Retired Calif. Sheriff Sues for $75,000 Boost to $276,000 Pension

Friday, 21 Feb 2014 08:36 AM

By Courtney Coren

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A California sheriff is asking a judge for an additional $75,000 to be added to his current annual pension of $276,000, and taxpayers are outraged.

Former Sheriff Robert Brooks of Ventura County, who retired in 2011, says that he is owed that amount under current law, Fox News is reporting.

Retired for three years, Brooks has already gotten an increase of $50,000 because of cost-of-living increases promised under the law. But now he's suing for $75,000 more, saying he's entitled to it under the law.

His lawsuit is fueling a backlash on pensions for public employees. Ventura County will have a measure on the ballot in November that would move new employees into a 401(k) retirement savings plan instead of a guaranteed pension. A similar statewide measure may end up on the ballot as well. Similar measures have passed in San Jose and San Diego.

"People are so excited that finally somebody is going to do something about this problem," said Jim McDermott of the Ventura County Taxpayers Association.

However, unions oppose the idea.

"We don't see the 401(k) as a pension plan," said Rick Shimmel, union activist. "401(k)s carry no guarantee, and that's the distinction between a defined-contribution system and defined-benefit system."

The Los Angeles Times did an analysis of the Ventura County pension system in 2012 and found that 84 percent of its retires who have pensions that are more than $100,000 per year are making more in retirement than when they worked.

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