California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has agreed to boost the pension benefits of thousands of state prison supervisors after he had criticized rich pensions for state workers, says the San Francisco Chronicle. The Schwarzenegger administration finalized a deal to award 5,200 corrections managers the same pension increase that the state prison guards union got from former Gov. Gray Davis. The increase will cost taxpayers $5.7 million annually.
Last year, Schwarzenegger attacked retirement benefits for state employees, arguing that taxpayers foot the bill for what he called “a gold-plated pension system.” Now he has given prison managers a pension deal that would enable a longtime corrections employee to retire at age 50 at nearly full salary. A taxpayer advocate who worked with Schwarzenegger on a pension reform proposal reacted angrily. “It’s precisely the wrong direction to take,” said Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “I’m befuddled by this because this was a governor who had recognized that pension costs are unsustainable for taxpayers.” A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman said the administration had changed its mind because the Corrections Department was struggling to fill management positions.