Public Pensions Bankrupting Cities

LA Times-

James Mussenden doesn’t bring up his pension in casual conversation. No point getting his golf partners’ blood boiling

El Monte’s retirement costs totaled $16.5 million this year. That’s equal to 28% of the city’s general fund. Among California’s 10 largest cities, only San Jose paid as much toward retirement costs relative to its general fund. Los Angeles spends 20% of its general fund on retirement costs.

The idea for the supplemental plan arose in 2000, after the city council granted El Monte police officers the right to retire with up to 90% of their highest salary guaranteed for life.

The state and many other cities had approved similar benefits for public safety officers, part of a wave of pension enhancements adopted when pension funds were flush with cash from a stock market boom.

Then-City Manager Harold O. Johanson and other top administrators thought that was unfair, since they supervised the police department. So they pitched the city council on the supplemental plan.

Johanson retired three years later, at 58. Today, he is the top beneficiary of the program he championed, collecting a combined pension of more than $250,000 per year, state and city records show. That puts him in the top one-hundredth of one percent of all public pension recipients in California.

Between his regular and bonus pensions, Johanson, 72, has received approximately $3 million since retiring.

Asked if his service to the city was worth that much, he said, “Probably not.”

“I have to admit that we made the mistake back then, and I have to admit that I make too much money now, but what can I do?” Johanson said in an interview, adding that he contributes time and money to local charities.

Bonnie Jimenez, a former El Monte city councilwoman who voted for the plan in 2000, said in a recent interview that she was “flabbergasted” to learn how much Johanson is collecting.

“It wasn’t explained to us that we would be paying so much in the future, or that some people would be making more in retirement than when they were working,” Jimenez said.

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It “wasn’t explained to us.”

This is what happens when you put morons in power because… well, in this case it was because she was a “wise latino.”

 

20 Comments on Public Pensions Bankrupting Cities

  1. > other top administrators thought that was unfair, since they supervised

    > This is what happens when you put morons in power

    This also happens when you put people with ample reason to “believe” they deserve to be paid more for supervising, in charge of anything.

  2. ““I have to admit that we made the mistake back then, and I have to admit that I make too much money now, but what can I do?” Johanson said in an interview, adding that he contributes time and money to local charities.”

    Ok when the torchlit mob comes to your house, you can explain to them why your benefits are a mistake. And don’t even think of touching my 401K benefits!

    “Bonnie Jimenez, a former El Monte city councilwoman who voted for the plan in 2000, said in a recent interview that she was “flabbergasted” to learn how much Johanson is collecting.

    “It wasn’t explained to us that we would be paying so much in the future, or that some people would be making more in retirement than when they were working,” Jimenez said.”

    I’d love to see the education transcript for Bonnie Jimenez. I betcha mathematics was not her strong subject. Oh and she can go ahead and give up her retirement pension as well.

  3. I see this county has the 4th highest property tax rate in CA.

    The pension fund for CA has well over $200 Billion in assets but this year because it’s turned into a corrupt, politically motivated investor, CalPERS got a ROI of .06%.

    Great job morons.

    The root of the problem are government unions. They negotiate with other government bureaucrats and then the state SC steps in and says municipalities can’t declare bankruptcy. So the tax rates go up. And up. It’s why the police are being turned into revenue producers.

    Great job morons.

    Throw in corrupt pension managers who accept money to make…ah less then prudent investments and this is why just about every municipality in the country is in deep shit.

    This guy says, yeah he “probably” is being paid too much. Yathink?

    Elections have consequences-keep electing the FSA politicians and this is the direction you go. It’s not going to end well. You can count on pleas to the Feds to start soon. Wonder how CA is going to cope with Trump pulling Federal money out of all their sanctuary cities?

  4. When a reasonable person looks at the numbers involved with our public pension fiasco it makes you mad as hell! The honest, law abiding, tax paying citizens of this country have really been screwed. It’s going to get ugly, and I hope it gets uglier for the bad guys instead of the good guys. Trump is going to have to be part genius, part magician.

  5. This is what happens when elected officials either won’t, or aren’t smart enough, to consider the consequences of decisions like this and instead simply follow staff’s recommendations. I worked with a shitload of people like this over the years. Very, very frustrating.

  6. Huge amounts of the so-called Stimulus Money did not go into jobs but into making these cities pension funds whole so that city employees wouldn’t have to increase their already paltry contributions or face reduced benefits. I wonder where Sheriff Joe Biden was when this fraud was occurring.

  7. Some of those greedy bastards need to stand at the gallows and explain to voters, who only earned a fraction of what public employees were paid, why the voters, many who do not have pensions, should have to pay a bankrupting pension to gummit employees.

  8. I live here behind enemy lines. The federal government needs to start about two dozen investigations. This place is run illegally in so many ways. And if you follow the money, the rest of the country is really paying for this mess through all sorts of convoluted financing, the high speed rail being a prime example. Federal money for this project is going to prop up this state.

  9. California guardsmen were trip!e and quadruple dipping. Chaptered out of active duty, milking disability from civil service and somehow back in the guard and working on combat disability to get concurrent receipt. There must be classes on bilking the system somewhere.

  10. No way the nation can survive any of this intact. Two choices…bail it out and it will just keep happening everywhere, feeding the inevitable final collapse. Let it burn and there’ll blood in many streets. They’ll go with option 1 if they do anything but it won’t matter in the end, we will end up in the same place.

  11. Ford refused to bail out NYC and the city survived. You can’t pay garbagemen more than my family doctor brings home.

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