Back in September I asked a simple question If Nelson can opt-out of pension in November, what will Moorlach do?Â In January, I asked if it was Time for Moorlach to put his pension where his mouth is? In February, I wrote that Moorlach is ALL TALK about pensions â€“ except for his. So imagine my surprise Tuesday when Supervisor John Moorlach talked about his personal options related to his retirement plan as the Board of Supervisors considered an effort championed by Supervisor Shawn Nelson to keep future county electeds out of the County plan. View the meeting videoÂ HERE (at the 2.02.00 time mark).
Moorlach indicated that one County bargaining unit did not take the 2.7 @ 55 plan upgrade back in 2004, workers represented by AFSCME, and that he “never wanted to go up to this new level (2.7 @ 55),” Moorlach complained.Â “I’m not excited about paying for the reverse pickup, which doesn’t give me much of a benefit. So I’m curious, in your research (for) current electeds, if we do have an option (to return to the previous benefit level of 1.67% @ 57.5) that would be something I would like to see explored.”
For the record, elected officials by law have the opportunity at the beginning of every term to opt in or opt out of the County retirement plan. Their option is similar to that of a newly hired employee. The Orange County Employee’s Retirement System has determined that upon inauguration the a newly or reelected official may choose to opt out of the CountyÂ retirement plan. That being the case, it is also probable that theÂ elected officialÂ would be able to choose to select the 1.62% at 62 hybrid plan, or the 2.7% @ 55 plan rather than opt out all together.
Until yesterday, Supervisor Moorlach had remained steadfast in his refusal to answer the question as to what he would do even though he knows all of this information. Based upon his remarks, and the fact that the time limit for him to make a change has expired, we can reasonably presume, that Supervisor Moorlach has chosen to remain a participant in the 2.7% @ 55 plan.
Supervisor Moorlach stated that the change to the 2.7% @55 plan did not give him much benefit. In his world of make believe there isn’t much benefit to getting an additional 20.6% of your final year salary (presuming he retires when his current term ends in 2014). Under the old plan Supervisor Moorlach would have received 33.4% of his salary for 30 years of service. Under the current plan he would receive 54%. I am amazed that such an accomplished CPA cannot recognize the significant difference between the two numbers.
One reason why he may not see a difference is that the reverse pick-up he mentioned is what everyone must contribute into the plan to cover the increased cost of the higher benefit. As an elected offficial, just like management employees, he contributes nothing to the plan costs other than the reverse pick-up.
The Voice of OC‘s Norberto Santana, Jr. has more on the story in his post Supervisors to Consider Killing Pensions for Future Supervisors.
So while Supervisor Moorlach would like us to believe he really doesn’t want to participate in the 2.7% @ 55 retirement plan, we don’t need to join him in his little world of make believe. All we have to believe is the simple truth that his primary motivation is personal greed.