Ventura County’s retired employees are costing taxpayers $332,333,834 per year.
Five retirees — whose names and annual pensions appear on the accompanying table — receive more than $313,000 per year apiece, and fully 1,000 retired County employees [featured on the following pages] receive more than $89,000 per year each.
Precisely 7,630 retired County employees drew pensions totaling $332,333,834.42 in 2021. The number of retired employees drawing pensions is approaching the number of current County workers. While the local private economy shrinks, Ventura County continues to hire, surpassing 10,178 full-time employee equivalents in 2023.
The top pension payout in 2021 belonged to Jane N. Carpenter, who appears to have been the spouse of Ronald E. Carpenter, a former prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office, who died in 2016. Ronald’s most recent pension, in 2015, was $118,408.08. The $445,663.27 distribution to Jane seems to have been a one-time occurrence compared to prior years.
The pension forecast for Ventura County alone, not including cities, school districts or other public agencies (let alone other counties or the State of California), is in the multiple billions. All told, the total pension liability for all retired public employees in California — who are no longer working and may even be deceased, with their pension going to a surviving spouse — is astronomical. This does not include salaries and benefits for current employees.
The County-funded employees association calculates pensions based on each retiree’s highest compensation during 12 consecutive months for some employees and the average monthly compensation over 36 consecutive months for other employees. Annual pensions increase with the addition of bonuses, automobile allowances, annual leave or vacation redemption and certain types of overtime which are added to the qualifying base salary.
The entire list of 2021 Ventura County pension recipients can be found at Transparent California here: