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NEWS
By Tim Sesler | March 17, 2014
Have you heard of Costa Mesa's scandal de jour? Since 2012, 26 of our police officers have left. Most have simply retired. News flash: A retirement providing an officer 90% of his highest annual salary at age 50 will encourage early retirement. It's not rocket science. Yet, part of Costa Mesa's perpetually outraged electorate blames their favorite boogeyman, the mayor, James Righeimer, for this simple law of economics. An objective person looking for the cause could blame Gov. Jerry Brown for signing legislation more than 30 years ago that permitted our public officials to unionize, or CalPERS for misrepresenting that retroactively raising our officers' pensions by 50% wouldn't require increased city contributions, or naïve and ill-informed (pre-COIN, the Civic Openness in Negotiations ordinance)
NEWS
February 21, 2013
Charles Mooney is long on comments, but short on solutions ( "I have doubts about Costa Mesa's Outsourcing," Commentary, Feb. 15). After reading Mooney's comments, I have doubts about Costa Mesa's long-term financial stability. Costa Mesa already spends $19 million of its $101 million annual revenues on pensions and retiree health benefits. Yet Mooney discounts City Council cost-saving measures, bashes the charter proposal and offers no real alternatives. According to California Public Employees' Retirement System's October 2012 memos, police pensions are short $74 million for 300 people, fire pensions are short $52 million for 200 people, and "miscellaneous" pensions are short $70 million for 700 people.
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 Alicia Robinson | September 24, 2007
Newport Beach could become the next battleground in the escalating fight for control of public-employee pensions. The City Council may give voters the final say over pension increases. But it’s still unclear whether Councilman Keith Curry — who proposed the pension discussion — is brewing up a major battle between employee unions and fiscal conservatives, or a tempest in a teapot. “I believe our pension benefits are currently fair and equitable, but I think we need to have this kind of control to ensure that future councils don’t overspend,” Curry said.
NEWS
By Mike Reicher | May 22, 2012
Newport Beach firefighters will pay more toward their pensions, and newly hired firefighters will receive less in their retirement, according to a union contract the City Council unanimously approved Tuesday. With the increased contributions and a less generous retirement plan, Newport joins a growing roster of California cities reforming their pensions and saving long-term employment costs. "This is about finding balance about what is fair for our dedicated employees, and what is fair for taxpayers," said Councilwoman Leslie Daigle.
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 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 Mike Reicher, mike.reicher@latimes.com | June 10, 2011
He could be working in any major Southern California hospital, with his master's in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and bachelor's from UCLA. Instead, Kevin Selna, 33, chose a different public health setting: the beach. Selna, who patrols the coastline of Crystal Cove State Park, is one of about 70 lifeguards-peace officers for the state park system who watch the shores and enforce laws up and down the coast. While he carries a gun and a badge, most full-time lifeguards do not. So when news reports revealed guards' generous pensions — one of the reasons Selna took the job — and the nearly $150,000 in salaries paid to Newport Beach supervisors, people around the world got furious.
NEWS
By Mike Reicher | June 18, 2010
Predominately by renegotiating pensions for its employees and offering them incentives for early retirement, the city of Newport Beach is on track to trim $10 million from its 2010-2011 fiscal year budget deficit. The City Council will make final adjustments to the $187.7 million operating budget before Tuesday's regular council meeting, when it could adopt the budget. The savings come in the face of a $12.5 million deficit that was originally forecast in January. Declining revenues and outstanding spending commitments forced the city to make cuts.
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NEWS
By Jill Cowan | April 29, 2014
Candidates for the Orange County Board of Supervisors' 2nd District seat sparred over pensions, problem-solving and their community ties Monday night in a debate that took on something of a wonkish tone. The four are vying to replace Supervisor John Moorlach, who will be termed out next year. About 160 community members gathered at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center for the seventh Feet to the Fire forum, where candidates for local or regional office meet with a panel of journalists in an informal TV talk show-style discussion.
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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.
NEWS
By the Costa Mesa Pension Oversight Committee | April 16, 2014
Editor's n ote: 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 second installment. Part 3 will appear Friday. Across the state, newspaper headlines have reported that nearly 21,000 former California public employees are receiving pension benefits exceeding $100,000 per year.
NEWS
By the Costa Mesa Pension Oversight Committee | April 14, 2014
Editor's n ote: 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, titled "Fast Facts," that seek to explain and simplify the complex subject matter to residents. This is the first installment. Part 2 will appear Thursday. Throughout the nation, the subject of "unfunded public pension liabilities" has captivated headlines serving as vivid illustrations of how they place city finances in peril.
NEWS
By Tim Sesler | March 17, 2014
Have you heard of Costa Mesa's scandal de jour? Since 2012, 26 of our police officers have left. Most have simply retired. News flash: A retirement providing an officer 90% of his highest annual salary at age 50 will encourage early retirement. It's not rocket science. Yet, part of Costa Mesa's perpetually outraged electorate blames their favorite boogeyman, the mayor, James Righeimer, for this simple law of economics. An objective person looking for the cause could blame Gov. Jerry Brown for signing legislation more than 30 years ago that permitted our public officials to unionize, or CalPERS for misrepresenting that retroactively raising our officers' pensions by 50% wouldn't require increased city contributions, or naïve and ill-informed (pre-COIN, the Civic Openness in Negotiations ordinance)
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 Jeremiah Dobruck | February 1, 2014
The Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday will consider a plan to take a small bite out of its pension debt by making a series of early payments that could save the city $12 million. By paying $25 million to fire department employees' pension fund faster than planned, the city could save significantly on interest, according to a staff report on the proposal. Costa Mesa accrued that specific $25 million in debt when it retroactively increased pension benefits for fire employees in 2008.
NEWS
By Jeremiah Dobruck | January 16, 2014
Outsourcing lifeguards at Corona del Mar State Beach would be "salt in the wounds" of a neighborhood that's still smarting from changes in trash-collection services, according to the head of the Corona del Mar Residents Assn. "We're trying to get our hands around it and understand why this would possibly make sense," association President Karen Tringali said during the group's monthly meeting Thursday morning. "And we'll be as anxious as everybody else to see if there are real savings involved in this process.
NEWS
By Emily Foxhall and Jeremiah Dobruck | January 4, 2014
Newport Beach is looking into outsourcing lifeguard services on one of its busiest stretches of coastline. City staff will be accepting proposals this month from groups interested in patrolling Corona del Mar State Beach, which is currently watched over by city lifeguards - some of whom have already objected to the idea. The possible change is part of an ongoing exploration of ways the city can control looming pension costs. "It's a chance to see what proposals are out there," City Manager Dave Kiff said.
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