Update alert: Remember the more than $50,000 the county pension was trying to pay its beleaguered chief investment officer to persuade him to quite quietly?

Well, it’s been approved.

Deutsch has apparently agreed to release the county of all future claims and decided to take his $52,343.22 (three-months pay) and decided to leave.

Remember, Walt Ekard, the chief administrative officer of the county of San Diego had to approve of the severance package for Deutsch. It wasn’t altogether clear that he would. The pension board itself had mustered only a bare majority of votes to support giving Deutsch that — overriding the notable opposition of County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and County Treasurer Tax Collector Dan McAllister.

McAllister and Jacob and others argued that it was ludicrous for Deutsch to receive a severance. Not only had the investments the system oversees tanked recently, including a potential dramatic loss in one particular hedge fund where accusations of fraud were flying, but Deutsch had resigned. The board had announced his resignation and thanked him for his service. If someone resigns, why should taxpayers have to pay them off?

Truth is, apparently, he didn’t really resign. The board refused to say what had happened to him because it had happened in a closed session. And while local government officials never seem to worry about the law that would prevent them from having too many secret meetings, they are positively terrified of the law that prevents them from disclosing what happens during those meetings.

But in a memo to Ekard, the pension fund’s CEO admits that Deutsch’s claim that he was fired was an accurate disclosure of the secret proceedings:

In a public session at the Board of Retirement meeting held on March 19, 2009, Mr. Deutsch’s legal counsel publicly disclosed that Mr. Deutsch had been informed by the Board of Retirement that the Board had lost confidence in him.

Ekard responded to White that he took that to mean Deutsch was effectively terminated.

I note that your memorandum confirms that Mr. Deutsch resigned in lieu of termination effective March 19, 2009, and that the circumstances concerning the resignation did not involve reasons of malfeasance in office or conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude.

Again, here was my column on the matter several weeks ago.


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