Brown campaign disputes report he has an extra-fat pension

August 18, 2010

Evan Halper and Michael Mishak, LA TIMES

Much has been written in recent days about how big of a pension Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown would be able to collect should the 72-year-old ever retire. The Orange County Register appeared to have dug up a politically damning nugget last week when it reported that Brown was inexplicably getting extra years of service credit heaped upon the retirement package he is set to receive from his days as an officeholder in Sacramento, which are many. Brown, currently the attorney general, has previously served as governor and secretary of state, racking up a total of 16 years in statewide office.

But the Register reported he’s positioned to get credit for 25 years of service in Sacramento. It cited a document from the obscure Legislative Retirement System to which Brown and, according to the Register, only 12 other working state officials currently belong. Names are kept off the documents for confidentiality reasons. But the piece of paper the Register cited showed a member over age 65 with Brown’s exact salary of $184,301 having earned 25 years of credit. The only other statewide officeholder with that salary, the paper reported, is under age 65. The paper then noted that Brown may be positioned to collect a pension of more than $110,000 from his Sacramento days alone, plus whatever pension he accrued while mayor of Oakland.

On Monday, Brown’s campaign said such projections are wildly inaccurate. Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford said the person the Register “implied was Jerry Brown simply wasn’t. At the conclusion of Jerry Brown’s tenure as attorney general, he will have 16 years in the Legislative Retirement System.”

Brown, according to Clifford, will have an additional 9.2 years in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, accounting for his eight years as mayor of Oakland and 1.2 years as a law clerk for the California Supreme Court in the 1960s after he completed law school. If Brown were to retire from both systems at the end of his term as attorney general, he would receive a combined pension of $78,450 a year, Clifford said.

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