.

Updated: Generous Pensions for Los Gatos Public Employees

A look at the Bay Area News Group public employee salaries database for pensions reveals local school districts and Town of Los Gatos are forking out thousands of dollars in pension benefits.

Working for Los Gatos public agencies pays off, if you look at data gathered by the Bay Area News Group.

For example, in the Town of Los Gatos, retired public safety employees such as the former Los Gatos-Sereno Police Chief Larry J. Todd and police captains Giordano F. Duino and Theron A. McCarty in 2011 had gross pension amounts of $142,000, $131,000 and $130,000, respectively.

Each has more than 30 years of service for the Town and their pension formulas, as prescribed by the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, is 3 percent of their income at age 50. 

Similarly, retired employees at the , who participate in the California State Teachers Retirement System, are also well compensated for their hard work.

Those with the highest 2011 gross pension amounts in the LGUSD are Suzanne Boxer-Gassman, Charlotte Basinger and Rafael Strudley, each netting $136,600, $124,000 and $118,000, respectively.

Up in the Los Gatos Mountains, the one-school 's Beverlee Seale, Becky Hart and Leroy Dean had 2011 gross pension amounts of $86,00, $55,500 and $42,000, respectively. All three officials have more than 30 years of service with the district.

Last year's gross pension amounts for neighboring retired officials Donald Fox, Sharon Dahnert and Carole Carpenter were $79,700, $74,000 and $71,000, respectively.

The pension amounts have been rounded up or down above, but their exact numbers are included in the table below, all extracted from the BANG public employee salary database.

Calls and emails to human resources officials with the Town of Los Gatos, and the local school districts weren't immediately answered, but we'll update this story as explanations are provided about their retirement systems.

Pension programs for public employees have come under fire recently due to large municipalities like San Jose approving this past primary election reform programs that have irked unions.

The syndicates have reacted by threatening lawsuits.

On Aug. 31, state legislators approved AB340, which will limit public employee pensions in the future, saving billions in retirement spending.

Rumi Portillo, director of human resources for the Town of Los Gatos, said pension reform is coming to all local cities and counties due to passage of the state measure. "We're all going to be subject to it, anyway," Portillo said.

Los Gatos has already taken steps toward pension reform, she explained, passing a second tier of retirement which will apply to new employees who begin working for the town after Sept. 15.

However, due to the new legislation effective Jan. 1, the reforms will affect everyone, she said. Los Gatos' plan is 2.5 percent of their income at age 55 for non-sworn employees and 3 percent of their income at age 50 for sworn employees.

Under the town's new reform program, new non-sworn employees will earn 2 percent of their income at 60, Portillo said.

To see the complete list of salaries for all Los Gatos public agency employees, please click here. The data was compiled by Bay Area News Group.

Retirement System Agency Name 2011 Gross Pension Years of Service Final Monthly Salary Initial Monthly Pension California State Teachers Retirement System Loma Prieta Join Union Elementary Donald Fox $79,792.40 29.22 $11,302.37 $6,605.33 California State Teachers Retirement System Loma Prieta Join Union Elementary Sharon Dahnert $73,714.44 36.64 $6,996.34 $6,102.19 California State Teachers Retirement System Loma Prieta Join Union Elementary Carole Carpenter $71,380.08 35.97 $5,924.18 $5,098.59 California State Teachers Retirement System Los Gatos Union School District Suzanne Boxer-Gassman $136,619.48 29.31 $16,786.25 $10,893.44 California State Teachers Retirement System Los Gatos Union School District Charlotte Basinger $124,372.76 39.13 $9,370.09 $9,199.19
California State Teachers Retirement System Los Gatos Union School District Rafael Strudley $118,121.44 38.35 $11,619.06 $9,413.70 California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS)
Los Gatos-Saratoga Department of Community Education And Recreation Robert E. Best $63,355.96 24.6 $9,697.92 $5,171.96 California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) Los Gatos-Saratoga Department of Community Education And Recreation Rebecca L. Yates
$36,961.36 27.37 $4,928.89 $2,857.66 California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) Los Gatos-Saratoga Department of Community Education And Recreation Dennis Mueting $31,621.40 20.87 $3,287.52 $1,841.19 California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) Town of Los Gatos Larry J. Todd
$142,188.80 31.06 $11,420.78 $12,963.77 California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) Town of Los Gatos Duino F. Giordano
$131,214.44 32.28 $11,059.46 $12,425.44
California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) Town of Los Gatos Theron A. Mc Carty
$129,753.24 30.97 $12,216.64 $13,407.30 California State Teachers Retirement System Lakeside Joint Union School District Beverlee Seale $86,281.96 39.93 $6,578.33 $7,013.63 California State Teachers Retirement System Lakeside Joint Union School District Becky Hart $55,558.04 30.13 $5,857.50 $4,601.60 California State Teachers Retirement System Lakeside Joint Union School District Leroy Dean $41,830.20 33.18 $5,005.92 $2,796.17
AR September 07, 2012 at 09:08 PM
of course we should "follow suit". reform is inevitable in every facet of the public sector (it arrived in the private sector decades ago). doing so proactively allows the process to be achieved in the most equitable manner possible, in fairness to present and future public employees. delaying the inevitable will mean possibly leaving pension reform to the ballot box...and it should be obvious that voters are eager to punish public sector workers who have been skating through the recession while they go nowhere.
Mckenna Smith September 07, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Make them pay more for their retirement plans and give out less pension payments. LG has done the right thing by raising the retirement age for new nonsworn employees, but what about sworn? Its always tough with the police union.
MichaelJ September 07, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Reason LGMS police weren't affected is because traditionally cop unions are quite strong and organized. They probably resisted any retroactive changes, but the sate law will curtail their obsecene payouts.
Jeffrey Bachman September 07, 2012 at 10:20 PM
How about creating a 401(k)-style retirement plan for new LG workers?
AR September 07, 2012 at 10:27 PM
eventually i suspect that public pensions will resemble 401k's with 1-1 employer (govt) matching. i don't see defined benefits (guaranteed payout per year, regardless of economic conditions) surviving anywhere in the economy. at a 1-1 matching, a public employee's 401k would still be far better than what 99% of private employees can obtain. some employers still offer 1-1 matching, but the number is dwindling
Larry Arzie September 08, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Sheila, to be fair your looking at top eschlon people here and many retired years ago. With their expertise and expierence they chose to stay in public jobs. In those days public service was paying less for comparable jobs in the private sector so their pensions evened things out in the long run. In some cases the same jobs today are paying 50 to 100 percent more. It's not their fault so lets not begrudge them. The mistake we made was not correcting both sky rocking salaries and escalating pension plans. So yes, better than latter in correcting our error.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) September 08, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Hi Larry, the article is not meant to pass judgement on these pension amounts. It's just meant to give the information to our readers. We decided to pick the top three highest paid for each of the agencies listed in the chart. We're using the BANG database to obtain the information. Looks like, at least, the Town of Los Gatos, is already on its way to reforming its pension program and more changes are coming due to the state law that was recently passed.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »