August 26th, 2010, 7:03 pm · posted by BRIAN JOSEPH, Sacramento Correspondent

Updated with additional calculations by the Watchdog

In response to reporting by the Watchdog, Jerry Brown’s campaign released this afternoon an official state document showing that he’ll earn an annual pension of $79,536 if he retires at the end of his term as attorney general early next year.

The document, provided by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, doesn’t tell the entire story, however.

The one-page sheet, generated at Brown’s request, states that at the end of his term the Democrat for governor will have accrued 16 years of service in the little-known Legislators’ Retirement System for his four years of service as Secretary of State, eight as governor and four as attorney general. The document says he also has accrued 9.265 years of service in CalPERS, the system open to most state employees, for his eight years as mayor of Oakland and one year of clerking at the state supreme court.

The document says that with 16 years in LRS Brown will be eligible for 40 percent of his highest attorney general’s salary, which was $184,300 annually or $15,358 monthly. Forty percent of $15,358 equals a monthly allowance of $6,143.20 from LRS.

The document, however, goes on to say that Brown will only pocket a monthly allowance of $3,610 from LRS (as well as a $3,018 allowance from CalPERS). Why the difference in LRS allowance?

Campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford told the Watchdog that the Brown’s monthly allowance is lower because the attorney general has opted to put a portion of his monthly allowance into a survivor’s benefit for his wife, former Gap executive Anne Gust, who is 20 years younger than Brown. Clifford said Brown made the election to segregate a portion of his pension benefits to his wife around the time they got married in 2005. That money will only be made available to his wife upon Brown’s death.

So, in other words, the $79,536 pension total outlined in the document provided does not include all of the benefits Brown and his family will receive from the state.

That leaves a few loose ends. We’ll continue looking into the matter.


The Watchdog has taken a closer look at the document provided by Brown’s camp (which you can see here, courtesy of The Sacramento Bee) and has a few additional observations.

The document states: “With 16.000 years of service in LRS, you are entitled to receive an unmodified allowance equal to 40% of your highest salary while in office [emphasis added].” Unmodified allowance refers to the amount of money Brown would be eligible for prior to his election to put money into a survivor benefit for his wife.

The document goes on to say that “your final (monthly) compensation will be $15,225 . This is based on your highest 12 consecutive months of salary of $15,358.41, less $133.33 modification for social security coverage.”

40% of $15,225 = $6,090

Now let’s take that over 12 months:

12 x $6,090 = $73,080

That’s Brown’s unmodified allowance under LRS. But remember, he’s also eligible for at least $3,018 a month in CalPERS benefits. That taken over 12 months is $36,216 annually.

$36,216 + $73,080 = $109,296

That figure is actually higher than the $100,255.93 the Watchdog estimated when Brown first released his years of service credit.

To read entire story, click here.