By PE Politics
May 24, 2011 5:46 PM

A group of Inland government employees and retirees gathered in Riverside this morning to counter what they said were unfair attacks on public workers and their retirements.

Gathered on the steps of the County Administrative Center in Riverside, the group said most public retirees receive modest pensions and do not receive lavish six-figure retirements.

“We would like to dispell some of the myths about public employee pensions,” said Alen Ritchie, a retired Redlands teacher and current member of the San Bernardino County Board of Education.

“Teachers do not go into the profession for money, but we do deserve a livable retirement,” said Ritchie, 71.

Publc employee pensions have become a hot topic at the state and local level. Legislative Republicans are pushing pension changes as a way to help solve the state’s ongoing fiscal woes. And in Riverside County, supervisors are working to create a second tier of benefits for newly hired employees and are asking current workers to pay more toward their own retirement.

Today’s event — attended by a single reporter — was sponsored by Californians for Retirement Security and the group’s “Pension Truth Squad.” The organization is a coalition of 1.5 million public employees and retirees.

Tyler Stanford, 36, a Riverside firefighter, said employees are willing to go along with reasonable pension reform, noting that his firefighters union agreed to a second tier for new employees.

But he said the abuses used to push lower benefits are not widespread. So-called pension spiking is done by those in management with high salaries and not rank-and-file workers, he said.

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