There is a great deal of misinformation being spread about the pay and benefits of fire fighters and police officers. One of them is that these public safety professionals can retire at the age of 50 and still make 90% of their salaries in retirement. This is blatantly false. Here’s the facts from the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS):
(CalPERS) records indicate that over the last seven years, safety workers who retired at age 50 with 30 years of service represented 1 percent of all those retired. The reason very few ever would receive this level pension is that they would have had to start working age 20 to earn 30 years. Most start their safety careers at age 27, 28, or 29.
Some in the City of San Bernardino are falsely claiming that the pensions of San Bernardino’s Fire Fighters and Police Officers are major reason for the City’s decision to declare bankruptcy. That is untrue. Here’s the facts from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).
Myth: Public pension benefits are excessive and a drain on the public.
The average CalPERS pension is about $25,000 per year. Half of CalPERS retirees receive $18,000 per year or less in benefits.
Rob Feckner, president of the CalPERS board of administration set the record straight in the Sacramento Bee about those falsely claiming bankruptcy was caused employee pensions.
This article originally was published in the Sacramento Bee on August 8, 2012 under the title “Media Is Wrongly Hyping Pensions A Cause of City Bankruptcies.”