As I looked over the 16 page Excel Spreadsheet (dated 6/28/12), I was able to break it down into categories. Obviously the higher the position you were in when you left and your years of service have a lot to do with your pay.

On the low end, a good percentage of employees are pulling in around $3-$12,000 a year.

The next jump is at around $30,000 a year, and from there it jumps to about $42,000 a year.

Then we go into what I call the ‘High Roller Club’ (which I will list individually). I am going to leave out the names of the employees, I really don’t think it is pertinent to the story. The most important part is how much taxpayers are doling out to people who no longer WORK for us.

I noticed that Police and Fire seem to be pulling the lion’s share of the retirement packages. Also, throughout the spreadsheet beneficiaries are listed. It often baffles me when the city seems to have money for golden retirement plans and hot tubs for monkeys but no money for snow gates or trimming THEIR trees.



#1 l3wis on 07.10.12 at 3:40 pm

Read all about the mayor and one of the biggest pension recipients in this mag;

#2 l3wis on 07.10.12 at 3:41 pm

Poly – BTW, you may have noticed a retiree listed above 🙂 it may be why she won’t talk about ‘spiking’ retirement plans.

#3 Beer Jew on 07.10.12 at 4:02 pm

I find it comical that pension funds are still around. It’s really an outmoded way of doing business. A lot of companies and especially the government really hemorrhage as a result of this.

#4 l3wis on 07.10.12 at 4:07 pm

I do understand that contributions were made and the money comes out of that investment fund, but just imagine what we could do with $16 million a year in SF if we were not giving it to people who no longer work for us? I commend the mayor for tackling this issue.

#5 l3wis on 07.10.12 at 4:08 pm

I am disappointed though that you cannot find this document online. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right spot, but I had to use a back door method to get this document.

#6 Craig on 07.10.12 at 4:57 pm

Pensions are one of the only reasons people are willing to work for the government. Convert them to 401(k)s like most of the working world has and you would probably have to increase wages to compensate since most of these jobs pay less than their civilian counterparts. That probably isn’t true for police or fire department employees since they have no civilian counterparts, but for people in many roles I suspect it is true.

I do agree there is room for improvement, and the whole spiking issue is a problem, but I wish I had a pension so I can’t really fault them for taking what was offered to them.

Plus – these people (on average) have over 30 years with the city, so we can’t really expect to go back and change the rules now. What they should do is start converting to a private retirement system and phase out the pension plans for new hires like pretty much every Fortune 500 company has had to do over the past few decades.

Aside from government jobs or the railroad, I have no idea where you can even find a job that comes with a pension these days.

#7 Poly43 on 07.10.12 at 7:26 pm

The vast majority of city workers are more than well compensated in comparison to their civilian counterparts. Think not? Think again. City workers enjoy salaries every working man and woman deserves.

Pension plans are one thing. Hell, got one myself. But “spiked” pensions are another animal altogeher.

The person we are talking about had this to say about “spiked” pension plans on June 16th 2006 to Argus reporter J. Ellis, just two years before bailing out in a “spiked” golden parachute.

It’s an expensive benefit for the city’s taxpayer and city employees are fiercely protective of it.

#8 scott on 07.10.12 at 7:27 pm

The only jobs left are union jobs, and there’s no guarantee the pension will be there in 20 years either.

#9 rufusx on 07.10.12 at 8:53 pm

Guess I know now what one of my in-laws will be pulling in retirement in a couple years.

Yes – government pay, benefits, and retirement is one of the few sectors in the economy where the “slugs” are still rewarded in a reasonable way (compared to the “worth less slugs” in the private sector) for their service in general.

#10 l3wis on 07.10.12 at 10:21 pm

Ruf – I would agree with you, but I also think that your pension should be based on actual investments and contribution. I don’t like paying people who are not working for me anymore. BUT, IF, they are drawing their pensions from investments and contributions, I’m cool with that, but it should never dig into the taxes I pay.

#11 Pathloss on 07.10.12 at 10:36 pm

These numbers do not include social security. Then it’s closer to 100k per year. When they retire they move and we loss a big income taxpayer. Once Huether thwart the city into bankruptcy, here’s 5 million a year savings. First thing in a bankruptcy is to default on employee benefits/cost.

#12 anonymous on 07.10.12 at 10:44 pm

The state retirement system outlawed spiking a few years back — one move to keep the system financially sound. A system where the beneficiaries are the ones who have to approve any changes is doomed to fail sooner or later. And SF taxpayers will pay for it.

#13 l3wis on 07.11.12 at 6:57 am

I think Jamison said it best last night, “The council and the city should have control of the retirement system not the employees.” If this was a private business, by all means, employees deserve to have a union to fight for their best interests and negotiate a plan. This isn’t a negotiation. The employees simply get to vote on this, and the taxpayer who pays their wages have NO SAY thru their elected officials, because those officials have no power in this situation.

#14 Poly43 on 07.11.12 at 7:35 am

Let’s see if I have this straight. We have an assistant city librarian drawing a lifetime pension of over $63,000.00 a year, while at the same time, the library employs 36 people making less than $10.00 an hour, a maximum of 28 hours a week and no benefits? Your system is broken city.

#15 l3wis on 07.11.12 at 8:09 am

Broken is a nice word.

#16 Sy on 07.11.12 at 10:11 am

To scott’s point, I don’t think I’d be running out and joining a union right now, especially when a huge chunk of these funds will be further fleeced during this election cycle:

“Thirteen of the bigger plans operated for the Teamsters have, together, a mere 59.3% of reserves necessary to cover obligations. Or consider that 26 pension funds at the food workers union, the UFCW, are at 58.7%. Seven locals at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters fare better at 67%. As a rule of thumb the government considers a fund to be “endangered” at below 80%, and in “critical” status at below 65%, and requires them to come up with a plan to get off probation within a decade. ”


“Poor management probably deserves a lot of the blame for the union decline, but the exact causes are a mystery. An even bigger mystery is that the unions do a far better job with funds created for their officers and employees than for mere workers. The SEIU Affiliates, Officers and Employees Pension Plan—which covers the staff and bosses at its locals—was funded as of 2007 at 102.2%. The plan for the folks at SEIU international headquarters was funded at 84.8%.

Union officer benefits are also far more generous than anything dues-paying workers enjoy. Consider again the SEIU, probably the country’s most powerful union. Their officers and employees get a yearly 3% cost of living increase, but SEIU members get none; officers qualify for an early pension at 50 or after more than 30 years of service, but workers can’t retire early with a pension; officers qualify for disability retirement after a year’s service, but workers need 10 years. In the land of union retirement, some workers are more equal than others”

#17 Poly43 on 07.11.12 at 7:08 pm

To Sy’s point. I understand, to a point, where you’re coming from. I worked in this town from ’73 to ’06 as a skilled tech, a few of those years in a non union atmosphere. Overall, both sides have good and bad points. Having lived the best of both worlds, I would choose UNION, and here’s why. As an example, right now, roughly 1 out of 3 city employees are part time. (About 500 out of 1600) And if there were no union, or it could busted up, I’d venture half would be part time with zero benefits and held to an average of maybe $10.00 an hour and being laid off when they reach 1400 hours in any given fiscal year.

I’m not just talking seasonal employees either. Siouxland Libraries the perfect example. 62 fulltime employees and 40 part timers…no benefits, and no chance of ever making more than $14,000 a year.

If given the chance the city would have a majority of this type of help while non bargaining management types would enjoy huge salary increases and yearly “performance” money.

Not saying you’d do that with your company Sy, but many, including our city, WOULD.

#18 Badbenboyenemy on 07.12.12 at 11:15 am

Duluth Minnesota is having serious financial issues due to similar benefits awarded to public servants, as is Omaha Nebraska.

Many police officers and firefighters take advantage of loopholes that allow them to work lots of overtime their last year, which boosts their yearly benefits significantly.

None of this was an issue when the economy was churning along, but obviously is now that tax revenues are down.

#19 l3wis on 07.12.12 at 12:16 pm

“None of this was an issue when the economy was churning along, but obviously is now that tax revenues are down.”

I think that is what was going on in SF. The city was taking in massive revenue during the Munson Admin, and the employee groups saw an opportunity, and they ceased it.

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