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Nevada City Mayor Lashes Out at CALPERS

There will have to be a new police chief in Nevada City sooner than expected, and the mayor is not happy about it. The City Council is now saddled with finding a new chief, and mayor Duane Strawser says it’s because the state employees retirement system, or CALPERS, has changed the rules…

Listen to Duane Strawser_1

Chief James Wickham is working part time, and with no benefits from Nevada City, because he draws a full pension from CALPERS as a former chief in the Bay Area. Strawser says the retirement system isn’t making any money that way, and that’s why they changed the rule…

Listen to Duane Strawser_2

The new rule is that a city can hire a retiree as an emergency replacement for up to one year, but Wickham has already been Nevada City’s police chief longer than that…

Listen to Duane Strawser 3

Nevada City has begun the process to find a full time chief, which Strawser says not only will be more expensive, but the application process could take months.


April 29, 2013

Michael Hill-Weld

I appreciate the Mayor's frustration with the situation. However, I think it is important to remember that the change in the law was part of reform of the public employees retirement system. In this case, the public made clear to the Governor and Legislature that they did not like retired public employees "double dipping" by drawing a pension and continuing to work for public agencies. The new law limits the ability of retirees to both draw their pension and continue to work for public agencies.
While this creates difficult situations for cities like Nevada City, I think the new law makes sense by ending the practice of "double dipping."

September 25, 2015

Peter Erikson

I found this article because I happened to Google an old high school classmate of mine, Jim Wickham, a very capable person but someone who should have known better than to engage in double-dipping. As a taxpayer, I take issue with these unfair practices. Want to work for another public agency as a police retiree? Then give up the pension. The whole pension system is really screwed up, especially in California, and cases like these don't help.

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