Over 8,000 LA County Retirees Made at Least $100k in Pension Pay as Taxpayer Cost Soars

Over 8,000 LA County Retirees Made at Least $100k in Pension Pay as Taxpayer Cost Soars

Last year, 8,088 retirees in the Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association (LACERA) received yearly pension and medical benefits packages worth at least $100,000, a more than 11% increase from the previous year, according to Transparent California’s recently published 2014 pension data.

At the same time, the employer’s annual required contribution – the cost borne by taxpayers – hit a record high 20 percent of payroll, more than double the 8.9 percent paid in 2001.

Topping the pension list was former Los Angeles County Sheriff, Leroy Baca, who is collecting a yearly pension and benefits package worth nearly $340,000.

The next three highest compensated members were:

  1. Larry Waldie, retired from the Sheriff’s Department in 2011, received $333,009.
  2. Thomas Tidemanson, retired from Public Works in 1994, received $332,200.
  3. Michael Judge, retired from the Public Defender’s Office in 2010, received $325,078.

The average pension and benefits package for a retiree of the Fire Department with at least 25 years of service was $128,729 and the average for a retiree of the Sheriff’s Department was $106,299. For all other members who had retired with at least 30 years of service, the average pension and benefits package was $74,568.

LACERA’s unfunded liability has more than doubled over the past 10 years – rising from $5.6 billion in 2004 to $13.3 billion in 2013, despite LACERA hitting their investment target over that same time period.

In response, Robert Fellner, Director of Transparency Research at the California Policy Center asked, “If the cost to taxpayers has doubled over a period when investment returns are strong, how much will taxpayers have to pay when the market declines?”

To view the complete 2014 pension report in a searchable and downloadable format, visit TransparentCalifornia.com.