In December of 2018, the California Supreme Court will hear arguments in what is generally referred to as the Cal Fire pension case. The ruling could potentially overturn what is commonly referred to as the “California Rule.” The current interpretation of the rule is that pension benefits, once increased, cannot be reduced for existing employees […]
About Ken Churchill
Ken Churchill has over 40 years of business and financial management experience as founder, CEO and CFO of a solar energy company and environmental consulting firm. In 2012 after discovering the county illegally increased pensions without the required public notification of the cost he founded New Sonoma, and organization of financial experts and citizens to investigate the increase. His claims were later verified by the County’s Civil Grand Jury following his complaint. Information on the lawsuit and New Sonoma can be found at www.newsonoma.org.
Entries by Ken Churchill
In August of last year retired attorney George Luke sued the Sonoma County Employees Retirement Association (SCERA) and the Board of Supervisors (BOS) because according to County records they did not follow the law when pensions were increased in 2002 and 2003. According to the law, before increasing pension benefits the supervisors are required to […]
In their most recent actuarial reports CalPERS for the first time provided pension cost estimates for the next 8 years, from 2015 to 2023. How high are these costs going for California’s cities who retroactively increased their pensions at CalPERS urging over the past 15 years? To answer that question I looked at the largest […]
On August 17, 2016 the First Appellate District Court ruled on the lawsuit brought by the Marin Association of Public Employees against the Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association (MCERA) and State of California. The case was brought after MCERA eliminated pay items considered pensionable following the States enactment of the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform […]
During the Stockton bankruptcy Judge Klein called CalPERS the “bully with a glass jaw.” Klein meant that CalPERS, as a servicing company, has no standing in the bankruptcy because the pension obligation is between the public agency and their employees and retirees.
On January 27th, 2015 Kern County declared a fiscal emergency citing lower tax revenues from oil producers and growing unfunded pension liabilities as the cause. A review of their pension costs and growth of their unfunded liabilities over the past decade indicates the word “growing” is an understatement. A more accurate term would be “soaring”. […]
Summary: Using officially reported figures from the most recent financial statements available, this report calculates the total unfunded employee retirement liabilities for the 20 California counties with their own independent retirement systems. This study is the first of its kind to compile for these counties not only reported pension fund assets and liabilities, but also retirement […]
INTRODUCTION New Sonoma, a volunteer organization of financial experts and citizens concerned about the finances and governance of the County has just completed an extensive study of the County’s pension crisis. In addition to describing how the County has incurred over a billion dollars in unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities, how the County […]
In 2002, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors agreed to essentially increase pension benefits by 50% back to the date people were hired. However, County records show that the deal cut between the employees and the Supervisors stated that General employees would pay for the entire cost of the increase and Safety employees would pay […]
We should all care deeply about pension costs and the 400% increase in the costs over the past decade in Sonoma County. Why? Because every dollar going to over generous, retroactively enhanced pensions is taxpayer money that is not creating jobs, helping our fellow citizens, educating our children, or maintaining our roads and parks. Most […]