The California Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by Orange County supervisors who wanted them to sanction amendments to what an earlier board of supervisors had done: grant sheriff's deputies the right to retire at the age of 50 and collect 90 percent or more of their highest salary for the remainder of their lives.
The ruling was a huge victory for Wayne Quint at the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, the union that represents deputies. Quint is expected to make Orange County residents pay as much as $5 million in court cost for the litigation. That number is on top of $2 million the supervisors spent on the case.
The loser: Supervisor John Moorlach, the man who led the board's challenge to earlier court rulings that sided with the deputies' union.
Moorlach, a conservative Republican, was concerned that the 2001 retirement deal immediately increased the public cost of deputy pensions by at least $100 million.
The county is facing a $3.7 billion unfunded government employee pension liability.
The theory that argued for deputes to retire at the age of 50 with such generous perks was that they endure incredible stress during their careers while catching dangerous criminals. In truth, many deputies have retired at 50, collected OC pensions and go on to take a new law enforcement job that gives them a second government salary and pension.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly