$1.5 million payout tops LA pension list

Today, Transparent California released new, 2018 pension payout data from the three pension funds serving the city and county of Los Angeles.

The top earners were three members of the Los Angeles Police and Fire Pension Plan, who each received payouts of over $1 million:

  1. Former deputy police chief Michael Moore received $1,505,550 in pension pay and benefits.
  2. Former deputy fire chief Daren Palacios received $1,294,010 in pension pay and benefits.
  3. Former assistant fire chief Andrew Fox received $1,181,066 in pension pay and benefits.

All of these former employees received one-time DROP payments.

The deferred retirement option plan (DROP) allows an employee to draw a salary and pension simultaneously for up to 5 years, with each year’s pension being deposited into an interest-bearing account. Upon actual retirement, the accumulated balance either can be withdrawn as a lump-sum payment or rolled over into an annuity.

While the DROP program was initially sold as a “cost neutral” program, a report produced at the request of Mayor Eric Garcetti late last year indicated that was not the case, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The report estimated that the DROP program cost taxpayers between $158 and $674 million more for the 3,421 employees who have already retired under the program.

LA’s $100K club up to 11,450

In total, there were 11,450 payouts in excess of $100,000 between the three LA pension plans: LACERS (Los Angeles City), LACERA (Los Angeles County) and LAFPP (LA City Police and Fire).

Payouts of $100,000 or more represent a growing share of the total annual outlay of each of the three pension funds, with nearly half of the amount paid out by LAFPP last year going to those who received at least $100,000 in pension pay and benefits:

LA Pensions release 5.0

The three funds paid out over $5.675 billion in combined pension pay and benefits last year, a 31 percent increase from 2013.

Excluding the one-time DROP payouts, the largest pensions were issued by LACERS and LACERA.

In LACERS, former Los Angeles Chief Port Pilot Michael Rubino received a roughly $10,000 cost of living increase to boost his 2018 annualized pension to $383,604.

In the LACERA fund, the top earner was Harbor-UCLA Medical Center chief physician Charles Mehringer, who received $436,500 in 2018, an increase of more than $25,000 from his 2017 pension.

To explore the complete datasets in their entirety, please click here.

Transparent California will be continually updating the site with new, 2018 data from the remaining pension funds in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts, sign up for our mailing list, or subscribe to our blog in order to receive the latest updates.

For more information, please contact Robert Fellner at 559-462-0122 or Robert@TransparentCalifornia.com.

Transparent California is California’s largest and most comprehensive database of public sector compensation and is a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. The website is used by millions of Californians each year, including elected officials and lawmakers, government employees and their unions, government agencies, university researchers, the media, and concerned citizens alike. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.