Readers React

Just when you thought you've heard it all on pensions....

To the editor: Why should a library staff member receive a bonus for helping a patron? Why should a jail worker receive a bonus for answering a question from the public? Surely those activities are part of the employee's job description. ("99 ways to boost pensions in California -- at public cost," Oct. 23)

Why should a bonus be given for carrying out activities that are fundamental to the employment?

These are just two of the 99 bonuses approved by the California Public Employees' Retirement System to be used to calculate employees' retirement pension. So the employees' conditions of employment are now changed to permit those bonuses to be part of retirement income.

All, of course, at public expense.

Congratulations to CalPERS for making these changes without calculating the cost to the public. Will its leaders now give themselves a bonus?

Brian Richardson, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: Just one time would you please mention that when a school district employee like myself retires after 31 years as a carpenter, the only three factors that are allowed by law to determine my pension are how many years I worked and paid into CalPERS, my age at retirement and the average of the top three years of earnings?

I could not, by law, bank vacation days or comp time to pad my final compensation.

You don't mention that education is not a part of these practices by law. I know it's fun to slam public employees, but you should tell the entire truth.

Martin Wauson, Westminster

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To the editor: Here are a few perks the CalPERS board overlooked to allow hard-earned bonuses in order to pack pensions:

- Staying awake while on the job.

- Not forgetting to zip up your pants.

- Bringing a lunch to work rather than going out.

- Answering your phone.

There are more, but we need to leave some for the next board to brainstorm.

This is the best example to date of public employee unions and their allies feeding at the public trough without restraint.

Roy Harrington, Rolling Hills Estates

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