Torrance is ranked eighth in the state for the number of retired employees — 222 — drawing CalPERS pensions of more than $100,000 a year, according to data released Wednesday by nonprofit government watchdog Transparent California.
That’s more than any other South Bay city and second in Southern California only to Long Beach, which has 360 members of the $100K-a-year club in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Los Angeles, which like many other large cities has a separate pension plan from CalPERS, has 1,938 former workers making over $100,000 a year in retirement.
The number of former Torrance municipal workers pulling in more than $100,000 annually in retirement jumped 41 percent in just the last four years, said Robert Fellner, who compiled the data. That’s because workers benefited from lucrative changes to the pension plan about the turn of the century, he said.
“That whole class of workers has now started retiring and that’s why the (retirement) checks are so much bigger than if you compare them to the previous generation” of government workers, Fellner said.
90% of salary
Public employees can retire after 30 years with a generous 90 percent of their highest salary, whereas previously it was no more than about 60 to 70 percent, he said.
“For every 100 Torrance police officers, their retirement costs are equal to the salaries of 57 police officers, which is pretty astronomical,” Fellner said.
A state pension reform bill that lowers costs — but only applies to new hires, not existing employees — was passed in 2013 and adopted by many cities, including Torrance. But that will not…
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