With its dramatic vote to make unparalleled cuts to police and fire services, the Sacramento City Council stepped up pressure on public safety unions to agree to pension givebacks and other long-term salary concessions, reports the city’s Bee. The message: Sacramento can no longer afford a benefits package that’s richer than what most private sector and even many public sector employees receive. The city’s police officers and firefighters contribute nothing to their CalPERS retirement accounts.
Most other city workers chip in 4 percent of their salaries to their PERS accounts. If public safety workers did the same, it would save the city more than $4.1 million a year, according to budget documents. Police officers who retire at age 50 receive 3 percent of their salaries in retirement benefits for every year of service. In other words, a cop who retires at 50 after working 25 years gets 75 percent of his salary in retirement. Firefighters can retire at 55 with 3 percent of salary for each year worked. Public employee pensions have come under scrutiny nationwide during the recession.