Noob Accidentally Highlights Pension Reform Failure

By taking the more generous retirement plan that was presented to him as a County employee, Supervisor Shawn Nelson has created an onslaught of Internet outrage from the Blue and Red blogs.

Nelson says it was an accident. Was it? County policy requires that all new employees sign up for one of two plans: the old 2.7 @ 55 or the new 1.62 @ 65 that so far, almost nobody has signed up for at all. If you don’t choose, they will choose for you – 1.62 @ 65. Every single new hire in the County government is presented with this scenario.

Oops. That's gonna hurt tomorrow morning.

In any case, Nelson’s decision highlights the dismal failure of Orange County’s alleged pension reform. When presented with two disparate retirement choices, what rational human being would pick the lesser?

If a guy like Shawn Nelson won’t do it, why would ANY public employee go for the option that is ultimately less generous – except, most likely, long-time employee pension abusers?

When union leaders originally hatched this goofy alternative plan, pension experts warned that new employees would not select a 401(k) style plan when offered alongside a traditional, elaborate government pension. Boy, were they right. But the unions and the supervisors went along with it anyway, just so they could notch pension reform in their pathetic pistol grips.

The bottom line: nobody wants a lesser benefit when they can choose a better one.  Orange County’s much ballyhooed pension reform has completely failed because employees can simply avoid it altogether. What a joke.

But back to Nelson. He was presumably elected to represent taxpayers in union negotiations. I do not recall Nelson making any promises regarding his own pension. That would have been nothing more than a distraction from the real issue, as evidenced by Supervisor Pat Bates. Bates promised to not take a pension and followed through with it, but subsequently has done nothing to stop the real problem: runaway entitlements for every employee in the county! All 20,000 of them.

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  1. #1 by Fullerton Rudy on August 13, 2010

    Red and blue equals mauve – the color of that tool Chip Hanlon’s goatee.

    He’s willing to look the other way while his boyfriends Cunningham and Pringle abuse the taxpayer.

    Nelson’s main problem is that he’s clearly not getting good advice from his advisors.

  2. #2 by Jasper Johns on August 13, 2010

    Nelson better pull his head out of his ass before September.

  3. #3 by Thor on August 14, 2010

    HAHAHA, you really think Harrish could get some momentum going with only 9 weeks to go before elections?

    He has been flat lined–not a peep! He can’t raise a dime, the Unions have left him along with all of his endorsements.

  4. #4 by History Major on August 13, 2010

    Travis, good spin. It still looks pretty bad. I can see the Sidhu flyer now.

  5. #5 by Tony Serra on August 13, 2010

    To this I say:

    “I’d rather be an “boot-licker” than a “ball-licker”.

    This is to say, The boys at the LOC seem to have magnets for tounges, and thier handlers BALLS of steel.

    Rudy, well said. Both these “oganizations” are in it for PROFIT and self gain, other than his kids ball team, you never see them write about community. Shit, Prevatt lives in Long Beach. Thats like Fullerton Rudy living in Costa Mesa.

    They are phony self serving upward moblie hacks.

    I’ll stick with the guys trying to do the right thing for the community, even if it means licking a boot now and then!

  6. #6 by Pop Warner on August 13, 2010

    Too much time coaching peewee football and not enough time paying attention to the job!

  7. #7 by Mayor Quimby on August 14, 2010

    Look, he will work hard for his money and deserves an early and very generous pension. Next will you be whining about his health insurance or car allowance or the political hacks he hires as staff members.

    With Republicans hypocrisy is not a bug. It’s a feature.

  8. #8 by Ling Cod on August 14, 2010

    Who would choose a 401K style plan in this economic environment anyway? Ask some retirees how their “pensions” are looking these days.

  9. #9 by Fullerton Rudy on August 14, 2010

    The Red and Blue Siamese twins are just looking for something to promote their assclown Sidhu. Note also that the The Voice of OC(EA) has chimed in. That of course will be treated like a real news organization by C-somethingorother and Cunningham.

  10. #10 by Buttlicker on August 14, 2010

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Last chance Butthead, one more obscene comment from you and you will be banned.

  11. #11 by Fool on August 14, 2010

    Chmielewski is claiming this blog is a defense of Nelson’s idiotic move. I’m not seeing it.

    The real hypocrisy is the left wing outcry over Nelson’s impressive pension.

  12. #12 by It's So Simple on August 14, 2010

    Right. Dumb and Dumberer over at the OC Liberal seem to think that limitless pension benefits are the entitlement of every public servant except for Sean Nelson. Hilarious!

  13. #13 by Buttlicker on August 14, 2010

    Travis services supervisor Nelson. Now on DVD at the Naughty Teddy

  14. #14 by LT on August 14, 2010

    Hey admin, I thought you were going to ban this bozo? Now he’s (it sounds like Dan or Claudio or both) are committing liable acts.

  15. #15 by Just Wondering on August 14, 2010

    Not to defend Shawn, but has ANYBODY opted for the 1.62 at 65?

  16. #16 by Over but not out on August 14, 2010

    As I understand it the new, lower cost retirement option for county employees is not yet available because the IRS says employee contributions cannot be funded with pre-tax dollars, whereas the old defined benefit employee contributions are not taxed. Unless one is independently wealthy, as is the case with Fifth Diestict Supervisor Pat Bates who reportedly has chosen to be excluded from any county retirement plan, the current defined benefit plan of the county is the only choice. So, I think this is a lot of chatter about nothing.

  17. #17 by UAAL on August 15, 2010

    The new plan is open to new hires, of which there have been about 20. The IRS needs to give its blessing for a switch to the plan by current employees. The ones who go for it would be the long-termers who are already fully vested in the old plan and will be able to keep more of their gross each each week.

  18. #18 by R. Palacios on August 14, 2010

    “Retirement plan”? For god sakes Pat Bates is close to 75 years old, she must have “retired” 10 years ago and I’m sure has several pensions as well, so even if she wanted to she could not take the 2.7 at 55 or even at 65. The whole thing Chipper started is a freaking joke. No sale here.

  19. #19 by Bleed the Freak on August 15, 2010

    Are you kidding me. Is this the best spin you guys could put on why Nelson didn’t do anything wrong? Do you really believe that Shawn didn’t know any better? The retirement he took is the same benefit that he denied the Fullerton Municipal Employee Federation a couple years back. He knew damn well what he was doing. So you all of you think he is justified in taking the more generous benefit but yet you criticize all unions for taking a more generous benefit that was offered to them by their respective cities. Your home boy Chris Norby even voted to give Fullerton Fire and Police the 3%@50 benefit. Nelson is a typical politician. He talks out his mouth and his ass at the same time. FFFF you are guys are a joke and a bunch of hypocrites with no real purpose of having this blog. It really serves no purpose other then comic relief.

  20. #20 by Johnny Donut on August 15, 2010

    Bleed the Freak :yet you criticize all unions for taking a more generous benefit that was offered to them by their respective cities.

    Unions are criticized for using emotional arguments, political pay-to-play and bad accounting to fool idiotic electeds into voting them unreasonable compensation.

    I, for one, have never criticized union members for choosing the wrong option. That’s an OC oddity that will soon be flushed down the toilet when everyone realizes that it doesn’t work.

  21. #21 by Bleed the Freak on August 15, 2010

    JD, this blog bashes unions to no end about how they are receive bloated generous pensions. Now tell me how the unions got these pensions. The politicians voted to give it to them. Bash the politicians like your boy Norby who voted it in for the Fullertons “Union Thugs” or how Nelson who is adding to the unfunded liability. You guy will never bash those two idiots for both taking money in the form of pensions. Norby gets his teachers pension. I wonder what benefit plan he was in while a BOS. Let’s bash the politicians that were so generous with the taxpayers money and gave these pensions rather then the worker who is offered the pension and opts to take the more generous one just like Nelson did. If you can’t do that, then bash on Nelson, the hypocrite, as equally as you do the unions. I don’t know you JD or what you do but this blog bashes unions.

  22. #22 by Joe Sipowicz on August 15, 2010

    “Let’s bash the politicians that were so generous with the taxpayers money and gave these pensions rather then the worker who is offered the pension and opts to take the more generous one just like Nelson did. ”

    We do bash them You obviously haven’t been paying attention. Workers are offered pensions that their unions negotiated for them. Nelson didn’t negotiate anything for himself.

    In 2001 Norby screwed up big time and he has indeed been criticized for that on this blog.

    Now go away Flatfoot and rack up some more OT so you can spike your pension.

  23. #23 by Anonymous on August 15, 2010

    Your champion of pension reform did pretty good for himself.

  24. #24 by just a guy on August 15, 2010

    The union leadership authored and approved OC’s pension reform. I think we can see where this plan is headed.

    Back to the drawing board.

  25. #25 by Bleed the Freak on August 15, 2010

    This blog is notorious for reposting things when they run out of topics to write about. Let’s repost some of Norby’s fuck ups and let us know what a buffoon he really is. You guys spend more time writing about Matt Cunningham as if he’s the biggest threat to this county. Bash Nelson for taking such a generous bloated pension like all of the unions. Now he’s a part of the problem.

    Oh Jo-Jo, why do you want me to go away? Is that how you guys operate? If anyone disagrees with you, we have to go away?

  26. #26 by Johnny Donut on August 15, 2010

    It looks like the FPOA gave permission for their minions to crawl back out from under that rock.

    Did anyone catch the editorial in the OC Register today on how lame the county’s pension reform is? Sounds like an echo of this post.

  27. #27 by Yep on August 15, 2010

    Nelson’s buffoonery brought it into the limelight. Nice job, sort of…

  28. #28 by Bleed the Freak on August 15, 2010

    Hey JD wrong again. But go ahead and pat yourself on the back like you always do. You and Jo-Jo could take turns.

  29. #29 by NorbyJr. on August 16, 2010

    Nelson replaced norby, the King of personal public pension gravy. Norby ws a public school teacher, a Supervisor and now an Assenblyman. You do the math.

  30. #30 by PantheraLeo on August 16, 2010

    When Libertarian Economist Milton Friedman was Chairman of the Federal Reserve in San Francisco he resided in a rent controlled apartment. When asked about this rather curious arrangement, Friedman said that he was against rent controlled apartments, but as long as it was available it made good economic sense to take advantage of the lower rent. Lesson learned….the pension system needs to change!

  31. #31 by 4SD Observer on August 16, 2010

    Big difference. Friedman didn’t have a choice in where to live unless he lived outside the city.

    Nelson had choices and chose the one most beneficial to him consequences to the taxpayer be damned.

  32. #32 by Mr. Peabody on August 16, 2010

    Friedman could have moved outside the City.

    The County requires that employees pay into a retirement system. They have to pay into something. Why would he chip into the 1.62 program that’s already been identified as fake pension reform.

    P.S. Good to have you back. Wanna talk about Pam Keller?

  33. #33 by 4SD Observer on August 16, 2010

    Then they are both hypocrites in that they could’ve stayed true to their ideals but chose to rationalize taking advantage of a system they claim to abhor.

    Why would I want to talk about Pam Keller? Are you one of the bunny cookers on this board that got turned down for a date when she was single?

  34. #34 by Mr. Peabody on August 16, 2010

    I’m “Mr”. Peabody. You got gender confusion?

  35. #35 by 4SD Observer on August 17, 2010

    Nelson says it was an accident. Was it? County policy requires that all new employees sign up for one of two plans: the old 2.7 @ 55 or the new 1.62 @ 65 that so far, almost nobody has signed up for at all. If you don’t choose, they will choose for you – 1.62 @ 65. Every single new hire in the County government is presented with this scenario.

    Not quite.

    From today’s OC Register’s Total Buzz

    Robert Kinsler of the Orange County Employees Retirement System, says otherwise.

    Elected county officials, unlike other county employees, have the option to not participate in OCERS, Kinsler said.

    And retirement contributions can be banked if, let’s say, a county supervisor leaves office and then decides to take another position in the county until he’s eligible for a pension.

    Like I said earlier. Nelson had options and took the one that benefitted him most, consequences to the taxpayer be damned.

  36. #36 by Look here on August 16, 2010

    It will be funny to watch these union commenters pull a 180 on the whole “hypocrite” accusation when McKinley gets up to bat.

  37. #37 by Tony Serra on August 16, 2010


    Let me say, Matt is a threat to the county and Catholic Children.

    He is has repeatedly defending a priest complicit in the RAPE of children (not just one but several).

    I for one could give a shit if Nelson took gold bullion. He is certainly better than the alternative, A MILLIONARE CARPETBAGGER.

    As for Matt, he is a scam artist. Plain and simple.

  38. #38 by 4SD Observer on August 17, 2010

    Good thing Tom McClintock isn’t running.

  39. #39 by 4SD Observer on August 19, 2010

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