The Gravy Train

Believe it or not, a couple groups of public employees sued to assert that the odious practice of pension spiking — inflating pensions in retirement over the salary received during career — is a legal right.

A judge just said no.

If you want to thank somebody, start with Contra Costa Superior Court Judge David Flinn, and — are you sitting down? — state Attorney general Kamala Harris. The latter is usually so pro-labor one suspects she got policy direction from Gov. Brown.

But the real hero is Contra Costa Times columnist Daniel Borenstein. His expose of egregious local abuses gave reform political momentum.

Borenstein wrote about a Moraga Orinda fire chief, Peter Nowicki, whose final salary was $185,000. But his pension was $241,000. Plus after he retired he became a “consultant” to the fire district, pulling down $176,000 in pay on top of his $241,000.

When Brown floated modest reforms a couple years ago, Borenstein pointed out they didn’t proibit spiking. So the legislation was strengthened.

Hats off to Borenstein.


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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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