Supervisor Moorlach lives in his own little world of make believe

OC Supervisor John Moorlach - Photo: Chris Prevatt

Back in September I asked a simple question If Nelson can opt-out of pension in November, what will Moorlach do? 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 – 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 video 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. “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 County retirement plan. That being the case, it is also probable that the elected official 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.

Chicken Little John Moorlach

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.

  4 comments for “Supervisor Moorlach lives in his own little world of make believe

  1. djk
    March 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Moorlach, when the employees were bargaining for 2.7%, made the comment “…what they have is good enough for them.” He’s just as bad as a used car salesman.

  2. Miss Kitty
    March 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Hi Chris,
    Good article but in my opinion, I wouldn’t call wanting a fair pension greedy. But for John Moorlach to be disingenuous is so unprofessional from a person in his position. Mr. Moorlach should be honest and say pensions are a good thing for both employer and employee. The math shows there are cost savings/tax advantages.

  3. March 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Sorry it’s taken a while for me to comment on this, but despite very simple requests to Supervisor Moorlach’s office and to the County PIO, no one was able to provide an answer to a simple question: Is Supervisor Moorlach still enrolled in the county’s pension system. So much for claims of transparency in government

  4. Germany
    March 19, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Lets get the facts straight. OCERS is a separate agency within the County. Regular County employees make a large contribution to 100 percent fund their own pension. County makes a contribution as it has always over the last 60 years into OCERS. Once the employee retires he is on OCERs dime, the County is out of the picture. The unfunded liability is due to lower stock market returns but as another reader stated OCERS returns higher average returns then any retirement system in CA. This is temporary situation as the economy is now turning around and stocks are headed up. OCERS has to project into the future so the unfunded liablity would be if every County employee worked 30 years and collected a full pension, there may be a problem. Only 11 percent of County employees make it to 30 years but OCERS still has to fund as all of them make a 30 year career, that were the unfunded liability comes from, it’s not really there. I have this from a reliable source that if the County or current Employees not put one dime in OCERS it could pay out full benefits for current retirees and future retirees for the next 20 years without borrowing a penny. Also once you have a contract such as a pension the County cannot take it away. If they go to court on this they will lose and it will cost the taxpayer millions. Moorloch should be removed from office to even suggest that. New employees can chose the hybrid system if they want but it will never make a secure retirement. Pensions are not the problem, it is many factors and the low rate of tax money that OC gets from the state. Again this is a direct attack on the middle class in OC.

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