San Diego County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Pam Slater-Price are urging state Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, to oppose state legislation that would allow the county pension board to avoid salary limits for its employees.

The legislation has emerged as a potential route for the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association to pay its employees whatever it wants — a step its CEO says is necessary to attract qualified candidates.

The county pension fund’s CEO, Brian White, recently asked the county’s chief administrator to waive those limits. The administrator, Walt Ekard, urged White to secure the pension board’s approval for the plan first. White had proposed creating four positions that could earn $450,000 annually in base pay and bonuses and another 13 jobs that could pay $300,000 annually including bonuses. White’s plan described a consultant, Lee Partridge, as a public employee making as much as $886,000 annually with bonuses.

No county employee today makes more than $274,000.

The proposed legislation would give the pension board a way to get around those limits, something the two supervisors lambasted in a letter to Kehoe. They called White’s proposal “galling” and said it should serve as a strong, cautionary example against the proposal, Assembly Bill 1987. The bill would allow pension boards to become special districts, affording them more independence.

Jacob and Slater-Price wrote:

The SDCERA proposal stands in stark contrast to many responsible, service-minded public agencies. … We urge your opposition to AB 1987, which would dramatically increase the likelihood of lavish, runaway salaries for pension employees, as evidenced by our County’s ongoing experiences.

They said they would urge their fellow supervisors to oppose the measure and bring a resolution declaring that intent to the board’s Sept. 14 meeting.

They forwarded Kehoe a copy of White’s request as well as a copy of our story that first highlighted the push.


Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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