Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County


By EOM Staff

California is one of 21 states that allow public employees to buy “air time”.  This practice allows state, municipal and school employees to add up to five years to their work history so they are eligible to retire and collect a lifetime pension.  Workers already eligible for retirement can buy extra years to boost a pension by up to 25%.  They are actually buying credit for non-existent work time.

Dan Pellissier, an advisor to former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, paid $75,000 in 2004 for five years of work credit.  In return, when he turns 55 in 2015, he will get a California pension of $61,536 a year, $13,000 more than if he hadn’t bought air time.  That’s $325,000 extra by the time he turns 80, all at the expense of California taxpayers.  Interestingly, Mr. Pellissier is now the president of California Pension Reform.  He is quoted in USA Today, Wednesday, December 28th, as saying “they give away the store here”.  Nice of him to worry about it now that he’s guaranteed his give-away.

Governer Jerry Brown has recently proposed barring the practice of buying air time.  But already inCalifornia, 34,202 people have bought air time just since 2005.  I wonder how many millions of dollars extra we are paying to those 34,202 people.  It’s no wonder the state of Californiais broke.


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  1. Is this the same as spiking?

  2. No, this is the buying of “time worked” credits. If someone worked 15 years, they would be considered to have worked 20 years for calculation of retirement benefits. It could be used in addition to spiking.

  3. That’s corruption ! how can they get by with that? the citizens need to demand action against this now.

    Post this on the Cornerstone.

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