Just another $10 Million Government Pension

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CHICAGO —All across the country, millions of government pensioners are contract-bound to receive lifetime pension payouts, each in the millions of dollars, along with taxpayer- funded, premium healthcare insurance, according to Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“There has been a flurry of reaction to the ‘discovery’ of Alameda County Administrator, Susan Muranishi, securing an excessive lifetime annual payment of $423,000. We have completed analysis of government employee salaries and pensions in nineteen states across the country and while Ms. Muranishi’s pay is on the high end of the scale, it just isn’t as uncommon as you might think.”
Peter G. Mehas, retired from the Fresno County Office of Education, annual pension – $241,807; est. lifetime payout: $9,357,534
Tapas Das Gupta, retired from the University of Illinois, annual pension – $426,885; est. lifetime payout: $8,337,549
Frank A. Fairbanks, retired city manager of Phoenix, AZ, annual pension – $246,813; est. lifetime payout: $7,404,386
Irene Mitchel, retired from the Pennsylvania Higher Ed System, annual pension – $332, 017; est. lifetime payout: $9,960,523
“Alameda County, CA (ACERA) had fourteen pensioners receiving eight-figure pensions in 2011, the highest being $17,824,590 estimated lifetime payout to Gary Thuman, based on his annual pension of $396,102. This is what he is being paid not to work.”
“Alameda County government teachers have a real sweetheart deal too. Christine A. Lim, retired from San Leandro Unified and enjoys $239,092 in annual pension payments. Her est. lifetime payout is a stunning $10,436,359. Not bad for ‘civil servant’. The top 100 Alameda County government teacher pensions average $5.5 million.”
“How did pensions ever get so outrageous?” asks McNeilly. “These grotesque pension payments have far exceeded any possible original intent of adequately compensating ‘civil servants’ for meager wages that lean government budgets could barely afford for basic services. No, the pension scam has become the number one tool of corruption for top government union bosses to stay in power and to reelect those that would make such deals with the devil. And to ensure the scam proliferates, lavish pensions have been awarded to the legislators who would vote on this issue. This keeps them protected by the state’s laws, and for judicial certainty, the very judges who might rule on any challenges to the system have themselves been made part of the conspiracy with gold-plated retirement security of their own.”
“Knowing all that we know about the desperate state of government pensions across the country, how then do some states continue to hide their pension largesse behind a shroud of legal secrecy? One might think pensioned judges wouldn’t protect their own pension payments from public review. But consider Colorado, where Denver District Judge Edward D. Bronfin ruled that the state’s own treasurer, Robert Stapleton, could not have ‘unlimited, unfettered access’ to the state’s PERA data, holding that individual names and pension amount are personal. When you consider that Colorado’s PERA has at least a $16.8 billion unfunded liability, it would seem the public will be picking up a majority of that tab and it should be open for review.”
“Colorado is not the only state that still hides pension payments from public review. To give taxpayers an idea of what the current government pension laws allow for, TUA estimated pensions for current employees, assuming they meet the terms of full retirement. The shear magnitude of these estimates explains why government bureaucrats maintain the shroud of secrecy. Consider current Colorado State employee, Robert K. Hammond, a Colorado State employee whose salary is $225,000. Under current PERA rules, assuming he meets all of the criteria, he would be eligible for an annual pension of about $168,750 that could accumulate to a lifetime payout of about $5.4 million.”
“Nevada is another state that keeps individual pension payouts from public review. The state keeps its approximately $11 billion in unfunded liabilities hidden as well. Ricardo A. Bonvincin, a corrections lieutenant, was receiving $435,658 in annual wages. Assuming he met all criteria for full retirement, he would have been eligible for an annual pension of $335,456, potentially accumulating to a stunning $15,961,017.”
“And so the list goes across the country.”
“Cities, counties, government boards are buckling under the shear magnitude of these pension promises — promises negotiated out of corruption and expanded to include all who would challenge them, such as legislators and judges. The current government-employee pension system is indefensible on any level. If contractual agreements are honored across the country, taxpayers will be required to sacrifice all their property to ensure that the ‘new elite’ keep pulling in the big bucks.”
“It is actually too late for pension reform, and time for pension settlement for existing pensioners and pension replacement for new hires. It is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of the government pension debacle, so what is left? Stockton, CA, is taking the bankruptcy path to dealing with its fiscal irresponsibility, which will allow it to reorganize its debt. Does every city, county and state government have to go bankrupt in order to fairly settle the incredible financial burden placed squarely on the backs of taxpayers as a direct result of this ubiquitous corruption?”
“But the debt is only half of the problem. Any city, county, state, or court that manages to survive the overwhelming pension crisis and allows the system to perpetuate under the same set of rules is acting criminally. It is time to end government pensions forever.”
Note: All pension amounts are based on 2011 reports generated on data received directly from each of the respective funds and the pension laws in force at the time of each study.

Philadelphia PA: Government Pensions Revealed!

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PHILADELPHIA—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today revealed retired government employee pensions for the City of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania statewide government teachers. Many Pennsylvania government employees are becoming pension millionaires when retired.
“Many government retirees make more in pension payments than the private sector taxpayers make in salaries,” stated Christina Tobin, TUA Vice President. “Both the economy and the pension system are in serious trouble. While taxpayers struggle to save for their own retirement and fund the pension system, government retirees have to be concerned that their pension payments will continue.”
“I have delivered letters to Gov. Corbett and each member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, calling for meaningful pension reforms that will be both fair and sustainable. TUA is ready to work with legislators to implement reforms that will preserve the system for those that are relying on it, and bring relief to the taxpayers who are obligated to fund it.”
“Private sector taxpayers are struggling in the ‘Great Recession,’ with an average income of $56,000.
The unemployment/underemployment rate (U6) is 14.9%. The maximum Social Security annual payout is $22,000, regardless of how much one may have earned in their working career.”
Sylvester Johnson, retired Philadelphia government employee, collects an annual pension of $152,440. His estimated lifetime payout is $4,573,199.*”
Vincent Jannetti, retired from the Philadelphia government, has an annual pension of $133,097 with an estimated lifetime payout of $3,992,915*.”
“Retired Pennsylvania teacher, Anthony V. Costello, has a lifetime estimated payout of $6,680,556* based on his actual annual pension of $222,685.”
“Pennsylvania government pension systems are making millionaires out of public employees at taxpayer expense. Ending pensions for all new government hires and replacing with social security and 401(k)s would eventually eliminate unfunded government pensions. If government employees would just increase their pension contributions, they would preserve their pension benefits. Anything less will ensure the system’s collapse and Pennsylvania government retirees will get nothing. We need a stable system that is fair to both taxpayers and beneficiaries.”
“Every employee deserves a fair wage for the work they do at the time they do it so they can plan for their own retirement, rather than counting on the bureaucrats who helped create such an unstable situation.”
“This is the time for the political courage to do what’s in the best interest of taxpayers, rather than the special interests. Let’s knock any politician out-of-office who cuts bad deals with union bosses and corporations! Republican or Democrat, what’s the difference, with numbers like these?”
View pension amounts below:

*TUA submits FOIA requests for actual pensions. Since personal information is not available, lifetime pension payouts must be estimated based on retirement at 60 for university employees and 55 for all others, life expectancy of 85, and without COLA.
All annual pensions included in this report are derived by annualizing the benefit amount provided by the legal representative of the subject fund.

Pennsylvania Pensions Corrections

Monday, TUA (Taxpayers United of America) announced Pittsburgh public employee pension figures that were based on information obtained from Right-to-Know requests of city and county pension funds.
Attorney for the pension fund, Jim South, said that the information they provided was inaccurate based on the actual request for pension data.
“The figures were wrong, because the information we received from the city was wrong,” stated Christina Tobin, Vice President of TUA. “The city said they will provide the correct information, which TUA will publish upon receipt.”
In Altoona, TUA was told it was incorrect in stating that Reynold Santone, Jr., the current fire chief, was getting pension payments since 4/1/2009 of $4000 a month.
TUA was informed by Kimberly Carrieri, Deputy City Clerk, that Mr. Santone has not directly received the payments; instead, he is in a ‘drop program.’ His pension benefit is taken out of the pension fund, and placed in a special pension account for him. So while he is not currently collecting it directly, the money is indeed, being accumulated for him.
“Mr. Santone would be disingenuous to deny that he is not receiving both a pension and salary from the taxpayers of Altoona.  A deferred payment is a payment. This ability to double dip from taxpayers is precisely why TUA names names.  It is one of the many flaws of the current pension system in Altoona, the flaws created by bad union bosses making deals with bad politicians at the expense of taxpayers and rank-and-file alike” added Tobin.
View/download the orginal raw data provided by Altoona and Pittsburgh city governments: