Even though the Santa Ana fire department no longer exists, that doesn’t mean they are no longer making headlines. Some firefighters have made news for double dipping on their pension and their new jobs at the Orange County Fire Authority.
When working for the SAFD, fire fighters were part of the CalPERS system, earning benefits on a 3@50 formula. However, the Orange County Fire Agency operates as part of the Orange County PERS system, and therefore the rehired firefighters are not subject to the part-time restrictions that CalPERS places on retirees. That means that so far two firefighters have opted to take their pension from CalPERS and fulltime paychecks from the OCFA. Meanwhile, they are now accruing time towards vesting in a second pension system.
Because the two systems are separate and therefore there is no part-time requirement for retirees, the double-dip is legal. And similar situations have arisen in other cities. Specifically, Yorba Linda contracted with the sheriff’s department last month and they had some of their officers opt to retire and be rehired.
These are some examples that could continue to play into the dialogue over the need to reform public pensions. How it will play out in the public will be seen in the next several weeks.
From the Orange County Register:
So when Santa Ana dissolved its 128-year-old fire department and contracted with the Orange County Fire Authority, there was cake — and kudos over the good it will do for the city, saving some $10 million a year.
The switch will also benefit some firefighters as well.
At least two former Santa Ana firefighters have retired from their city jobs, and now work for OCFA, doing much the same thing.
Read the full article here.