The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 29, 2009
Pension watchdog puts database of 5,000 CalPERS retirees online
The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility (CFFR) today put on the Web a list of nearly 5,000 retired state and municipal workers who are collecting $100,000 a year or more in pension money from the California Public Employees Retirement System.

The CFFR database of 4,818 names is available in a searchable format here.

Dubbed "The CalPERS $100,000 Pension Club," its home page features a list of the top 10 pensioners getting the most from CalPERS.

Bruce Malkenhorst, a municipal government retiree from Vernon in Southern California,heads the list with an annual pension of $499,674. For more on him, see this 2007 report in Forbes Magazine.

Donald Gerth, the former president of California State University, Sacramento, ranks third in the list with a cool $278,054 annual pension. ( Yes, that's his pension.)

"We feel it's time for transparency on this issue," said CFFR vice-president Marcia Fritz.
"In the current economic climate, it's important that taxpayers know what kind of pensions our public employees are receiving and what the budget implications will be."

CFFR was founded in 2007 by Keith Richman, a former LA County Republican assemblyman.

Richman says the foundation's sole purpose is to highlight  the skyrocketing costs of public employee retirements.

"If we don't do something soon there may be several government entities that go bankrupt, and those that don't are going to die from a thousand cuts in services,"  Richman said in his group's news release.  

CFFR says it obtained its list from CalPERS under the state's Public Records Act.

CFFR, a non-profit political organization, says it's committed to educating the public and key decision makers about California public employee retirement benefit issues. The group believes that managing pension and retiree health care benefits promised to public employees is "the most critical public finance issue of this decade."

Many state workers were upset when The Bee  first published a list of state worker salaries. Others celebrated the transparency effort.  It will be very interesting to see what kind of reaction CFFR gets with this effort.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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This database allows you to search the salaries of California's 300,000-plus state workers and view up to four years of their pay history.

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