Pension Reform

Saturday, July 18, 2015 – 02:30 p.m.

Several months ago county administrators told the Board of Supervisors the county was over the hump on ever escalating pension cost increases.

Not a chance!

The county pension fund, San Bernardino County Employee’s Retirement Association (SBCERA), is about to deliver bad news, similar to what the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) just did.

That news was CalPERS didn’t meet its investment return objective to maintain expenses and benefit payments in 2014-15 fiscal year.

That hurdle, currently at 7.5%, is the annual threshold the fund must earn to stay above water. SBCERA has been battling to recover from heavy losses from the 2008 market collapse, when the fund lost more than a billion dollars. A battle that, as of yet, hasn’t resulted in much success.

It should also be noted that SBCERA also reduced it’s annual investment return assumption from an unrealistic 7.75% to a just as unrealistic 7.5% a few years ago. Ultimately the number will have to be reduced further, and soon.

Shortly, we’ll know just how much SBCERA missed its number by. Regardless of what the county has said previously, taxpayers will have to pony up millions more to continue shoring up the fund.