Berkeley Mgr. Grabs $266K Pension

Berkeley Mgr. Grabs $266K Pension

John Seiler:

Say, wasn’t Berkeley the most liberal, progressive, hippest and hippiest place around? The Free Speech movement (pictured at right)? Anti-Vietnam War protests? Political Correctness that would make Mao envious?

Ah, forget it. As it always does, it comes down to money — money grabbed from impoverished taxpayers and given to “do good” government hacks.

The latest is do-gooder Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz, who just retired with a $266,000 yearly pension — plus benefits and cost-of-living raises. Yet his highest annual salary was “only” $250,000 — and was $219,000 three years ago.

Contra Costa columnist Daniel Borenstein explains:

“The deal highlights the city’s generous pension program, which is one of the better plans in the state but by no means unique. The costly program is also $420 million underfunded, a shortfall equal to more than three years of city payroll, according to the city’s latest actuarial reports….

“It shows how absurdly lucrative some public employee pension programs have become. While Kamlarz’s salary was more than those of other city workers, the pension formula is the same for most other Berkeley employees. Indeed, about one-fourth of agencies covered by the giant California Public Employees’ Retirement System are at least as generous….

“[City pensions currently work] out to 49 cents for every dollar of police payroll, 38 cents for firefighters and 27 cents for other workers. Those costs will rise in future years to help cover the city’s huge unfunded liability.

“During his tenure, Kamlarz declined my multiple requests to discuss pensions.”

So much for Berkeley’s “Free Speech” heritage.

Or open government, for that matter.

Actually, of course, all that 1960s hippy-Berkeley idealism was fake anyway — an excuse to drop acid, attend Grateful Dead concerts, live high off the taxpayers’ dollars and impose extreme Political Correctness on succeeding generations.

“Get ourselves back to the garden,” as Joni Mitchell warbled in her “Woodstock” song?

More like: Get back to stuffing the bank account with money ripped off from taxpayers.

— Jan. 9, 2012


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