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Old 11-02-2011, 12:45 AM   #21
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In addition to the elimination of spiking, I applaud the prohibition of pension holidays.
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Old 11-02-2011, 06:51 AM   #22
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MichaelB:

I think I smell a typo, or at least a misunderstanding. This is from the actual document you included the reference to. Doesn't it sound like Brown wants the 3 year salary period for determining pension amounts to apply to all state employees despite the fact that it's labled "New Employees?" It sounds like some current employees have the three-year rule and others don't. He wants it to apply to everyone.

The State Of Calif employee who wrote the document and whoever edited it may have goofed when they tagged it with the "New Employees" label.
I cut and pasted. Yes, he wants to take the rule that already applies to new and use it with all.
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Pension benefits for some public employees are still calculated based on a single year of “final compensation.” That one-year rule encourages games and gimmicks in the last year of employment that artificially increase the compensation used to determine pension benefits. My plan will require that final compensation be defined, as it is now for new state employees, as the highest average annual compensation over a three-year period.
pretty clear to me that he wants everyone subject to three years salary average
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:03 AM   #23
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Why not just base the pension on the final 3 years BASE salary, with no overtime or other add-ons allowed? That's the way my pension works, and again, one of the many reasons why its in good financial shape as opposed to these other scams they refer to as pension plans.

What is a pension holiday?
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:14 AM   #24
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What is a pension holiday?
When the employer decides there are enough assets in the plan so they don't have to make this year's contribution. This usually happens when some of the assets are invested in equities, they look right after a nice run up in stock prices and say "plan is overfunded so we don't have to make this year's contribution. Let's go spend it somewhere else".
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:22 AM   #25
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I cut and pasted. Yes, he wants to take the rule that already applies to new and use it with all. pretty clear to me that he wants everyone subject to three years salary average
I read it as applying the state employee rule to schools and other institutions covered by the law. But since the changes for state employees appear by the description to cover "new" state employees it sounds to me like the proposal will simply cover all new employees. It does seem strange that they wouldn't extend the changes on spiking (and overtime) to all employees -- or, if there is concern that would be unfair to employees near retirement, then phase it in for current employees.

All in all sounds like a serious proposal. I am glad to see they are not going overboard by pulling the rug out from under long term employees.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:03 AM   #26
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Because taxpayers use those services and facilities. Not so sure about SS benefits and entitlement programs.
Oh, and taxpayers did not use the services provided by the public employees when they earned their pension?

Pensions are part of the total compensation package and are earned. The fact that the employee may not recieve that part of the package for many, many years does mean it was not earned and taxpayers did not get a use of it.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:44 AM   #27
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When the employer decides there are enough assets in the plan so they don't have to make this year's contribution. This usually happens when some of the assets are invested in equities, they look right after a nice run up in stock prices and say "plan is overfunded so we don't have to make this year's contribution. Let's go spend it somewhere else".
Wow. We really do have some idiots running government, dont we?
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:53 AM   #28
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Wow. We really do have some idiots running government, dont we?
They do that is the corporate world as well. But instead of spending the excess they call it higher profit produced by the outstanding executive team, and then modestly accept the bonuses and salary raises. It's not idiotic. These people act in their own self-interest and do these things because taxpayers and shareholders are often disinterested or naive. It is not rule breaking but rule inadequacy and lack of oversight that leads to pension shortfalls.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:17 AM   #29
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I interpret the document to mean there is no change to current policy here. For new employees, final salary for the pension calculation was already determined from the last 3 years, and that's what will be done, henceforth. Then why say anything about it at all if there is to be no change? The new policy would be criticized if it did nothing about spiking, so that has to be covered. (It's probably not legal to change it for those already employed or retired.)

I would think it is legal.... Texas teachers changed from 3 year to 5 year avg awhile back... one of my sisters just made it under the grandfather clause and was able to use 3 years...
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:20 AM   #30
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This might sound strange coming from a cop, but I think forfeiting your pension due to being convicted of a felony is not a good idea. Why should someone be penalized what could amount to $100,000's or even a million or more over a lifetime due to a felony conviction. That seems like an extreme punishment that relatively few people would be subject to. Bill Gates pays $5000 fine for a felony DWI but Joe Blow Civil Servant pays a million in lost pension?
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I was concerned about this too, but the document provided by Michael in the OP clarifies the situation. It's only for those who have committed a felony while performing their official duties. They lose the retirement pay credited for that period of their service when they were committing crimes. Seems entirely fair to me.

The military can do the same thing. When someone is found to have broken the (significant) regulations, a board can be convened to determine the rank at which they last served honorably. That's the rank upon which their retired pay is based. It doesn't happen often, but it's a useful tool to have available.

Good comments... I think this is to cover the Bell city issue... to me, paying these people pensions for life after ripping off the citizens is just crazy...
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:26 AM   #31
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The worst that I heard (and do not know how it works) was a Chief of Police got a big pension increase when the mayor gave him a salary increase just before he retired... it cost the pension plan millions of dollars.. he only got ONE paycheck at that higher rate but it was enough for the much higher pension... I think they have fixed that... but am not sure...
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:47 AM   #32
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Why not just base the pension on the final 3 years BASE salary, with no overtime or other add-ons allowed?
Many/most of these employees aren't salaried. They get paid by the hour. So, in those cases you'd have to come up with a figure that was similar to a salary, which I think would be their standard hourly rate x 2080 (work hours in a year at 40/week).
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:31 AM   #33
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It does seem strange that they wouldn't extend the changes on spiking (and overtime) to all employees -- or, if there is concern that would be unfair to employees near retirement, then phase it in for current employees.
It is indeed strange that if your interpretation is correct current employees will not see their ability to spike pensions reduced. I hope you're wrong......

But, I can see where the concern is. Here in Illinois, when anti-spiking provisions were enacted a couple of years ago, there were protests in Springfield. Although spiking was never spelled out as a provision in the state pension plans, it was so prevalent that employees considered extreme spiking a "right" or "promise" that the state needed to keep. Protesters characterized the changes to limit spiking as a "cut" to their pensions.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:40 AM   #34
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I just left Cali and this state is a mess. I loved living there & my friends, but the political / pension junk is ridiculous.

I do not see a problem with the double dipping thing, personally. If you qualify for lowered benefits of say 60% of pay and you take it, what is wrong with filling a need (on a temp type way) while drawing your pension?

A friend does this in lieu of working another 10 years just to get an additional 10%. This way he fills a need on a part time basis and gets some time off to enjoy. He does not qualify for additional benefits and does not pay into the pension as a contract employee.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:49 AM   #35
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I do not see a problem with the double dipping thing, personally.
Here in Illinois (we envy Calif's financial situation BTW......... We really know how to get into deep, deep financial trouble!) double dipping almost always involves sweetheart deals intended to scam the system. Perhaps it's different in Calif.

One of my favorite parts of double dipping is when unions use the "burn out" excuse when negotiating early retirement ages. "Our members need full retirement benefits at 55 yo because they're "burned out" from serving the needs of citizens." Etc., etc. Then when they retire at 55 with full pensions, they keep right on working as contractors. At double pay, they don't feel quite so "burned out."

When ya retire and start your pension, it's really time to move on down the road. Double dipping, spiking and some other "wink-wink" provisions of pensions are all intended to pull the wool over the eyes of naive, uninformed constituents.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:49 AM   #36
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I just left Cali and this state is a mess. I loved living there & my friends, but the political / pension junk is ridiculous.
I am not sure about whether this applies outside of San Francisco, but any city that allows folks to walk around naked in public is messed up IMHO. Perhaps this is why its known as the land of fruits and nuts.
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:00 AM   #37
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I am not sure about whether this applies outside of San Francisco, but any city that allows folks to walk around naked in public is messed up IMHO. Perhaps this is why its known as the land of fruits and nuts.
Those naked walkers are ruining the state budget. If we can stop this outrage, all will be well. And OMG, those naked bicyclists must be stopped!
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:08 AM   #38
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Those naked walkers are ruining the state budget. If we can stop this outrage, all will be well. And OMG, those naked bicyclists must be stopped!
So we want transparency, but not too much?
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:14 AM   #39
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My problem with double dipping is that it rubs against the spirit of retirement pension. If a group of people can retire at a young age but continue working the pension start date is too early. This proposal addresses part of this by making the retirement age the same as for social security. Public safety still needs to be addressed.
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:21 AM   #40
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My problem with double dipping is that it rubs against the spirit of retirement pension.
Yep. Fully agree. Double dipping is simply another version of having something both ways.

I noted, and was pleased, that Illinois' new pension plan for folks hired after 1-1-2011 includes tighter limits on double dipping. That is, the number of hours you can be paid doing your old job after retiring was reduced. For example, teachers can retire and still do some occasional substitute teaching. But they can't simply be rehired as "full time substitutes."
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