More Fallout From UC Berkeley Top Cop Payout

News that UC Berkeley gave its police chief $2.1 million so she wouldn’t leave for a better job has prompted a stern little editorial in Sunday’s Sacramento Bee. Although top cop Victoria Harrison could be right when she claims that she just cashed out her retirement and benefit plans, the Bee suspects that UC gave her a lot more than her pension in a lump sum. The editorial adds that if this is the kind of deal UC considers appropriate, then it’s time to reconsider the pension deals struck by public employees around the state. And here is where we beg to differ. We agree with the Bee that the pensions and retirement rules for police and firefighters are outrageous, and that they’re bankrupting cities around California (Wassup, Vallejo?). Cops and Firemen used the dot com boom years to muscle through a retirement payoff that no city could possibly afford, and it’s time for them to come back to Earth. But othere public employees don’t get nearly the same kind of benefits, and the pension funds ideally pay for themselves by playing the stock market. Let’s not go nuts just because Cal administrators thought they could play fast and loose with the public’s cash.

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