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Cities on the hook for millions in promised retirement funds

August 15, 2009

Just more examples of California pension benefits.  I still don’t understand how anyone can think it is good for our country to have someone work for 30 years and then collect a sizable pension for another 30 years.  How does that math work without huge contributions during the time of employment? (Answer, it doesn’t.)

The poster boy for those calling to revamp California public pensions is Bruce Malkenhorst Sr., who for 32 years was city administrator, clerk, finance director, treasurer and redevelopment agency secretary for the city of Vernon — California’s smallest city (with a population of just 95, according to the latest state Department of Finance estimates) — and chief executive of the city’s utility, Vernon Light and Power.

Vernon — a 5-square-mile industrial area with only a few homes and apartments and no schools, clinics or grocery stores — paid Malkenhorst $600,000 a year, about twice that of Los Angeles’ mayor, according to a 2007 Forbes magazine article.

While Malkenhorst awaits trial on an indictment claiming he charged $60,000 to Vernon for golf trips, massages and political contributions, he collects a $499,674 annual pension, the highest of anybody on CFFR’s lists.

Poster child is right.  Keep in mind it isn’t about the people who are getting these defined benefits, it is about the fact our system of government seems to think they are possible.

A funny statement from this article:

Any changes to such a plan to cut benefits and reduce costs can’t be retroactive.

That’s what they think.  Oh sure, we’ll likely increase taxes by 25-50% over the coming two decades in an attempt to not break these agreements, but eventually the people paying for all these benefits will wise up.  Defaulting on debts might just become the American way.

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