Pension Spiking….Downey Style!

Sheriff Mike Downey may be joining the long list of local government employees who have bolstered their Downeyretirements through the use of “Pension Spiking”.  Some folks may not understand what this strategy for bilking taxpayers is all about, so here’s the definition from Wikipedia:

Pension spiking, sometimes referred to as “salary spiking”, is the process whereby employees inflate their compensation in the years immediately preceding retirement in order to receive larger pensions than they otherwise would be entitled to receive. This inflates the pension payments to the retirees.

The above definition is EXACTLY what Sheriff Downey is poised to do, with the approval of the conservative BOS today.  Thanks to the Lost Coast Outpost for the heads up.

Because of the consolidation with the Coroner’s Office, a “cost cutting measure”, the Sheriff and County Staff believe that now is the time for a 10% raise.  Downey’s base pay would be raised to about $164,000, making him the highest paid elected official employed by the county.  This raise is coming on the heels of a tax increase recently approved by the voters in Humboldt County.  This raise would also come with the knowledge that Sheriff Downey will be retiring soon.

Of course, the conservatives on the BOS wouldn’t support a pay increase like this, would they?  Time will tell, but if they do approve the raise it would show how blatantly hypocritical some of the Supervisors are.  For instance, when discussing a pay increase for assistant county counsel Carolyn Ruth, Rex Bohn said,
“I’m gonna have a heck of a time supporting this because the long-term pension costs that are going to be ongoing.”

At that meeting, Mark Lovelace said he was “baffled” that the other Supervisors were taking issue with the request for a pay increase for Carolyn Ruth, given that she was “working out of class”.   Lovelace said,
“This is a policy issue. This should be negotiated as policy and that is then applied broadly, evenly to every single employee within the county,” he said. “… At this point, it is singling out an employee in a way that we’ve never done before. You can disagree with my assessment that it’s political. There has been lot of politicization of the county counsel’s office over the years.”

At the end of that meeting, the Supervisors only approved half of the raise proposed.  Of course, the amount being asked for then was about $5,700.  For Downey, the raise would work out to about $15,000, plus the extra costs toward retirement and benefits. 

Alas, we know that Downey will probably get some cash out of this meeting.  After all the years of supporting conservatives, attending prayer breakfasts, and going to Rotary meetings, it’s time for the conservatives to pay him back for all his efforts.  Of course, they’ll be paying him and padding his retirement with your money.  Thank goodness for Measure Z, now we can make sure that highly paid local government officials get even better compensation packages.   

More info:


13 thoughts on “Pension Spiking….Downey Style!

  1. It will be interesting to see how the gang of four discusses/votes on this obvious pension spiking measure.

    On top of that, take a look at the NCJ post. In it, Thaddeus Greenson questions whether the Sheriff Coroner consolidation will actually save the county money. Wow.

    So the case may be that we are spending the same, or more for Coroner duties. All the while, a level of transparency, especially in regards to killings by LEO’s, has been completely destroyed.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. How much $$$ could we save if they combined the job of Supervisor with Animal Control officer and Meter Minder?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I just want to know the mindset of the very conservative sounding commentors who have been harshing on this obvious ‘talking-points-went-out’ worry about public employees union pension spiking ruining California etc etc etc as we have seen for months and years now. (well..I don’t really need to know their mindset, I don’t even know my own..)

    These constant attacks on public employees and their union pension seemed aimed at mostly the usual target: public school teachers as the private school advocates and (other) education enemies have been using them for their punching bag for years….while living in a society that has been benefiting from the educations they received.

    So along comes the Sheriff and what are they yelling about now?

    And will any objection to this obvious raise make me a Conservative ?(well, I am, but not in the usual ways, haha )

    Police: it’s ok..public school teachers: no? …

    Will I be banned from TE and censored like all the other pro police commenters? (I made a little joke there…kidding TE)

    And where are the commenters saying this complaint here about pension spiking is cause ‘we all hate the police’ etc etc etc..

    Stick to the script, it’s confusing!……I’m getting whiplash.
    Maybe I can get disability payments for it?

    Liked by 5 people

  4. The hypocrites show themselves yet again. From the Outpost:

    “Most supervisors said that they understood public concern for the bottom line, but although original forecasts presented clear savings to the county as a result of the consolidation of the sheriff’s and coroner’s offices, they said, such was not the primary goal of consolidation. Supervisor Ryan Sundberg talked about how deputy coroners would formerly have to be called out at all hours, and how the office was near its breaking point.
    Even if there are no clear savings due to consolidation in the first few years, Sundberg said, the move was worth it.

    Supervisor Rex Bohn spoke briefly to one question floating around: Why would he support this increase to Downey’s salary, when he has such vehement objections to a superficially similar rise for a member of the county counsel staff a couple of weeks ago? (See Times-Standard op-ed here, if you can.) The answer was simple, Bohn said: In Downey’s case, the pay hike was recommended by both the county administrative officer and the human resources department. In the case of assistant county counsel Carolyn Ruth — who, like Downey, has been shouldering an extra workload — the request came only from her boss.”

    So, consolidation wasn’t a cost savings measure, and Downeys raise is passed without any dissent. Good job “conservative” gang of four. I guess if eating from the public trough benefits your buddies, then these Supervisors go all in.

    Rex Bohn is a liar. Nuff said

    Liked by 3 people

    • JP:

      Conservative Gang of Four Plus One; the vote was unanimous.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mola-

        Mark supported the full wage increase for Ms. Ruth. Now he supports an increase for Mr. Downey. Nothing hypocritical there. On top of that, Mark has never represented himself as a “fiscal conservative”, as some of the others have.

        Apples to oranges IMHO

        Liked by 2 people

  5. And in another installment of the Ferguson Solution we should be wary of here in smalltownville:
    I have whined about this menace I call the ‘Ferguson Solution’ consisted of the town’s revenues being largely made up of fines and fees extracted from the poorer parts of town by the richer parts of town.
    In Ferguson Missouri we saw this as African Americans being victimized by the richer whites…but where the racial divide is different, it is still the poorer parts of town being victimized by the richer whiter power structure. And Ferguson is not the only town that does’s a class issue of which racism has always been a part.

    The recently released federal DOJ report showed this process in gory detail.

    Since then the judge at the center of a lot of the corrupt court processes there was booted, his cases shifted to other courts outside the jurisdiction.

    The trumped up bullshit charges people were tagged for sound a LOT like the local proposals for a shopping cart crackdown and the new slew of useless feel good anti bicycle rider laws….proposed by our new police chief.

    The net effect of which, once the taxes and outgo is looked at for Eureka looks a lot more like a revenue stream than a policing issue and strategy to deal with crime.
    Is the goal of extracting money by ticketing these petty ‘offenses’ more revenue so that THEN the EPD can THEN get around to actual criminal apprehension work?…cause that is the Ferguson that is widely done in small towns much like Eureka. Do we really want to spend our EPD time on petty offenses while the larger ones go undealt with? If I was an EPD line officer I would not. (And thank you EPD officer who dealt with the attempted burglary at my house recently.)

    So, after the corrupt racist judge was fired, the 39 year old city manager went under the bus today…listening to that Mr Sparks?

    A new city manager (and how hard would it be to do at least a better job than the Recently Departed?) can fire the police chief, so that shoe seems in the air for now…paging Chief Mills?…maybe they need a shopping cart ordinance.

    Ferguson City Manager Axed

    Liked by 3 people

    • Excellent, thank you.

      Is it not also “revenue enhancement” behind the militarization of our small town cops?

      Does Eureka really need a high-maintenance armored personnel carrier? What’s next, a drone? (60,000 to 70,000 drones are expected to be in operation in U.S.cities by 2020).

      “The drone you hear above your head isn’t there to snoop.

      It isn’t searching high and low for terrorists to scoop.

      It isn’t there to catch some crooks,

      It’s no police advancement,

      It’s a high-flying red light camera for revenue enhancement.”

      (Poet, Michael Silverstein)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a good occasion to recall the attitude of the Supes when it came to providing In Home Support Services workers, the people who bust their butts doing the work of the angels, a living wage. Which the IHSS workers still don’t come remotely close to receiving.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. For even more economy, perhaps the County could take over cremation services for people who die at the hands of law enforcement or while in custody…the savings in quickly getting rid of potentially damning evidence alone would merit another pay raise, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Will the undersheriff @ 70% of sheriffs pay be getting a raise as well?


  9. Maybe we should be supporting outrageous public salaries with maximum spiking.

    $164,000/year appears to bloat most recipients.

    Statistically, they don’t survive the further sedentary lifestyle of retirement for very long.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s