Pensions and retirement benefits are in the hot seat these days, even in union-friendly L.A. City Hall, where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a beneficiary of labor's support, has asked for concessions to help with L.A.'s looming $400 million-plus deficit.
It looks, however, like a retiree in the neighboring city of Vernon is becoming the poster senior for pensions gone-wild.
He takes home a whopping …
… $520,000 a year. The Washington Post (via LA Biz Observed) notes that Bruce Malkenhorst Sr. gets public checks that ad up to $43,320.53 a month.
How's that possible in a world that just saw the Bell salary scandal (where former city manager Robert Rizzo is believed to have been taking home $1.5 million in salary and other compensation)?
Malkenhorst receives that princely stipend by virtue of having held six four-day-a-week jobs at the same time in Vernon, a speck of an industrial town just south of Los Angeles. He was Vernon's city manager, city clerk, finance director, treasurer, redevelopment agency secretary and director of light and power.
Not typical. But not unusual either.
Nearly a year ago the Orange County Register reported that the number of public employees collecting $100,000-plus annual pensions post-retirement was actually growing in California during the recession at a rate of 60 percent a year.
It counted 7,832 people in the Golden State taking home six-figure-plus pensions, partially on your tax dime.
Something's gotta give. A Vernon spokesman told the Post that piling up such retirement benefits in today's environment, under contemporary rules, wouldn't be possible in that city.
We sure hope so.