Long Beach has 360 former employees who received pensions of $100,000 or more in 2016, which ranks it sixth among the state’s 10 most populous cities, according to report by Transparent California released Wednesday.
The Transparent California project, which is part of the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s work, describes itself as a think tank promoting free markets and limited government. The group’s research director Robert Fellner said he doubts governments will be able to continue paying out pensions at current levels.
“We don’t advocate for any particular reforms, but we do think it’s a real problem, and it needs to be addressed,” he said.
The think tank also tracks the compensation of public employees working in its home state.
Long Beach city officials are projecting that their own pension obligations will rise significantly for the foreseeable future. Those costs are a factor that may result in City Hall going into the red during the fiscal year that begins in October 2019, according to the city’s current budget proposal.
Leaders of the unions representing Long Beach police officers and firefighters say retirees who worked in their fields deserve six-figure pensions, given the demands and pressures of law enforcement and firefighting work.
“The questions are what is the officer worth, and what can we afford? We’ll never be able to pay them what they’re worth,” said Jim Foster, vice president of the Long Beach Police Officers Association.
Pension and salary costs reflect what could be considered to be the “market rate” for police officers, he also said.
The ‘$100K Club’
Long Beach is…
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