Milpitas Pensions: What Retirees Are Receiving

CalPERS pension list shows what former city and school employees are collecting.


More than 600 retired school and city employees in Milpitas are collecting pensions, many of them receiving more than $100,000 a year.

The retirement compensation is part of a list posted by the San Jose Mercury News and other newspapers.

The CalPERS list was unveiled as the state Legislature last week approved a pension reform bill that is now on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.

Among other reforms, the legislation raises the retirement age for most new employees from 55 to 67 to receive full benefits. It also eliminates so-called "double dipping" and caps the pensions of highly paid retired workers.

In the , there are 328 retirees listed who are receiving CalPERS pensions.

At the top is retired Milpitas High School principal Charles Gary, who was earning $12,084.17 a month when he retired after working just more than 40 years in the district. Gary collects about $10,650 a month in pension, or more than $127,000 a year.

Next is Betty Pow, director of assessment and curriculum, who was earning $11,321.70 a month when she retired after working more than 37 years in the district. Pow collects about $10,297 a month in pension, or more than $123,000 a year.

There are four retirees listed who collect more than $10,000 a month, or more than $120,000 a year.

At the bottom of the list, there are three retirees listed who receive less than $100 a month.

Some employees are collecting CalPERS pension from more than one agency. Teachers also don't receive Social Security benefits.

The has 279 retirees on the list.

The retiree collecting the most is Charles R. Lawson, former city manager. He was paid $17,756.13 a month when he retired after working more than 32 years for the city. He now collects about $20,034 a month in pension, or about $240,408 annually.

Right behind is David D. Rossetto, former police commander, who earned $15,009.03 a month when he retired after working more than 30 years for the city. He now collects about $18,105 a month in pension payments, or about $217,260 annually.

There are also 27 retirees listed who are collecting at least $10,000 a month, or $120,000 a year.

On the flip side, there are 42 retirees listed who receive less than $1,000 a month.

-- Patch Staff


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framkybobby September 11, 2012 at 01:51 PM
good for the -i'm glad they are enjoying their retirement
Rajeev Madnawat September 11, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Thanks to the nexus of politicians and unions, we have the most generous pension system in the world. Nowhere in the world and employee receives more in pension than the salary during working years. Look at Lawson, he is receiving more per month in pension than his salary when he was employed. Pension loophole, final paycheck spiking using vacation day payout, unlimited sick leave accrual and payouts..... enjoy them while you can because the well is drying fast. California pension system is in about $300 Billion Dollar deficit (comes out to be about 20-25K per household debt). Unions are enjoying while we suffer due to bad economy. When times were good, we gave them more and more. When times are bad, they wouldn't give any concessions. They know there is no money left but they are upset why taxes are not being increased on middle class to make up the deficit) . It is ok with them if the city goes bankrupt (like some cities who filed for bankruptcy recently, under the heavy burden of pensions) as long as they are not asked to give back. Gov. Brown's bill doesn't fix anything for the present employees. It is time to fix this unsustainable system.
Rohit Sharma September 11, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Measure E was passed to help pay for this pension. More than $5500 over the course of 25 years will be drawn from house hold taxes and paid to MUSD riches. It is high time, MUSD board must wake up and fix district financials.
Zoran trconic September 11, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Educated hardworking dedicated employees must be punished!!!!!!
Zoran trconic September 11, 2012 at 02:54 PM
We must hunt down these evil greedy civil servants and crucify them, how dare they somehow end up with pensions instead of nothing like the rest of the citizens in private enterprise land. How dare they thumb their noses at "the American dream" of getting rich only to lose it all in the end to wall street and big banks.
Allen King September 11, 2012 at 03:41 PM
You seem one of them. Nobody is talking about crucifying anybody. But where is the money to pay for retirement at 50 with 100% salary? Where is the money for unlimited sick day accruals and windfall payouts? etc. Would you rather have them lose everything if city files bankruptcy? or would it make more sense to reduce these insane benefits to sustainable levels so that bankruptcy can be avoided? How long do you think this gravy train would last? The money well is bone dry. What language do you understand? Educated and hardworking? so are you saying people in private sector are not educated and hardworking? we work 12 hours a day without overtime, pension benefits, unlimited accruals and job security. We pay 15% of our income to social security (as compared to 6% that public employees pay to their retirement system). What we get out, if social security survives, 2K/month at the age of 69. What public employees get, full salary at 50 to 55 years of age with full benefits. You do the math who is ripping off whom. We are sick of paying taxes on top of taxes so that greedy unions can maintain these unsustainable benefits.
Steve Bunnell September 11, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I'm one of the retired City workers. I worked for Milpitas for 22.5 years. When I reviewed the list by typing in Milpitas I found one listing that really got to me. Check out our former mayor Bob Livengood. It lists his final salary at $8,016.83. He was credited with 31.29 years of service. Why did this happen? He worked for the San Mateo Sheriffs Dept for a couple of years just before his last stint as mayor of Milpitas. Calpers based his final compensation on his years as a Milpitas City Council member and Mayor. Working for the Sheriffs dept spiked his pension. Is that fair? Talk about a politician working the system. I spent over 22 years working in the Public Works Dept and this guy plays politician and gets over double my pension for the rest of his life.
Rajeev Madnawat September 11, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I completely agree. These are the type of abuses that are bringing down the whole system. People who designed these loopholes are the biggest beneficiaries. This system of calculating pension based on the final paycheck is a complete ripoff and should be stopped immediately and tenure as an elected official (that pays 800/month) should not be counted toward total years served. The system needs to be fixed from the top. Management payouts are outrageous.
trish dixon September 11, 2012 at 06:55 PM
all interesting comments. I had a front row seat how the excesses in blood money to the unions began, from 1980 to present. The brotherhood of Chief Lawson and Livengood was bonded forever in 1996 when Livengood convinced the Council to appoint him City Mgr. after Livengood's grand plan to make the Unions forgive him for hiring now deceased City Mgr. Larry Moore. There was never in Milpitas history "that we know of" a more productive team that provided cover for Livengood's master pension plan.
William Cadwallader September 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Robbing from the future, what a fine mess baby boomers are leaving in their wake. Many of these retires that are making $10,000 - $18,000 a month are probably renting extra homes they own to younger people who make a fraction of that money working full-time.
Phong Nguyen September 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM
I agree with the comments posted here. It's time to look deep into current pension practice and make the whole thing sustainable, once and for all. For Zoran, I think you have a twisted view of the private sector versus public workers. We in private sector do not lust after your pension payout. For me, I think it's illogical to create a system that would not be able to stand on its own over time. But more importantly, if we are going to have pension reform, I would venture to go all the way and look at the elephant in the room: customer satisfaction. In private sector, most if not all employees are measured on how they can satisfy their constituents either directly from their interaction or indirectly through the product or services they deliver. Who do the public employees answer to? I would challenge anyone to conduct a city-wide survey on how the citizens feel about city services and see for yourself.
martha browne lamdin September 13, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Seems a little excessive considering the schools can't afford in class books and my daughter has to lug 5 textbooks around, considering all the budget cuts, considering things are tough all over. Must be nice to be a retired City employee making more for being retired than I do for working my ass off for 3 months..
Robert Jung September 13, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Clearly the pensions are out of hand and unsustainable. So, can someone come up with a "fair & equitable" plan?
Rajeev Madnawat September 14, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Let's first see, without doing anything, we are facing layoffs, which is not a good idea, outsourcing of police and firefighters, also not a good idea, approximately $1300/parcel parcel tax per year... (at a time when people are struggling to make ends meet)... not a good idea. People may whine about it all day and blame everybody else, sling mud on whoever dares to talk about this, but the reality is that there is no way out without salary and pension cuts to levels that can be supported by the current revenue stream. A formula to calculate salaries and pensions yearly based on city revenues is the only long term sustainable solution. Economy will turn around, may be in a year, may be in 3 years, may be in five... nobody knows for sure. When that happens and say revenue goes up 10%, by all means give hefty pay raises that year. This is a fair and equatable solution. We are all in together in this. It is not fair that people of Milpitas suffer during bad years so that public employee can stay unaffected.
Rajeev Madnawat September 14, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Another option is to raise sales tax. But this increase in sales tax would need to be very high to bring additional 10-15mil per year just to stay even with the current deficit (remember we also have a huge pension liability deficit to consider). If the sales tax is increased substantially, Great Mall will be a ghost town, car dealership will leave, companies will leave and small businesses will be ruined. Milpitas will turn into a ghost town and after businesses leave, there will be no sales tax revenue. Hence, after ruining the city, we will be back to square one.
trish dixon September 16, 2012 at 07:43 AM
With the election in several weeks, look to whom the Milpitas Police will endorse, give money, and send out hit pieces...............Police Officer Emmanuele has called the candidates that requested their endorsement. And the lucky winners are Democratic political consultant and Union supporter Mark Tiernan and Debbie Crespo Giordano who has been very generous over the past 8 years. Their pensions and benefits are on the line so don't be surprised if there are some nasty hits against the remaining field of candidates. People should read some of Dan Manassau's blogs on pensions, they are pretty much on target only lacking on the inside discussions that were held behind closed doors.
Steve Bunnell September 17, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Thanks Trish, I really appreciate your input.
Allen King September 17, 2012 at 05:00 AM
Union pet Tiernan was expected to receive police union endorsement. Debbie put up a good dog and ponny show (just like she does before every election) that she was for pension reform. Turned out just like before it was just an attempt to fool people of Milpitas. She had a secret deal with unions in place. Debbie is in the council for her own benefit. She own several properties including land on hills. She tried to rezone her properties, failed. Her next attempt would be to open up hillside development so she can reap nice profits. Unions will be up for same old dirty tricks. They will be pumping money to spread lies about other candidates. Union thuggery must stop now. They have been ripping us off through their dirty tactics for a long time. While we struggle, they get six figures pensions and insane perks (unlimited sick day accruals and payouts for example). Say hello to more taxes or bankruptcy if these union pets win. It is time for people to show some interest in what is going on so that these crooks don't fool us again.


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