In February, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors planned to form the “Independent Citizen’s Pension Advisory Committee.” After pressure from the Press Democrat and the Sonoma County Taxpayer’s Association, a right-wing, anti-union organization who calls for cuts to public pensions, the Board is considering a permanent, standing committee that excludes key stakeholders. Specifically and intentionally excluded are any present or past Sonoma County employees or any current recipients or beneficiaries of a Sonoma County pension. This looks like nothing more than a political ploy by the Board, who may try to use this committee as public cover to push through pension changes.

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Our MOU expires in March 2018 with bargaining beginning as early as the end of the year. The County has re-hired the anti-union law firm they used for bargaining last time. There are indications that the County may try to follow the national trend of replacing Defined Benefit Pensions, like ours, with 401(k) style retirement (Defined Contribution Plans), which are less secure and stable and greatly increase the risk to individuals of losing their retirement funds due to market fluctuations. Defined Benefit Pensions are one of the crucial benefits that enable people to work in public service, for local government, and we must oppose any changes that would be detrimental to our pensions.

Maintaining a secure public retirement system is crucial for all County employees and a healthy Sonoma County economy. Please contact your Supervisor TODAY to let them know that you are watching and that you vote! Tell the Board not to play politics with our pensions!

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Want to say more?

Let the Board know about the important work you do in Sonoma County, how long you have worked there, and what a pension cut would mean to you.

Feel free to add or expand on any of these points, as well:

  • According to the Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association (SCERA), the average pension for Sonoma County workers is about $32k per year.
  • Pensions are the only stable way for working people to retire in dignity after a life of service. We don’t want to be a burden on our community or families. When we support ourselves with our own pensions post-retirement we support the local small business community and economy.
  • SCERA is the best committee to oversee our pensions. We don’t want or need an anti-government organization using our hard-earned money to further their political goals.
  • If the County needs to lower costs they should slow hiring managers and directors at excessively high salaries. Since 2007, we have lost approximately 125 frontline staff overall while adding approximately 76 additional managers.