Letter: A way to be done with CalPERS

Chico City manager Mark Orme is correct, the state’s CalPERS program is dysfunctional and puts a strain on the city’s finances. It’s frustrating that the only solution Orme offers is raise taxes.

How about opting out of CalPERS? According to CalPERS, someone would need to accept responsibility “for sufficient funding to continue paying the retirement and death benefits paid and for future benefits”. If employees would agree to pay their own pension deficit, take more rational pensions, and pay more reasonable shares of the cost, we could all be done with CalPERS.

Employees pay 9-15% for pensions of 70-90% of salary, creating the deficit. Just look at the math. But, employees do not pay toward the deficit – the taxpayers are left on the hook for an increasing amount every year. Last year Staff directed $11.5 million from city infrastructure and services toward “extra” payments to CalPERS. If they won’t agree to ditch CalPERS, why not ask employees to share in the “extra” payments?

According to Transparent California, Mark Orme’s personal pension deficit is about $70,000. At a base salary of $207,000/year, Orme could easily afford to pay his own pension deficit and more than his current 9% share.

The ER reporter forgot to ask Orme why he didn’t recommend a 2/3’s ballot measure – here’s why – a simple majority measure isn’t restricted to public safety, streets or fixing the sewer plant. The additional revenues would most certainly disappear down the pension hole.

— Juanita Sumner, Chico 


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