Brown tolerates PERB’s lunacy. Will he tolerate CalPERS’ version?

Jan. 14, 2013

By Chris Reed

So Gov. Jerry Brown implores the California Legislature for nearly a year to pass pension reform legislation and finally succeeds in September with a measure that wasn’t bold enough for many but which was better than most expected out of Sacramento. It did a credible job of focusing on reducing the gimmicks that public employees use to game the system to win pensions far richer than they have any right to expect. By specifying that new hires will get pensions based only on their “normal monthly rate of pay or base pay,” the legislation blocked use of all the ludicrous pay sweeteners for various job skills and accomplishments that sometimes pushed pensions higher than 100 percent of base pay.

So, per pension watchdog Daniel Borenstien of the Contra Costa Times, what does CalPERS do? Simply ignore the law’s obvious intent.

“If new workers receive one of nearly 100 different pay premiums for everything from marksmanship and longevity to being a notary or working on a library reference desk, CalPERS has decided, the extra compensation will be counted as income when their pensions are calculated.”

Borenstein appears to believe that CalPERS might change course if pressure is applied — presumably starting with Jerry Brown.

But another state agency — the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) — is trying to block sweeping benefit reforms in the city of San Diego with simply bizarre arguments that elevate collective bargaining rights over direct democracy. Because some elected city officials helped with the ballot initiative that imposed cheaper benefits, says PERB, that amounts to an illegal attempt to circumvent collective bargaining.

And what has the governor said about this insane monkey-wrenching in the year since PERB first targeted the San Diego ballot initiatve before it was even voted on?


C’mon, Jerry: Do the right thing with CalPERS and with PERB.

Otherwise, your silence enables still more union assaults on the California residents not lucky enough to have taxpayer-funded defined-benefit pensions.






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