October 27, 2014

Joe Tarica, senior editor for The Tribune, relied on the reporting of the LA Times for his editorial "No bonuses for just doing your job," October 25. Unfortunately, the Times wrote a one-sided story about complex pension issues and got it wrong; so did Joe. He made the assumption that the list of pay items that count towards pensions was ginned up in 1993 by legislation supported by CalPERS. It was CalPERS who began to identify pension abuse in the early 90s and the legislation acted to put parameters around pay items created by employers. Tarica also fails to mention that CalPERS is working with employers and stakeholders to review the list of compensation items to see if any of the items are no longer used or are obsolete, and that CalPERS did a cost analysis of the new pension reform laws resulting in an estimate that the laws will save up to $55 billion over the next 30 years. More importantly, the new law passed by Governor Brown excluded a few of the pay items. The Governor wrote to CalPERS and stated that our direction on the remaining 99 was "largely consistent" with the intent of the law. He only objected to one. Tarica's "disdain" about the pay items is misplaced. CalPERS administers the benefits set by California's cities, counties, and public agencies and the pay they collectively bargain with their employees.

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