Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane has sent a letter to officials in charge of the county’s retirement system urging them to release figures about individual pensions.
“While I respect the Board of Retirement’s responsibility to make decisions in the best interests of its members, it does not serve anyone well to shroud a public retirement system in unnecessary secrecy,” Zane wrote in the letter dated Feb. 15. “To withhold information about how much public employees are being paid in pensions only fuels mistrust between local government and the broader public.”
The Sonoma County Employees Retirement Association board is currently locked in a legal battle with The Press Democrat over the board’s refusal to release those figures, despite recent court rulings that makes clear the public should have access. The state’s largest public employee retirement systems already disclose such figures.
The letter comes two days after we published an editorial, (“Stop secrecy,” Sunday) in which the PD encouraged the board to drop its legal battle and release the names and amounts received by former workers who get taxpayer-funded pensions.
In her letter, Zane makes clear that she is speaking “only for herself as one county supervisor, but I believe that this is an issue of open government and transparency.”
She also notes, “I am confident that your Board could craft a resolution that meets the needs of SCERA members while also providing transparency than the public is currently being afforded.”
This also comes on the heels of the announced retirement of Rod Dole, Sonoma County’s auditor and controller, who is expected to step down after 35 years of public service with an annual pension that is at least equal to his annual salary of $208,600. The exact amount, however, is unknown.
Dole is a member of the retirement board.
- Paul Gullixson