Public pension info. is available to the media

Media looking into pensions

The media is looking into public pensions

In a post on August 30 titled “Pension Wars Continue” I attempted to describe the issues that seem to surround public sector pensions these days. One of those issues is a quest by the media and others to gain access to the payroll information of the retirement systems in California’s 58 counties.

I noted that the Orange County Register has published stories that it has requested retiree payroll information from the Orange County Employees Retirement System, known as OCERS. This system handles the retirement programs for most County of Orange Employees, plus a few other government agencies such as some employees of Anaheim, San Juan Capistrano, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), the University of California Medical Center (UCIMC), the Sanitation District, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and a few others.

In that August 30 post I reported that the OCERS Board of Directors had decided that the answer to the Register’s request was no. That same day the OCERS letter of response was sent to the Register. A copy is now posted on the OCERS website;

The content of that letter leads me to a different perspective than I had when I wrote the August 30 post on this blog.

The way I read the letter OCERS has told the Register it can have payout information without the name of the retiree receiving the payment. This would seem to mean that a list that would show Retiree A is getting Y dollars a year, Retiree B is getting X dollars a year and so on would be available. That way the public could see how much is being drawn annually or monthly by each retiree, but the names of the individual retiree would not be shown.

If the goal is to inform the public about the extent of public pension payouts, then it would seem that this OCERS offer would suffice. If however the goal is to both inform the public and let the friends and neighbors of retirees know exactly how much they receive then the OCERS response is not good enough. Guess the ball is in the Register’s Court.

About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.