California pays 5,115 retired employees $100,000+ per year. How much will you earn when you retire?

by editor on July 21, 2009


It’s no wonder the state of California is bankrupt.

CALPERS, the California Public Employee Retirement System, is now paying annual retirement benefits of more than $100,000 to 5,115 employees, including nearly $500,000 to the most highly-compensated former employee.

This idiocy will only get worse, because the state government has grown so dramatically in the last few years. More current grossly overpaid bureaucrats lead directly to more more future grossly overpaid retired bureaucrats.

1977 file photo of Bruce Malkenhorst, California's most highly-paid former bureaucrat

1977 file photo of Bruce Malkenhorst, California's most highly-paid former bureaucrat

CALPERS’ most highly-paid retiree is Bruce Malkenhorst, former city administrator of Vernon, California, whose pension pays $499,674.84 per year.

Never heard of Vernon, California? Well, no wonder. It the smallest incorporated city in Southern California with a population of just 91. Yes, you read that correctly. 91 total residents. The city is best known for sprawling industrial facilities and massive corruption. Malkenhorst was paid $600,000 per year to manage a city with 91 people. But that apparently was not enough for Malkenhorst, because he’s been charged with misappropriating $60,000 of city funds for his personal use.

(One of the largest firms headquartered in Vernon is Claugherty Packing’s “Farmer John” company, which made the news yesterday for landing a “stimulus” contract that paid far above the going rate for ham.)

If you can’t get a job working for the city of Vernon, the Top 10 list makes it appear that you next best bet would be working for the California State University system. Joaquin Fuster, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA takes home $296,555.88 in retirement benefits. Donald Gerth, former President of Cal State Sacramento, takes home an annual pension of $278,054.64. John Schlag, a professor of neurobiology at UCLA is paid $255,600.48 in retirement.

We’re not sure who bears the most blame here. Is it the government entities that negotiate the sweetheart deals? Or the employee unions that demand them?

Public employee unions + Obama stimulus = bankruptcy.

This madness cannot be sustained at the state level nor the federal level. Not on your back. And not on ours.


Leave a Reply

7 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
MikeRoyBobJack DeanDee Mac Recent comment authors
Notify of

Legalized and taxed Marijuana, prostitution and gambling would save California’s economy easily. But no, morality means more to people than a state that’s not bankrupt. That’s not to say that these pensions aren’t obscene, but there’s other options for Cali than going after some retired public officials.


That’s false righteousness. That’s not a lot of money, by any stretch of the imagination.

Jack Dean

It’s not just California that has this problem — the public employee pension crisis is nationwide and growing. You can follow it on a daily basis at Take your blood pressure medicine, visit the site, check out the past few weeks worth of headlines, and be thoroughly outraged.

Dee Mac
Dee Mac

And I thought our future looked bleak when my hubby went to work for a small city a few years ago. They do have a loose organization that protects the incompetent, so I guess it is a union. Too bad his retirement isn’t as lucrative as these. We could retire and move to Texas and save on personal income tax!


Letting public servants unionize makes about as much sense as trying to discipline your children after you’ve armed them with AK 47’s.


I just put this on Stumbleupon, and am sharing it with a few friends – the story is frightening, but I still couldn’t help but think what I have to do to get this guy’s job.


Thanks! Your Stumbles are ultra powerful. 🙂


To get those jobs? Be a world-renown scientist that has furthered what we know as a species of how we think and act. Produce paradigm shattering results that give rise to new information for what makes you YOU. Be amazing world-class neurosurgeons. And do it for 50+ years, consistently. They have received most of their funding through begging for grant money for their entire career.
There are few “rock-stars” in the science community, but begrudging them something that they have worked 60+ hour weeks towards for their entire lives seems disingenuous. Instead, we have the athlete, representing a city (as opposed to an entire body of knowledge no-one else has) and gets paid millions for moving a ball around a field. Entertaining? Yes. Life changing? Hardly.

I’m only speaking for a few of the names I recognize on this list; it may not apply to all of these names.

Still, the argument about large pensions is a growing problem that will continue to grow as the current HUGE workforce achieves retirement age. The public cannot sustain such payments. The pension system, along with social security, is broken.


[…] tax revolt and What George Will missed: The decrepit state of the California GOP I Hate The Media: California pays 5,115 retired employees $100,000+ per year. How much will you earn when you retire? Frugal Café Blog Zone: No Santa Claus for Arnie: Californians Weary of Increased Taxes, […]