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NEWS
January 2, 2013
As a longtime Newport Beach resident, I am furious, although not surprised, at the outcome of the city's new pride and joy, the Taj Mahal. Let's look back for a moment. The original reason for a new City Hall was that Newport Beach had hired more employees per capita than any other city in the county. Too many to house. We are the home of the $250,000 beach lifeguards, remember? They say they needed more room to hire even more people. Why? We cannot afford the employees we have now. This eyesore was sold as to us as a $50-million necessity.
NEWS
By Joseph Serna | January 3, 2012
COSTA MESA — Several of the city's civilian department heads have agreed to pay the maximum amount allowed toward their state pensions, city CEO Tom Hatch announced at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. The news will likely be seen as a victory for the City Council majority, which throughout the last year has been calling on city employees to pay more toward their California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) costs. Hatch said he is hoping the move by the civilian department heads — which constitutes all city departments, except police and fire — will be mimicked by the rest of the city employees.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | February 27, 2013
It would take new sales or parcel taxes for the city of Costa Mesa to meet its long-term pension obligations, a Stanford University professor told the City Council on Tuesday night. Joe Nation said the scenario surrounding the difference between the amounts promised to retirees versus projected available funding to meet those commitments to the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is "stark. " Nation, a Democrat speaking before four of the five Republicans on the council, said his bleak assessment was about math and numbers, not "beating up anybody.
NEWS
By the Costa Mesa Pension Oversight Committee | April 21, 2014
Editor's note: Attorneys John Stephens and Tim Sesler, two members of Costa Mesa's Pension Oversight Committee, asked the Daily Pilot to publish the panel's findings and recommendations. The committee put together a series of three articles that seek to explain and simplify the complex subject matter to residents. This is the third installment. At a minimum, pension terminology can be challenging. At a maximum, it is outright confusing. In this installment we attempt to define some of the more commonly used pension terminology.
NEWS
By Sarah Peters and Joseph Serna, sarah.peters@latimes.com | April 12, 2011
COSTA MESA — The City Council will hold a special study session April 26 to discuss budgetary issues, including the city's $130-million unfunded liability and its current pension costs. At issue is the city's contribution to the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS. "The idea is to basically give a real detailed presentation on the balance fund and what our reserves are, our cash flows are like, just sort of a primer on that issue," said William Lobdell, the city's communications manager and a former Daily Pilot columnist and editor.
NEWS
April 25, 2011
Costa Mesa residents will be able to question city staff and pension experts at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon about the city's future retirement obligations. The City Council is holding a budgetary briefing study session to go over how the latest projections of California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) are expected to impact the city's budget, according to a city news release. The city has hired CalPERS expert John Bartel as a consultant to help Costa Mesa estimate its obligations over the next five years, the release said.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | November 21, 2013
A nearly four-hour meeting on Costa Mesa's public pension plans Wednesday brought modest debate to the fore of what's been called an "out-of-control" financial situation for taxpayers. The city's Pension Oversight Committee met with Kerry Worgan, a senior pension actuary with the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), who provided them with a chance to hear the pension fund's side of a complex debate. Like many municipalities, Costa Mesa faces an unfunded liability to CalPERS that, according to some estimates, is within the range of $220 million . Eight committee members attended.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | February 5, 2014
It was almost 11 p.m. Tuesday, nearly five hours after the start of the Costa Mesa City Council meeting, when the discussion turned to a touchy subject: pension obligations. That's when the "big boogeyman" of a number, as the city's Pension Oversight Committee Chairman Jeff Arthur called it, was announced: $228 million in unfunded pension liabilities. It's the most current estimated shortfall between what City Hall will owe its retiring employees and what funds are available to pay that contractual obligation, according to Arthur.
NEWS
By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com | April 4, 2011
COSTA MESA - The ballooning pension cost estimates that City Council members are using to rationalize their dramatic restructuring and layoffs efforts hinge almost entirely on a single, negotiable premise, according to city finance department officials. "One probably pretty big assumption is that when [employee contracts] are completed, it is assuming the employees are not going to continue to pay what they pay" now into their pensions, said Bobby Young, a budget and research officer for Costa Mesa.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | February 15, 2014
Board members for the Mesa Water District approved a new labor agreement this week that will have the district's union membership contributing to its pensions. The contract for the 32-member employee association stipulates that by December 2017, the employees will contribute 7% of their pay to the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS. Before that time, the employees will gradually contribute to the pension fund, starting with 1% this year. That amount supplements what the district pays into CalPERS.
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NEWS
By the Costa Mesa Pension Oversight Committee | April 21, 2014
Editor's note: Attorneys John Stephens and Tim Sesler, two members of Costa Mesa's Pension Oversight Committee, asked the Daily Pilot to publish the panel's findings and recommendations. The committee put together a series of three articles that seek to explain and simplify the complex subject matter to residents. This is the third installment. At a minimum, pension terminology can be challenging. At a maximum, it is outright confusing. In this installment we attempt to define some of the more commonly used pension terminology.
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NEWS
By Bradley Zint | February 15, 2014
Board members for the Mesa Water District approved a new labor agreement this week that will have the district's union membership contributing to its pensions. The contract for the 32-member employee association stipulates that by December 2017, the employees will contribute 7% of their pay to the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS. Before that time, the employees will gradually contribute to the pension fund, starting with 1% this year. That amount supplements what the district pays into CalPERS.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | February 5, 2014
It was almost 11 p.m. Tuesday, nearly five hours after the start of the Costa Mesa City Council meeting, when the discussion turned to a touchy subject: pension obligations. That's when the "big boogeyman" of a number, as the city's Pension Oversight Committee Chairman Jeff Arthur called it, was announced: $228 million in unfunded pension liabilities. It's the most current estimated shortfall between what City Hall will owe its retiring employees and what funds are available to pay that contractual obligation, according to Arthur.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | November 21, 2013
A nearly four-hour meeting on Costa Mesa's public pension plans Wednesday brought modest debate to the fore of what's been called an "out-of-control" financial situation for taxpayers. The city's Pension Oversight Committee met with Kerry Worgan, a senior pension actuary with the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), who provided them with a chance to hear the pension fund's side of a complex debate. Like many municipalities, Costa Mesa faces an unfunded liability to CalPERS that, according to some estimates, is within the range of $220 million . Eight committee members attended.
NEWS
By Charles Mooney | October 11, 2013
I recently read a claim that underfunded pension obligations for city employees were imaginary. Consider the following hypothetical, which is analogous to what's facing thousands of public employees in the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS), including those in Costa Mesa, who are looking forward to retiring in the coming years. A recently hired 35-year-old accountant has been told by his physician that he will slowly lose his eyesight over the next 30 years.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | May 2, 2013
An "out of control" financial situation. An "ugly situation. " A city that's "handcuffed. " Not just a "Costa Mesa problem. " Those were a few of the words used to describe the city's employee pension program through the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, during the inaugural session of the Pension Oversight Committee on Wednesday afternoon. Eight of the nine newly appointed committee members, as well as Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger, attended the meeting in a City Hall conference room.
NEWS
By Jeff Arthur | March 13, 2013
Letter writer Charles Mooney says Costa Mesa has a pension problem. [" Outsourcing could make unfunded pension obligations worse, Mailbag, Feb. 26]. Yet many do not seem to understand the seriousness or magnitude: $196 million unfunded CalPERS pensions (66% funded) and $34 million unfunded retiree medical, (0% funded). That's more than $2,000 for every Costa Mesan — man, woman and child. Joe Nation from Stanford University, a former six-year Democratic Assemblyman, presented his analysis to the City Council on Feb. 26. It is sobering (see pension information at http://www.costamesaca.gov .)
NEWS
By Jeffrey Harlan | March 2, 2013
Pension reform is not exactly a hot topic at my dinner table. In fact, I can assure you that the words have never been mentioned at any family meal. Tuesday evening's Cost Mesa City Council study session about the city's unfunded public pension liabilities revealed that it's not an easy subject to swallow, let alone fully digest. Hired by the city to shed some light on what we're really facing, Stanford economics professor and former state legislator Joe Nation painted a bleak picture for the four council members and dozen or so community members in attendance.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | February 27, 2013
It would take new sales or parcel taxes for the city of Costa Mesa to meet its long-term pension obligations, a Stanford University professor told the City Council on Tuesday night. Joe Nation said the scenario surrounding the difference between the amounts promised to retirees versus projected available funding to meet those commitments to the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is "stark. " Nation, a Democrat speaking before four of the five Republicans on the council, said his bleak assessment was about math and numbers, not "beating up anybody.
NEWS
January 2, 2013
As a longtime Newport Beach resident, I am furious, although not surprised, at the outcome of the city's new pride and joy, the Taj Mahal. Let's look back for a moment. The original reason for a new City Hall was that Newport Beach had hired more employees per capita than any other city in the county. Too many to house. We are the home of the $250,000 beach lifeguards, remember? They say they needed more room to hire even more people. Why? We cannot afford the employees we have now. This eyesore was sold as to us as a $50-million necessity.
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