Gilroy’s $100,000 pension club grows and festers

What government has created, on the public’s nickel, is a new
public employee retiree elite.
What government has created, on the public’s nickel, is a new public employee retiree elite.

It’s more than unfortunate, it’s a public trough tragedy that has serious consequences not only on the statewide level, but on the Santa Clara County level and right here in Gilroy.

The city’s rapidly rising pension obligations directly impact the services the city can offer to residents. Money that could be spent on maintaining and improving parks, keeping up with infrastructure needs, offering assistance to downtown merchants, fixing sidewalks, putting together recreation programs or hiring planning staff is headed instead to what can only be described as lavish retirement programs primarily for former public safety sector employees. In fact, it’s highly ironic that the city will be handcuffed in its ability to hire more police and firefighters as pension obligations spike skyward.

There are now 17 former city of Gilroy (remember, the city just reached the 50,000-resident level) employees who are and will be receiving more than $100,000 annually. For comparison purposes, Morgan Hill has three. For further food for thought, consider that the county has 289 employees on the $100k list.

Many of the city employees retired in their 50s. The math becomes mind boggling. A 25-year retirement at $120,000 annually is $3 million. It’s unsustainable, but unless the whole California Public Employees’ Retirement System fails – and it may – the legal obligations to pay, burdensome as they are, remain.

Former police captain Debbie Moore leads the Gilroy $100,000 club list with an annual pension of $145,161.60. Nine of the 17 are former police department employees.

Private sector employees whose retirement plans have been dealt a painful blow by the great recession have reason to feel resentment.

But what’s important is that the community collectively insist on change. Our firefighters and City Council have done well with the recent contract agreement. Firefighters will pay into their own retirement accounts, which will save the city money immediately, and a two-tier retirement system is now in place rolling back retirement for new hires to 2 percent at age 55 of the highest annual salary for each year they worked.

That’s what also should happen in negotiations currently being held between the city and the Gilroy police union. Change is imperative, and it has to start now.

See for additional information.

$100,000 Pension Club City of Gilroy

Name Monthly Annual Employer

AMARO, ARTURO $9,323.90 $111,886.80 GILROY

BAKSA, JAY $11,818.34 $141,820.08 GILROY

BENTSON, CLAY $9,442.89 $113,314.68 GILROY

BOZZO, DAVID $8,789.09 $105,469.08 GILROY

BROWN, LANNY $10,851.14 $130,213.68 GILROY

CONNELLY, ROBERT $9,169.57 $110,034.84 GILROY

CRUMRINE, DANIEL $8,640.11 $103,681.32 GILROY

DORN, MICHAEL $11,540.16 $138,481.92 GILROY

ELLEVAN, CHARLES $8,500.52 $102,006.24 GILROY

GIUSIANA, GREG $12,028.32 $144,339.84 GILROY

HORTA, GILBERT $10,424.03 $125,088.36 GILROY

MCHENRY, MORRIS $8,496.45 $101,957.40 GILROY

MOORE, DEBBIE $12,096.80 $145,161.60 GILROY

PELLIN, RHONDA $8,622.40 $103,468.80 GILROY

RAMIREZ, JOE $8,682.87 $104,194.44 GILROY

ROBINSON, JOHN $10,387.60 $124,651.20 GILROY

SHEEDY, JOHN $8,900.54 $106,806.48 GILROY

Total Amount for this Employer: $167,714.73 monthly; $2,012,576.76 annually

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