Most people would be more than happy to go into retirement with a $276,000 per year pension, but a former California sheriff is suing for even more money. Sheriff Robert Brooks retired with a salary of $226,000 in 2011 and has since received an additional $50,000 per year due to guaranteed cost of living increases, but he is now suing Ventura County for an additional $75,000 per year. His only justification? He’s allowed to do so under the law.
Approximately 84 percent of the Ventura County retirees with a pension over $100,000 have made more money in retirement than while they worked. Meanwhile, 20,000 employees throughout the state of California have pensions worth over $100,000. The issue of runaway pensions has led Ventura County to consider a new initiative this year that would let voters approve funneling all new employees into a 401k savings plan rather than a pension. Current employees would also be given the option to either increase their contributions or cut future benefits.
“Reforming these pensions is really popular with the voters in blue states, red states, it doesn’t matter,” said Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation. “People want the government workers to have benefits that are somewhat in line with what they expect to get in their private sector jobs.”
But while many find Brooks’ case to be outrageous, it’s not out of the ordinary in California. A police chief in Stockton left with a $204,000 annual pension after just eight months on the job, while an An Orange County attorney retired with a pension of $226,000 — $14,000 more than his final salary.