Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A sweatheart deal for LAFCO chief


The El Dorado Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has made a mistake. LAFCO has authorized the adoption of a contract with CalPERS that is unaffordable, which does not reflect the values of our community, and that provides special enhanced benefits to LAFCO’s executive officer.

In October 2012, LAFCO approved a contract with CalPERS. The letter that LAFCO’s executive officer wrote supporting the approval of this contract stated that LAFCO’s new contract “essentially mirrored the county’s contract.”

The executive officer’s statement was misleading, inaccurate, and self-serving. The key differences between the county’s contract and the contract approved by LAFCO are:

(1) new county employees receive retirement benefits based on the 2 percent at 60 program. New LAFCO employees will receive benefits based on the 2 percent at 55.  The county changed its contract for new hires to 2 percent at 60 because the 2 percent at 55 benefits were unaffordable.

(2) New county employees receive retirement benefits based on the three-year final compensation program. New LAFCO employees will receive benefits based on the one year final compensation program. The County changed its contract for new hires to three-year final compensation because it is cheaper and prevents “pension spiking.” 

(3) The county’s contract allows veterans to claim CalPERS service credit for their military service.  Lafco’s contract does not allow veterans to claim service credit. The county government and our community have always appreciated the service veterans have provided our nation.

(4) Finally, LAFCO’s CalPERS contract allows individuals to claim service credit for participation in the State Assembly Fellowship Program. The county’s contract does not. LAFCO’s executive officer will directly benefit from this optional contract provision. I am unaware of anybody else that will benefit from this provision, except LAFCO’s executive officer.

Approving special enhanced retirement benefits for the executive officer, while doing nothing for our veterans is way out of step with our community’s values. LAFCO’s CalPERS contract does not essentially mirror the county’s contract. LAFCO has not taken any steps to reduce its future retirement cost while the county has. LAFCO has made a big mistake.

El Dorado County Auditor-Controller


Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 18 comments

  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:00 pm

    Editor: Do not go to print with "sweatheart" deal. Rather, "sweetheart"

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  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:58 pm

    The taxpayers will be picking up the tab for "special enhanced benefits". LAFCO staff and commissioners can be found HERE.

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  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 5:01 pm

    LAFCO's Staff Salary Schedule, effective December 5, 2012, is on page 3, HERE.

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  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 5:07 pm

    LAFCO's last 6 audits HERE. One reason this matters is that new layers of government -- that must be paid for -- keep being added. Probably the vast majority of the population knows nothing of their existence. They are determining our choices and shaping how we live.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netFebruary 01, 2013 - 7:59 pm

    "LAFCO has made a big mistake." Good for you Mr. Harn for stepping up. I have been told that youre one of the "good" guys. I hope that many more in government positions step up and do the right thing. It s time.

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  • Jose C. HenriquezFebruary 02, 2013 - 4:02 pm

    Mr. Harn’s letter is misleading and does not present all the facts. LAFCO staff have been trying unsuccessfully to meet with Mr. Harn for four months to discuss the CalPERS contract, and only very recently learned of his concerns. The fact is that LAFCO has been operating under the County’s CalPERS contract since 2005, but CalPERS now requires LAFCO to have a separate contract. LAFCO is not allowed to reduce benefits for current employees below the levels in the previous County CalPERS contract. LAFCO intends to reduce benefits for new employees, but cannot do so until we have a CalPERS contract, which CalPERS staff and LAFCO staff have been attempting to finalize. LAFCO’s draft CalPERS contract does allow employees to receive credit for all eligible public service, as do many CalPERS contracts, and LAFCO negotiated for the inclusion of the service credit for veterans. Since the military service credit was inadvertently left out of the draft contract we will ask CalPERS to correct it before the contract is signed. The bottom line is that LAFCO will save money by having its own CalPERS contract, and will not affect the County’s CalPERS costs. Anyone who is interested can review the official CalPERS actuarial report for the LAFCO contract at and see the numbers for themselves. The new CalPERS contract will save LAFCO over $10,000 of taxpayer money, and that certainly does reflect the values of the community.

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  • EvelynFebruary 02, 2013 - 6:07 pm

    Mr. Henriquez: In light of the information you provide, it appears as though Mr. Harns should submit a correction. And, perhaps, an apology.

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  • Foaming at the MouthFebruary 04, 2013 - 8:43 am

    Joe Harn apologize?? Surely you jest.

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  • Joe HarnFebruary 04, 2013 - 6:46 pm

    Mr. Henriquez’s comment above contains a number of inaccuracies. I have no record of the Lafco staff trying to meet with me regarding this issue. I have received no e-mails from Lafco requesting a meeting. No phone messages were left for me requesting a meeting. In the comment that Mr. Henriquez posted above he states that, “Lafco’s draft contract does allow employees to receive service credit for all eligible public service,” That is NOT true. The contract that Mr. Henriquez asked Lafco to approve only allows his public service at the California Legislature to qualify as public service for computing retirement benefits. Mr. Henriquez states that the CalPERS contract will save over $10,000 of taxpayers’ money. That statement is NOT true. Mr. Henriquez is trying to transfer a portion of Lafco’s CalPERS obligation over to the County. Further, after Mr. Henriquez exercises his right to claim service credit for his work at the legislature, Lafco’s CalPERS rates will go up. Joe Harn

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  • Foaming at the MouthFebruary 04, 2013 - 9:35 pm

    What'd I tell you? Joe NEVER disappoints.

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  • Phil VeerkampFebruary 05, 2013 - 1:37 pm

    I recall a time when there was no LAFCO. We got along just fine.

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  • raulFebruary 06, 2013 - 9:58 am

    Typical Harn. Our $200,000 plus benifits elected official plays this game with all county heads (unless you are a good ol boy). loves seeing his name out there! Whats your retirement deal Joe?

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  • RaulFebruary 06, 2013 - 10:23 am

    Oh I get it Joe. your obscene $200,000 a year plus beneits reflect the communities values? What community or world do you live in? How about it Joe, What is the truth on your retirement package. Come clean

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  • cookie65February 06, 2013 - 11:13 am

    Spliting hairs over how bad the taxpayers are getting it in the shorts because of the public sector takes away from the reality that there is no purpose for agencies like this in the first place. Think about it, the "Local Agency Formation Commission", how on earth do they get away with creating such freeeeekin nonsense. That is what the discussion needs to be about. The Public Sector Welfare Programs that the taxpayers are told we can't do without.

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 06, 2013 - 1:51 pm

    Is Jose Henriquez the LAFCO Executive that was given service credit for being an intern at the State Assembly while at the same time blocks the service credit time for our Veterans who served? Why would someone who schlepped coffee and donuts for politicians be rewarded for his time over someone who spilled blood in Afghanistan? Joe Harn who are the specific individuals who approved this package? Is it just Henriquez? Is Henriquez now stating that he did it because he thought Joe Harn wouldn't care or wouldn't find out? Who else was on this board that approved this deal Joe? This is something that smacks of the City of Bell scandal.

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  • James SmithFebruary 06, 2013 - 9:55 pm

    Really Joe? It's like the pot calling the kettle black. Auditor-Controller wage and benefit package for Joe Harn as noted on the State Controller's Office website for 2011; Total wages $200,106 = $155,676 in regular pay, $864 in lump sum, $43,566 in other pay (???). Add in benefits including $26,798 defined benefit, $4,745 in deferred compensation, and $16,093health/dental/vision contribution. This a total compensation package of $247,742. Are you kidding me? Fleecing of the taxpayer in El Dorado County. You sure are one to talk, Joe!

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  • Jim RiordanFebruary 07, 2013 - 1:01 pm

    Good Job Joe. As far as I'm concerned we can throw Laughco in the toilet. It smells just as bad as what we normally put in there. Let Hose-A, Hose-B and Hose-C go find a real job and see what they are worth in the real world. Thumbs up Phil, Cookie and Ken.

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  • BrendaFebruary 07, 2013 - 1:48 pm

    To Mr. Steers point...who else is involved in this fiscally irresponsible endeavor? As a Cameron Park resident I understand we have a representative on LAFCO, Ms. Shiva(the destroyer)Frentzen. I would be very curious to know if she was for spending our District's much needed resources, while ignoring our veterans!

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