Contra Costa’s independent pension board is hoping to shield its 40 employees from pay and benefit cuts, citing the need to recruit and retain talented individuals to run the system.

But during a time when cities, counties, special districts – really all forms of government operation – in California are looking to do more with less, is that argument valid?

One supervisor in the east bay county doesn’t think so. When the economy shrinks everyone’s wages, lowering the pension’s compensation packages wouldn’t affect its competitive position in the market.

From the Contra Costa Times:

Contra Costa’s pension system board on Wednesday expressed its desire to maintain the pay and benefits of its 40 union employees in the face of possible pay and benefit cuts for other county workers.

The recommendation to the county was inspired in part by a letter to the board from Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association CEO Marilyn Leedom that described the difficulty in finding employees qualified to administer a pension fund with more than $5 million in assets.

Two long-term employees are expected to retire this year, and a deputy CEO position is unfilled.

Recent changes to the system and growing retirements are requiring employees to work more efficiently to keep up with demand, Leedom said.

Read the full article here.