This one looks bad.

Earlier this week, the Pomona City Council allowed a councilmember to resign her seat, only to be appointed back onto the Council two days later – all in effort to maximize the councilmember’s pension.

Councilwoman Cristina Carrizosa was eligible for pension when she retired on June 26 from her position with the Pomona Unified School District after 30 years. She was also eligible for pension when she retired from the city council.

According to David Allen of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Carrizosa’s pension would have been affected if she didn’t retire from both at the same time.   

She stepped down from the Council to spike her pension.

… and the Council gave her the seat right back.

A source with knowledge on the subject told PublicCEO that since Carrizosa is retiring from two different public pension plans, she can increase her salary from the city of Pomona on the same day. Her council salary is dropped and replaced by the higher salary from the school district.

Since the council gives her the seat back, she starts another possible retirement plan that will be treated as an entirely new plan.

From Allen’s report:

In theory, council members could have left her District 3 seat open, or appointed someone else, and let the matter be sorted out in November’s election, when Carrizosa’s term was up anyway.

But council members were willing to accommodate her request, prodded by collegial feelings, as well as by realism, given her stated intention to run in November.

“Can you imagine if we didn’t do this – and then she got elected in November?” one council member told me privately.

Adding to the details, the writer included:

As for her pension situation, here’s the relevant portion of the assistant city attorney’s written report: “Due to a unique requirement in the law, in order for her to receive her earned retirement benefits from the PUSD, she must also resign as a member of the Pomona City Council.

“However, the other unique part of this law is that she would maintain her full retirement benefit if, upon resignation from the City Council, she was then re-appointed or re-elected.”

The mere notion of pension manipulation is very sensitive, especially right now. A bit of transparency on the situation may have better served the council and the city.