Orange County Pension Question, Measure B (June 2012)

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An Orange County Pension Question, Measure B ballot question was on the June 5, 2012 ballot for voters in Orange County, where it was approved.

Measure B requires that any Orange County Supervisors elected or appointed on or after June 5, 2012 can enroll only in the minimum pension option, i.e., the least lucrative pension plan, offered to Orange County employees. At present, the minimum pension plan is a 1.62% at 65 pension plan. This measure amends the County Charter and applies to any current or previous Supervisor.[1]

At the time Measure B was approved, supervisors could opt to join the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) with a choice of (1) a 2.7% at 55 formula or (2) a 1.62% at 65 formula. This choice was removed by Measure B. Under (1), a member is generally eligible to receive a pension based on the final average salary multiplied by the number of years of service multiplied by 2.7. Under (2), a member is generally eligible to receive a pension based on the final average salary multiplied by the number of years of service multiplied by 1.62. Usually, a member cannot retire until reaching 55 for plan (1) or 65 for plan (2).[1]

Election results

Measure B
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 273,160 72.4%
No104,25727.6%
These final results are from the Orange County elections office.

Support

Supporters

• Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson [2]
• Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) Board Member Wayne Lindholm[2]
• Orange County Taxpayers Association President Reed L. Royalty [2]
• Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers President Jack Dean [2]
• Libertarian Party of Orange County [3]
• Lincoln Club of Orange County [4]

Arguments in favor

In 2004, the Board of Supervisors approved an enhanced retroactive pension formula for county employees—the 2.7% at 55 plan. This action not only increased pension benefits for county employees and Supervisors; it drastically increased the county’s unfunded pension liability, which currently is $3.7 billion. Recently, Orange County created a less lucrative and more sustainable pension option—the 1.62% at 65 plan. This measure, by requiring Supervisors to enroll in the least lucrative plan, ensures that the Supervisors lead by example and no longer personally gain from future pension benefit increases. As stated by the editorial writers of the Orange County Register, “County pension programs desperately need reform, and the likelihood of reform is higher if those with the power to act are outside the system.”[5]

Opposition

No argument in opposition to Measure B was submitted for inclusion in the official voter’s guide.

Opponents did make these arguments against Measure B in the press:

  • Measure B mandates that County Supervisors join a county pension plan.
  • Measure B is a diversion from a more pressing problem, which is cutting the costs of the sizable staffs that work for the Supervisors.[6]

Editorial

• Orange County Register: “Orange County Measure B on the June 5 ballot is a step – a tiny step – in the right direction toward reforming government pensions by removing members of the county Board of Supervisors from a county-employee retirement system that is imposing an unsustainable burden on county finances and should be restructured. . . . [W]e recommend a Yes vote on Measure B.” [5]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

MEASURE B: "Shall the ordinance amending the County Charter to require that members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors enroll in the minimum pension plan option offered to County employees be adopted?"[7][8]

Path to the ballot

Measure B was placed on the ballot by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

External links

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Suggest a link

References