The Million Dollar Circle - City Pension Payouts - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

WEDNESDAY, February 12, 2009

The Million Dollar Circle - City Pension Payouts

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City Councilmember Carl DeMaio released a report showing million dollar pension payouts and six-figure retirements being made in the city's financially-troubled pension system.

DeMaio's report details the top 100 retirement allowances paid by the city pension system in 2008. The report also reveals the dollar value of the additional lump-sum payouts made under the controversial DROP program that has allowed city workers to "double dip" to bank retirement payouts at 8% compound interest for five years while continuing to draw a city paycheck.

"San Diego taxpayers are being asked to raise taxes to bailout the city's pension system, but we see these outrageous million dollar payouts and six figure retirement allowances. Excessive benefits not only waste the taxpayers' money, but threaten the retirement security of rank-and-file city workers. We must reform the city's pension system once and for all." DeMaio said.

Largest DROP Payments Made:

  • Asst. City Attorney $1,118,992
  • Personnel Director $1,024,144
  • Assistant City Manager $1,012,379
  • Deputy City Attorney $1,003,111
  • Fire Battalion Chief $1,003,071

Highest Annual Allowances:

  • The highest annual allowance was $165,870 paid to a former deputy city manager
  • This city manager also receives a second pension from the city - called SPSP - wherein she was able to contribute up to 6.05% of her salary annually and receive a match from the taxpayers. Assuming average market returns and the lowest contribution rate, her SPSP account would have at least $484,000 - and as much as $969,000 -- in funds today
  • The report also reveals 86 of the top 100 pensions paid in 2008 were for $100,000 or more
  • "Million Dollar Circle:" DeMaio's report uncovers five individuals who received $1 million lump-sum payouts in the DROP program - and an additional three city managers who would receive $1 million payouts when their SPSP 401(k) balances were added to the DROP figures. A total of 1774 individuals have more than $333 million in funds in DROP accounts - all earning a guaranteed 7.75% interest currently even though the pension system suffered significant investment losses last year
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