Not all pensions are most profitable to retirees when paid as an annuity. In the case of the Salinas Public Hospital District’s CEO, his supplemental pension plan will give him two lump sum payments worth nearly $4 million.

Sam Downing, the CEO of the district since 1985 and over that period, he led the district through prolific growth and acheviement.

The supplemental pension program was designed as a way to reward him for the district’s achievement without increasing his base salary or giving him bonuses.

PublicCEO has covered the issue of hospital pay before, specifically running a story about the state’s top paid official, Michael Covert, and the response from his hopsital district explaining the rationale behind his salary.

While cases can and are made justifying the pay, the story of Sam Downing highlights another piece of the pension puzzle that continues to reappear in all levels of California Government.

From the Los Angeles Times:

When he turned 65 two years ago, Samuel Downing received a $3-million retirement payment from a public hospital district in Salinas, Calif., where he serves as president and chief executive.

But Downing continued working at his $668,000-a-year job for another two years, and after he retires this week, he will receive another payment of nearly $900,000. That comes on top of his regular pension of $150,000 a year.

The payments amount to one of the more generous pension packages granted to a public official in California and come amid growing debate about “supplemental” pensions that some officials receive on top of their basic retirement benefits.

Read the full article here.