On Sunday, January 3, 2016, the Sacramento Bee published a story with a headline and statements suggesting that lump sum cash-outs of accrued leave at retirement by certain Sacramento County retirees increased their retirement benefit by significant amounts. Eight of the individuals identified in the story were SCERS retirees.
The headline and statements in question were NOT correct: Terminal payments, such as a leave cash-out paid upon retirement, are not included in the compensation used to calculate the pension benefit. Unfortunately, however, the Bee did not confirm the accuracy of its information before publishing its story, and as a result, the article incorrectly and unfairly characterized the pension benefits of the SCERS retirees named in the article.
SCERS conveyed to the Bee its disappointment and frustration with the article and its mistakes. When presented with this information, the Bee acknowledged that the composition of the lump sum payments cited in the article did not support the headline and statements declaring that the benefits of the people named in the article had been inflated by those payments.
On Sunday, January 10, 2016, the Bee officially acknowledged the mistake, printing two corrections to the original article. Under the heading ‘Setting it Straight,’ the Bee admitted the original story “…incorrectly suggested those cashouts boosted their pensions by significant amounts.’ The Bee also modified and added the correction to the online version of the story on the Bee’s website.
SCERS strives to assure that accurate information regarding the retirement system and its participants is available to any and all interested parties. It is unfortunate that in this case, the Bee’s failure to confirm the accuracy of its information before publishing the original story meant that the correct information had to follow incorrect information.
The results for the 2015 Retirement Board Member Election have been made official. Incumbents Chris A. Pittman (Safety) and John Conneally (Alternate Safety) have retained their positions on the Board. Steven Baird was elected by Miscellaneous Members for his first term on the Board. Please click here
to see the election results from the Registrar of Voters.