by Michael D. Robbins
Director, Public Safety Project, PublicSafetyProject.org
March 25, 2014
Below is a list of City of El Segundo, California employees who retired with California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) pensions paying them $100,000 or more per year. The highest annual pension for El Segundo is $198,272.04. El Segundo is a small City with about 5.5 square miles of land area and about 16,849 residents in 2012.
CalPERS pensions are Defined Benefit Plans that guarantee retirees their full pension payments, regardless of how much was paid into the pension fund and regardless of the performance of the pension plan’s investment portfolio, with taxpayers obligated to make up the difference. In contrast, 401(k) plans, which are common in the private sector, are Defined Contribution Plans, where the benefits paid out to retirees depends on how much was paid into the retirement plan, and on the performance of the investment funds the employees individually selected from the available choices.
The CalPERS pensions are so high because the City employee salaries are so high, especially for the firefighter and police employees, and because the City provides the employees with the maximum allowable pension formula. The annual pension income from firefighter and police CalPERS pensions is 3% of the single highest year salary for each year they worked, up to a maximum of 90%, with retirement at age 50 or 55. Upon retirement, firefighters and police live just as long as miscellaneous (non-safety) employees – about age 83 for the men and 85 for the women – and the life expectancy keeps increasing over time with medical advances.
Thus, the taxpayers end up paying for at least two fire and police departments – the ones doing the work, and the ones enjoying long lavish retirements while receiving multi-million dollar pensions.
The salary upon which CalPERS pensions are based includes all those “Special Compensation” add-ons in the union contracts, that average an additional 33% on top of base salary for El Segundo police and firefighters. “Special Compensation” is paid even for things that are already existing job requirements or are unrelated to the job, including wearing a uniform and having a driver license.
For example, fire engineers (second-level firefighters) whose job description includes driving the fire engine are paid additional “Special Compensation” under their union contract to have a driver license to drive the fire engine. All “Special Compensation” increases the salary counted towards the pension payout and the pension cost to the City’s taxpayers.
The elected City Council controls pension costs in three significant ways: (1) Amounts of employee salaries, which are increased by pay raises and “Special Compensation”; (2) Percentage of total pension contributions employees are required to pay; and (3) Pension plan options the City provides.
Firefighter and police pensions pay 3% of their single highest year salary for each year worked, up to 90%. El Segundo Mayor Bill Fisher supported firefighter and police pay raises of 11.25% to 32.3% over three years, plus additional 5% annual “Step” raises, approved 4/7/09 and 12/2/08, jacking up pension costs.
The El Segundo City Council can save more than $3.3 million yearly by requiring City employees to pay half their total pension contributions, as allowed under state law effective 1/1/13. The City now pays 71% to 94% of total pension contributions.
The City Council can save several million more yearly by eliminating automatic additional 5% annual “Step” raises, and “Special Compensation” for things that are existing job requirements or are unrelated to the job.
These savings must be negotiated with the City unions later this year, after the April 8, 2014 election. Measure A is on the ballot for that election. Measure A bundles ELEVEN TAX HIKES in one ballot measure. The Measure A tax windfall will weaken the City Council’s bargaining position and preclude these savings.
|Seq Nbr||Name||Employer||Annual Pension||Notes|
|1||CUMMINGS, DAVID A||EL SEGUNDO||$198,272.04||Police Chief|
|2||PHIPPS, MAX V||EL SEGUNDO||$188,663.88||Police Captain|
|3||WAYT, JOHN O||EL SEGUNDO||$182,888.52||Police Chief, City Manager|
|4||CLEARY, CRAIG M||EL SEGUNDO||$182,736.12||Police Detective|
|5||KRUMBACH, WALTER G||EL SEGUNDO||$181,120.80||Police Lieutenant|
|6||REHM, KEVIN A||EL SEGUNDO||$172,516.08||Fire Captain, Fire Union President|
|7||GILBERT, JOHN W||EL SEGUNDO||$157,825.08||Administrative Fire Battalion Chief|
|8||GRIMMOND, TIMOTHY J||EL SEGUNDO||$155,639.40||Police Chief|
|9||SHARP, DAVID K||EL SEGUNDO||$150,956.64|
|10||MOORE, ERIC R||EL SEGUNDO||$148,117.32||Fire Batallion Chief|
|11||STEPHENSON, ROGER A||EL SEGUNDO||$145,522.92||Police Sergeant|
|12||PEDEGO, CRAIG S||EL SEGUNDO||$143,546.52|
|13||LAMBETH, PHILIP R||EL SEGUNDO||$140,140.32|
|14||PABST, RODNEY K||EL SEGUNDO||$138,527.64|
|15||BARKDULL, DAVID G||EL SEGUNDO||$131,716.08|
|16||COLES, GLENN A||EL SEGUNDO||$129,782.28|
|17||GREEN, RONALD R||EL SEGUNDO||$126,920.28|
|18||GRAHAM, ALLISON H||EL SEGUNDO||$126,878.52|
|19||NESSEL, LINDA P||EL SEGUNDO||$125,829.60|
|20||HYLAND, ROBERT F||EL SEGUNDO||$124,342.56||Human Resources Director|
|21||BIBEE, JOHN C||EL SEGUNDO||$121,954.44||Fire Battalion Chief|
|22||MEEHAN, FRANK V||EL SEGUNDO||$119,478.00||Police Chief, City Manager|
|23||AFFINITO, ANTHONY F||EL SEGUNDO||$119,103.12||Fire Dept|
|24||CHIDESTER, MICHAEL J||EL SEGUNDO||$111,022.08|
|25||STRENN, MARY L||EL SEGUNDO||$110,457.60||City Manager|
|26||LEWIS, GEORGE M||EL SEGUNDO||$110,212.56|
|27||SELLENS, JOHN P||EL SEGUNDO||$110,020.56||Police Sergeant or Lieutenant?, Police Union President?|
|28||CHISLOCK, PAUL||EL SEGUNDO||$109,370.64|
|29||DEVARAJ, BELLUR K||EL SEGUNDO||$107,496.84||Planner or City Engineer?|
|30||BRENNER, TIMOTHY K||EL SEGUNDO||$106,392.60|
|31||VUKELICH-POR, CHRISTINE K||EL SEGUNDO||$106,043.40|
|32||MORRISON, JAMES W||EL SEGUNDO||$105,971.40||City Manager|
|33||CROWE, WILLIAM A||EL SEGUNDO||$103,935.24||Assistant City Manager?|
|34||RADFORD, ROBIN S||EL SEGUNDO||$103,430.28|
|35||BRUMLEY, LARRY M||EL SEGUNDO||$102,864.24|
|36||REDFORD, YVONNE C||EL SEGUNDO||$102,621.96||Police Officer|
|37||SALISBURY, FREDERICK R||EL SEGUNDO||$101,806.44|
|38||ANGELO, NORMAN G||EL SEGUNDO||$101,684.40|
|TOTAL PER YEAR||$5,005,808.40|