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Helping Citizens Understand California County Pension Debt and Finances

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Understand Unfunded Pension Debt. Hold Officials Accountable. Redirect Local Government Finances.

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Total Impact - New Rules

7 Counties
2011 - $Billions

Report  Impact    New
Assets   $17.8 -$1.0 $16.8
Debt 7.6 +8.3 15.9
Net $10.2 -$9.2 $1.0

If the new pension reporting rules had been in effect in 2011 these 7 counties together would have "written off" about $9 billion of their "Net Worth"

That's about how much real past pension expenses they never reported to the people.

There are over 3000 counties in the US - tens of thousands of cities, school districts, special districts ...

Click for my new report.

• How Pension Funds Work
• GASB's & Moody's Changes
• Explanation of Fatal Flaw
• Pension Expense - 4x more
• Lower Assets, More Debt
• 2015 -Oceans of Red Ink
• Moody's - Double Payments

Bill Gates was asked this question at the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival - Do we have a huge unaccounted for pension overhang problem that’s going to hurt our government budgets?

Bill GatesClick here to see a short video of Bill's response including why he says today's government reporting of pension finances is fraudulent.

* (The quote at the top of the main article is paraphrased from Bill's video.)

Moody's New Credit Analysis

Moody's Investor Services won't wait for the new pension reporting rules. They intend to adjust government reported pension finances in their credit ratings.

Moody's projects their adjustments will triple the amount of unfunded government pension debt across the US. They will also conclude governments are paying their Pension Funds far less than is prudent.

Click here for my report on Moody's adjustments applied to 6 Bay Area - North Coast counties.

John G Dickerson

Citizen's Letter

Reform Our County Coalition

To fellow concerned citizens of Mendocino County.

Please add your name (see below) to the letter to Mendocino County officials and others shown at the right. We need to act fast!

Here’s why.

We believe a massive – irresponsible - unnecessary unfunded pension debt has been imposed on the People that will seriously damage our County for the next generation if we do nothing. Some County officials realize the danger. But too many County and Retirement officials deny this

You won’t be saying you necessarily agree with our analysis - and this doesn't bind you in any way. This is just asking officials to answer some questions.

How To Add Your Name

Click to Open an Email message

Copy and paste the paragraph below into the email:

I hereby authorize Reform Our County Coalition to add my name to the list of concerned citizens signing the Citizen's Letter shown on the home page of to Mendocino County officials and others.

Type your name as you want it to appear in the list of names.

Send it away!

And ... THANKS.

Thank you for your time and concern.

Reform Our County Steering Committee

Holly Madrigal
John Dickerson
John Robertson
Ken Fowler
Tom Monpere
Richard Respini

PS - it’s also important for officials to see lots of concerned citizens who sign this letter at the Board of Supervisors’ 9:00 pension workshop. If you can make it – this is a very important meeting.

Click for copies:

Citizen's Letter with Signature Sheet

7 Page Summary of Analysis

Full Report - 22 pages plus attachments


Citizen's Letter

  • Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, CEO, Auditor-Controller, Treasurer-Tax Collector
  • Mendocino County Retirement Association Directors
  • Major County Bargaining Units

From Concerned Citizens of Mendocino County

Please read the attached Questions about Mendocino County’s Unfunded Pension Debt and Analysis of that Debt produced by the "Reform our County Coalition – Mendocino". We ask you to confirm or disprove their analysis and conclusions, answer their questions, and - is it true that:

  • new rules next year will force our County to report about $200 million of past pension expenses that were never reported to us - and we have much more debt than assets?
  • over $500 million is expected to be paid to eliminate unfunded pension debt that isn’t supposed to exist?
  • State Controller data shows the County Pension Fund’s investment record is among the worst for County Funds?
  • we were told about $35 million of retiree health benefits was paid with so-called Pension Fund “excess earnings” but the truth is every dime increased our County’s debt?
  • every County employee received pension increases and 1/3 were retroactive to when they were hired even though our County owed $100 million in unfunded pension debt?
  • the Retirement Board created most of this debt the People have to pay but it isn’t accountable to us?
  • employees and retirees have no obligation to help pay unfunded pension debt even though 2/3 of the Retirement Board is composed of employees and retirees?

Before we can solve big problems we first have to recognize we have them. Then we need to understand what they are.

Before talking about solutions we need to know what’s true and accurate.

Are the attached analysis and findings essentially correct? If they aren’t, please relieve our deep concern by proving they’re wrong.

We know you are very busy – but please let us know when you can provide us with these answers. We hope you can do so by the end of June. Thank you for your time and attention.


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