Saturday, July 2, 2016

CA Court of Appeals rules generous CalPERS base pay calculation pension is fair

Some of you remember past City Manager Joe Tanner.

San Francisco Business Times/Sacramento/Mark Anderson,Staff Writer, 6/30/16. "CalPERS prevails in Bay Area spiked pension case."

Image result for City Manager Joseph Tanner picture
But, 2 years 6 months in Vallejo is well
worth a 42% pension increase. Isn't it?
"A decision by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to reject a former city manager’s attempt to spike his pension has been upheld in a California Court of Appeal. The former city manager of Vallejo, Joseph Tanner, starting in late 2006 had a three-year contract for that position. He started with a base pay of $216,000 annually, plus a car allowance, deferred compensation plan and 12 weeks of leave.
Image result for so sad, not really picture
Six years rejection in Court:
CalPERS Pension $16,091 monthly,
amounting to only $193,092 annually.

In January 2007, CalPERS reviewed the contract and told Tanner only his base pay would qualify as compensation toward his pension. Then in March 2007, the city and Tanner replaced the original contract with another contract that increased Tanner’s base salary to $305,844 and dropped the other types of compensation. When Tanner retired, he claimed his pension on the higher $305,884 salary. Seeing the higher amount, CalPERS rejected his claim, instead calculating his pension on the lower salary. That currently works out to $16,091 a month, or $193,092 annually. But Tanner wanted his pension to reflect the nearly $90,000 of non-salary compensation. 

Tanner appealed the CalPERS decision to an administrative law judge, who in 2012 sided with CalPERS. Tanner sued to overturn the decision, and a Sacramento Superior Court judge rejected it in 2015.  A court of appeal this week affirmed that decision. 'We’re obviously pleased with the decision,” said Matthew Jacobs, CalPERS’ general counsel, in a news release. “This was a blatant attempt to evade the laws against pension-spiking, and the court recognized it as such. We’re gratified that our efforts to root out this kind of abuse are bearing fruit.' The court’s reason for rejecting the higher salary was based on the fact that the change was never disclosed on a publicly available pay schedule, according to CalPERS."  

Related, news article. East Bay Times/Bay Area News Group/Daniel Borenstein, 6/30/16, "Justices reject city manager's pension spiking scheme."  "Retired city manager Joseph Tanner, a critic of inflated public employee benefits who helped steer Vallejo through bankruptcy, has lost another bid to spike his pension 42 percent. In a unanimous decision Tuesday, a state appellate court rejected his claim that in 2009 he was entitled to starting annual retirement pay of $307,000. The three appellate court justices ruled that Tanner and the city of Vallejo had failed to comply with a 23-year-old law requiring transparency of public employee compensation. The decision upheld earlier rulings by an administrative law judge, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and a Sacramento County Superior Court judge." 

Related, older articles. The double standard.  The Sacramento Bee/Jon Ortiz, 1/14/15, "Ex-Vallejo manager's ironic fight with CalPERS." "As Vallejo careened toward bankruptcy in 2008, then-city manager Joseph Tanner blamed the town’s fiscal meltdown on high pay and benefits for police and firefighters. ..."  Salary spiking began in Pacifica.  East Bay Times/Daniel Borenstein, Staff Columnist, 10/22/15, "City manager's breathtaking pension-spiking..." "But Tanner's quest for another $90,000 a year, plus inflation adjustments, for the rest of his life is unreasonable. Tanner was nearly 62 when he retired in 2009. Funding just that additional benefit would require immediately pouring an unanticipated $1.1 million to $1.5 million into CalPERS investments. While the case hinges on Tanner's employment contract with Vallejo, most of the financial burden would be borne by five other cities that previously employed him. Public pensions are calculated based on a worker's top salary, usually in the final year of employment. But the pension costs are then apportioned to all of the employers for whom that person worked. .... Tanner's spiking saga, recounted in court documents, began in November 2006, when he was working as city manager of Pacifica, earning $170,000 a year. He was 59 and entitled to a pension of about $131,500 annually."  SF Gate/Matthai Kuruvila, 5/20/09.  "Vallejo to pay city manager $390,000 to quit." "The city of Vallejo reached a tentative agreement to pay its city manager $390,000 to resign, marking yet another bitter divide in a city that filed for bankruptcy almost exactly a year ago."  Leaving Pacifica (2003-2006).  "Plant your business in Solano County!" blog/Chris G.Denina, 11/20/06, .... "He starts work Jan. 8 (2007), under a three-year contract at a base annual salary of $216,000. .... Tanner said he hasn't decided which will be his last day in Pacifica, where he was hired as interim city manager in 2003, before taking that job full time more than a year later for $170,000 annually. During negotiations with Vallejo, Tanner reportedly told his bosses on the Pacifica council he was holding out for more money, a Pacifica official said. .... Tanner had little opportunity to show his economic development skills in Pacifica, where a no-growth group has sued over developments, a Pacifica official said."   Related, general. CA Courts of Appeal.

Note photograph and graphic. Photograph (Joe Tanner in the center) by Mike Jory/Times-Herald, 2/28/08 from the current related East Bay Times article. So sad emoji from Pell, "Meaning of Facebook's Emojis, Explained."  Disclaimer: the related information, attitude and article framing are that of the poster, noted below.

Article submitted by Jim Wagner

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Lot's of sour grapes in Pacifica.

He is getting paid and I am not.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people are getting paid a lot of money by us taxpayers. Ol' Joe's greed became a little more public than the rest of the very highly compensated public employee management class. Those salaries are out of control...and the lifetime pensions and other treats carefully woven into their contracts...wowwie!

Anonymous said...

Lancelle, Vreeland, deJarnutt and Digre were thick as thieves with their boy Joe
Tanner. Don't ever forget that. These faux-enviro hypocrites in the end only cared about one thing, THEMSELVES!
Now their spawns; Loeb, Virby, Goldberg, Keener, Digre, Bray and the rest of the nuts in their club are once again harming Pacifica with their flawed self-interested judgement.