Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Twin Rivers teachers union President John Ennis stands outside of the Johnson Community Center in Sacramento, Calif., June 05, 2012.

Twin Rivers employees call for an end to administrators' pension perks

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 - 10:27 am

Twin Rivers Unified School District employees and union officials called on the school board to end pension perks to top administrators at a meeting Tuesday night.

The district has paid the employee pension portion of its top brass since it formed in 2008 in a merger of four northern Sacramento-area districts. Since then, Twin Rivers has extended the unusual perk to 13 past and present administrators. Typically, public school administrators and their district employers each contribute 8 percent of employees' salary toward their pensions, according to state officials.

The pension perk was made public in an article published Sunday in The Sacramento Bee.

"I give 8 percent of my monthly gross earnings each month to STRS retirement," John Ennis, president of the Twin Rivers United Educators told the board. "I have done this for 25 years. It is fair that I pay 8 percent and the district matches the contribution. The bonus perk or donation for the top administrators in the district needs to end."

Taking action on the pension benefit was not on the meeting agenda, so Twin Rivers board members could not comment.

Joe Guerro, a member of the district advisory committee, called on the board to keep the district out of the newspapers. "Money has been paid out that the public doesn't know about," Guerro said.

Three administrators are receiving the benefit, which cost the district $51,000 last year.

As part of an effort to curb what they considered pension abuses, Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers last year required public employees hired in 2013 and beyond to contribute at least half of their annual pension costs.

For employees hired before 2013, a district can still pick up the employee contribution as long as the district does not count the benefit as salary, according to officials at the California State Teachers' Retirement System.

Call The Bee's Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert. Read her Report Card blog at http://blogs.sacbee.com/report-card/.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Diana Lambert



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