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Pension Dollars and Sense


No wonder the new S.B. County fire chief, Eric Peterson, is smiling; he will be filling the shoes of retiring Chief Michael Dyer, who was receiving annual pay of $208,505 and another $113,174 in benefits. But the big fiscal concern is that the county will continue paying about $196,000 each year to ex-chief Dyer in his retirement. (This public information is available on TransparentCalifornia.com.)

At current interest rates, if you assume one is lucky enough to earn 3.5 percent interest on assets, it would take $5,600,000 to generate that annual pension of $196,000 (which increases each year with cost-of-living adjustments). No wonder there is a growing resentment about the disparity between the pensions of public employees and the “working Joe” who pays taxes to help pay these pensions but has little else left to fund his own.

Pension unfunded liabilities are increasing, and government cannot keep increasing taxes to make it up. Pension reform is needed and promises made in the past cannot go forward. The sooner this problem is corrected to reflect financial reality and sustainability, the sooner taxpayers can get some relief and turn their attention to funding their own retirement.

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