November 2nd, 2011, 9:38 pm
Posted by Teri Sforza, Register staff writer

With the public pension wars heading to a ballot box near you, it is worth noting that the number of California retirees earning more than $100,000 a year has skyrocketed 99 percent – in just two years.

With the public pension wars heading to a ballot box near you, it is worth noting that the number of  California retirees earning more than $100,000 a year has skyrocketed 99 percent – in just twoyears.

  • Back in 2009, California Pension Reform wrested a database of $100K pensioners  from the California Public Employees Retirement System. There were 6,133 people on the list at the time.
  • A 2010 update showed the number had grown to 9,111 (a 49 percent increase).
  • And an update this week shows that there are now 12,199 retirees in the $100K club (a 34 percent increase over 2010 — and a 99 percent increase over 2009).

If that doesn’t furrow your brow, perhaps this will:

There were only 1,841 retirees in the CalPERS 100K club in 2005, California Pension Reform’s Marcia Fritz told CBS Sacramento.

That means it has climbed by 10, 358 people —  a 563 percent increase — in the short span between 2005 and 2011.

One can thank the generous pension formulas granted by state and local politicians in the early 2000s for the spike in $100K clubbers. The 3-percent-at-50 public safety and 2.7-percent-at-55 general employee crowds are retiring now, and will continue to do so for the next 20 years or so. One can expect the $100K pension club to keep growing at exponential rates for some time.

The Top 10 pensioners have some old familiar names, and some new ones.

NO. 1

No. 1 remains Bruce Malkenhorst, a Huntington Beach resident. For three decades Malkenhorst was Vernon’s city manager, finance director, redevelopment director, city clerk, city treasurer and head of the municipal light and power operation –- all at the same time.

Malkenhorst’s pension rose from$509,665 last year to $530,268 this year.

And all this, despite the fact that he’s a felon.

Malkenhorst pleaded guilty in May to misappropriating $60,000 in public funds, using the money for political contributions and personal expenses like golf games, massages, a personal trainer and a home security system. (In exchange for his plea, a second felony misappropriation charge was dropped.)

NEW GUYS

Nos. 7, 8 and 9 are all new, and not without controversy.

No. 7 is former Indio City Manager Glenn Southard, whose uber-generous employment contract was considered by some as a Baby Bell. Southard is pulling down  $271,157 a year.

No. 8 is former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams – who tried to finagle a disability pension and wants nearly-bankrupt Bell to pay his legal bills over a civil lawsuit and corruption investigations – and who is pulling down $265,437.

And No. 9 is George Newell, an executive for Santa Clara County, who is bringing home $260,506.

See the full Top 10 list below. If your city is a member of CalPERS — and most are — you can see a full list of who is in the $100K club for your city in the California Pension Reform database here..

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