Sacramento pension data public, court says

The pensions of retirees from Sacramento County government are a matter of public record and cannot be kept secret, the California Third District Court of Appeal says.

The Sacramento Bee newspaper had sought the records of individual retirees who were getting pensions of over $100,000 annually as part of its investigation into controversial retirement practices such as cashing out of vacation time or working overtime in the last year of employment, either of which can result in so-called “pension spiking;” instances of “double dipping,” where a person receives a pension and salary; instances of “triple dipping,” where a person receives a pension, salary and unemployment benefits in one year, and other pension practices.

When the Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement System offered a list of 221 “retiree amounts” exceeding $8,333 per month but not the names, dates of retirement or last employed position of those retirees, contending it could withhold that data, the Bee sued.