County report backs pension hike process - Watch Sonoma County

WatchSonomaCounty.JPGBy BRETT WILKISON

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Sonoma County officials appear to have not fully met a public notice requirement when they approved enhanced pensions for county employees a decade ago, an inquiry by county attorneys has found.

The finding, contained in a report going before the county Board of Supervisors today, sides with an allegation advanced in July by the county grand jury.

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The Sonoma County Retroactive Pension Increase: Gross Incompetence or Billion Dollar Scam? - UnionWatch

UnionWatch.JPGBy Ken Churchill

In 2002, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors agreed to essentially increase pension benefits by 50% back to the date people were hired. However, County records show that the deal cut between the employees and the Supervisors stated that General employees would pay for the entire cost of the increase and Safety employees would pay for half the cost of the increase. This is the story of how the employees ended up paying for 6-10% of the cost and how the current Board of Supervisors seem willing to let them get away with it.

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How Retroactive Pension Increases and Lower Investment Returns Have Blown Up Sonoma County’s Pension System - UnionWatch

UnionWatch.JPGBy Ken Churchill

We should all care deeply about pension costs and the 400% increase in the costs over the past decade in Sonoma County. Why? Because every dollar going to over generous, retroactively enhanced pensions is taxpayer money that is not creating jobs, helping our fellow citizens, educating our children, or maintaining our roads and parks.

Most people know there is a pension problem, but don’t know how it was created or how big it is. Many, including our elected officials, don’t understand the options for making pensions sustainable again. The purpose of this paper is to answer those questions.

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