12,338 Retired Workers in CalPERS $100,000-a-Year Club

Friday, July 20, 2012

The average retiree in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) receives around $28,000 a year, which by and large supplants Social Security for them. But when enraged Californians break out the pitchforks and flaming torches to protest overgenerous pension payouts they think are bankrupting the state, they’re often focused on the $100,000-a-Year Club.

It’s a club with 12,338 members, roughly double the membership in 2009, and almost seven times the class of 2005 (1,841). Fewer than 3% of the system’s 536,234 retirees are members.

The club is no longer led by convicted felon Bruce Malkenhorst Sr., former top administrator for the city of Vernon. Malkenhorst, who collected $509,664 in 2011, pleaded guilty last year to misappropriating $60,000 in public funds, and using the money for political contributions and personal expenses. His pension was subsequently reduced to $115,000, so he remains in the club but is no longer as valued a member. Malkenhorst is appealing the downgrade while continuing to collect around $43,000 a year.

The new No. 1 is Michael D. Johnson, a former Solano County employee, who retired in January 2011 after 38 years of government service and 19 years as county administrator. His pension is $371,043 a year.

The top 10 has a representative from San Diego Superior Court, Los Angeles County Sanitation District No. 2 and California State University, one each from the cities of Bell, Indio, Santa Ana and El Cajon and two from UCLA. They all receive more than $268,000 a year.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Felon Falls off Top 10 Pension List; Santa Ana Exec Joins It (by Teri Sforza, Orange County Register)

$100K Pension Club Soars 99% in Two Years (by Teri Sforza, Orange County Register)

Facts at a Glance: Retirement and Membership (CalPERS)

Bruce Malkenhorst Sr., Vernon's Ex-Top Exec, Accepts Plea Deal (by Matt Coker, OC Weekly)

Pension Puffery: 12 Half-Truths That Deserve to be Debunked in 2012 (by Girard Miller, Governing)

CalPERS, CalSTRS and UCRS Databases (Fix Pensions First)

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