A good question from a reader wondering how this all could be possible:

Will Ron Roberts actually get two checks each month after he retires? Or is there some sort of transfer of assets from one system to the other?

Yes, he will get two separate pension checks, one from the city and one from the county. Even though he left the city more than a decade ago, Roberts didn’t officially “retire” – it’s an important distinction. Remember, all my calculations are based on if he finishes his four-year term and: 1) his salary doesn’t go up anymore (which isn’t the case) and 2) that he doesn’t run again.

When he leaves his job as a supervisor, Roberts will officially retire from the county and he will officially retire from the city and start to collect the two separate pension checks.

The pensions are calculated by taking a small percentage of his final salary and multiplying it by the number of years he worked. So, every time his salary goes up, his pension goes up – even his pension from the city, where he hasn’t worked for a decade. And his salary now includes a higher automobile allowance, which makes for an even bigger hit for the city that never got the benefit of all Roberts’ great driving in recent years.

Here’s a little background if you want some nice bedtime reading.

And no, even though the city of San Diego is giving Roberts a pension three times as large as the one he earned during his seven years as a councilman, no there are no assets traded into the city’s pension fund to pay for the difference.

Finally, reader GC checks in with this thought about the mayor’s initial support of the reciprocity agreements because these government workers are underpaid as it is:

Isn’t it strange how the public sector always justifies their pension benefits by saying their employees are paid less than they would make in the private sector. Makes you wonder if anyone has ever considered how much public sector employees could make if the money public agencies spend on pensions was diverted to salaries. Perhaps they wouldn’t be quite so far behind on the pay scale.

SCOTT LEWIS

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