Public pension website lists $100,000+ retirees
Dozens of former local officials listed
More than two dozen retired public employees in the Yuba-Sutter area are collecting pensions of at least $100,000 on an annual basis, a trend unlikely to end soon.
Among the names compiled by the website California Pension Reform are former Yuba City Fire Chief Marc Boomgaarden, former Yuba County Treasurer/Tax Collector Jim Kennedy and former Sutter County Sheriff Jim Denney.
Boomgaarden, who retired last year, earns $167,415.48 annually, while Kennedy, who retired last year before his term ended, receives $133,477,20. Denney, who stepped down as sheriff after being re-elected in 2006, makes $115,772.52, though the leading Sutter County pension is former Human Services Department head Ed Smith, at $145,920.96.
The site, which allows users to search for those making more than $100,000 a year in the Californian Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System, shows five such employees each in Yuba and Sutter counties.
Yuba City has four, while there are no listings for Marysville.
Marysville Joint Unified School District has six, while a search for "Yuba" under the CalSTRS system shows six, some of whom worked for Yuba City Unified School District and some for Yuba Community College District.
Neither directory has any listings for governments or school districts in Colusa County, though the site states more information will be added on an ongoing basis.
The president of a group critical of pensions in Sutter County said while the numbers may be high, those receiving the pensions shouldn't be faulted.
"It's their legal right to do so," said Pat Miller, president of the Sutter County Taxpayers Association. She added they also shouldn't be criticized if they do as some public officials do and collect their pension after taking another temporary job.
"You have to change the laws," she said.
In most cases, she said, employees making top pensions were making similar amounts while they were still working for the public agency. Such a pattern won't change in the near future, because it's hard to adjust a pension for existing employees, she said.
Sutter County supervisors have scheduled a hearing on May 4 to discuss pension reform. Miller said a system where employees pay their share of pension contributions is the only way to keep pension programs solvent.
Wednesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support of a bill that would reform state workers' pensions, requiring them to work longer before being fully eligible and to contribute more toward their retirement. The bill wouldn't impact current state employees.
The five leading pensions in the Yuba-Sutter area, according to the website California Pension Reform:
||Yuba City Fire
||Yuba City Police||$164,114.48|