentage of the pension is from money that the employee put in? 50%? How does the pension amount compare to the salary each person had when they worked? Have not some cities overturned similar pension plans either by the individuals voluntarily giving the money back or the city declaring bankruptcy?
Dick Lamb September 09, 2012 at 04:28 AM
But not enough to warrant these amounts for life no less!!!
Mike S September 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Citizens can thank the promotion of the Democratic Party for the huge retirements for public sector employes. The democrats are largely responsible for empowerment of unions and the collective bargaining in government employee groups. Collective bargaining created the over extended protections for union employees. The protections went way beyond the scope of basic protections. The protections overreached into mandated free healthcare and overly generous retirements. Employer paid healthcare and generous retirements are often taken in exchange for traditionally lower wages in government employment. The exceptions in California are police and firefighters where compensation skyrocketed in the late 90's and early 2000's due to the lack of qualified people. Remember during those times people were jumping to the private sector because the economy was booming and it took equivelant wages to attract solid candites. The power of the unions allowed police and fire to demand higher wages. When police and fire want a raise they do a salary survey and use it as leverage in their bargaining. All agencies had to do was compare their salary versus the salary of any department in the silicon valley and whamo - a raise. It then became a viscious cycle -Oakland PD got a raise then Livermore had to get a raise. The result: 3% @ 50. In general, public employee's got their boost from the Venture decision. I ran out of space, you will have to look up the Ventura decision.
david September 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM
No public employee benefit or wage was obtained until the political bodies: councils, boards, legislature and/or governor approved the change. Stop being angry at the worker and hold politicians responsible for their action. Most of the comments demonstrate the ill-informed public on this complicated matter. Ruby Hills is full of people with money and I dare say cops/firefighters and other government workers are not in the gated community.
Rich Buckley September 10, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Community practice of posting online budgets could help bring residents into a closer, willing partnership with government:  http://tinyurl.com/3vj6ka6


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