Jun 24 2012

OPINION: Police Chiefs’ Retirement Benefits

Piedmont resident Michael Henn comments on generous retirement  for Piedmont and Pleasant Hill Police Chiefs- 

I have simply cut and pasted a letter from the CC Times [Contra Costa Times] today [June 21, 2012] about Pleasant Hill’s Police Chief retiring and that city’s need to select a new one. I doubt that I could have said it any better than this letter’s author whom I do not know. To reflect Piedmont’s situation, wherever it says Pete Dunbar, put in John Hunt, and you can substitute Idaho for Colorado and you would have it fit rather well. I note that the Piedmont Post failed to give Mr. Hunt’s age, only that he had worked as a police officer for 25 years. So if, say, he started at 25, after college, he would be 50.

Editors Note: Mr. Henn refers to a June 21 letter by Bill Fraser of Lafayette to the Contra Costa Times (excerpts below) in which he notes a comment by Pleasant Hill Police Chief Pete Dunbar regarding Dunbar’s forthcoming retirement.

“Not to pick on Dunbar, who was cited as having done ‘an outstanding job,’ but for a 51-year-old man to state that ‘it doesn’t make sense to keep working’ with base compensation of $193,000 tells us everything that is wrong with the current system.

“Pleasant Hill needs a new police chief, who will also look to retire a few years down the road when eligibility for a full pension arrives.

“It would be interesting to know how many police chiefs are being paid in retirement by various towns around our broader community. Our system in the public sector is not sustainable.  Recent votes in Wisconsin, San Jose and San Diego show that the public is starting to understand.”

(Editors’ Note: The letter above is excerpted to respect the Contra Costa Times’ copyright.  Read the complete letter.)

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

2 Responses to “OPINION: Police Chiefs’ Retirement Benefits”

  1. Let’s ask an even more basic question. Does a city the size and relative crime-free status of Piedmont actually need a highly-compensated Police and Fire chief? I know this has been addressed in the past, but times and finances change. What about a Director Public Safety and lower-level heads of the police and fire departments? Do we really NEED so many highly-compensated senior city officials?

  2. As the minority report of the 2011 Municipal Tax Review Committee emphatically stated, the current pension and benefit packages in Piedmont are entirely unsustainable. The recent 2012 Budget and Finance Committee report concurred. Yet the City Council ignores the thoughtful work by these two committees that were specifically empowered by the Council to examine financial issues.

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