Retiring Sacramento Police Chief Albert Nájera’s salary boost of more than 19.8 percent since July will raise his pension by $1,000 a month, increasing his yearly draw to $173,250 when he retires at the end of the year, says the Sacramento Bee. State pension officials and other pension experts raised questions about such sudden pay increases so close to retirement. Nájera received an 8.6 percent merit increase in July, bringing his salary to $194,000. Then City Manager Ray Kerridge awarded him an additional 11.2 percent hike two months later for “exceptional performance,” increasing his annual pay to more than $216,000.
Mayor Heather Fargo said that while she keeps in regular contact with Kerridge, they do not discuss pay raise amounts. “I knew the chief was doing a good job and the city manager wanted to give an increase that seemed reasonable,” Fargo said. The city is in the midst of a sudden and unexpected financial downturn, and facing a deficit of between $45 million and $55 million in 2008-09. Nájera, 56, has spent 36 years on the force – four years as the top cop.