"Rupf, who has served in the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department for more than 40 years, put in for his retirement check in January 1999 when, at age 55, he had maxed out on what he was eligible to collect. By that time, he had already been appointed to fill out the term of his predecessor and been elected sheriff in his own right.
Seven years later, Rupf is still collecting a six-figure retirement check on top of his $185,000 sheriff's salary."
East Bay sheriffs find gold mine in lavish double-dip deal
- Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
Monday, May 29, 2006
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It pays to stay in law enforcement, even when you retire.
Just ask the elected sheriffs in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, each of whom is pulling in more than $300,000 a year in pay and retirement benefits while working full time.
Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf, 62, hopes to keep his double-draw going for another four years by winning re-election to a fourth term next month.
Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer, who is 75, however, will call it quits in January after 54 years in law enforcement -- the last 19 1/2 as sheriff.
For both men, the longevity has paid off big-time.
Rupf, who has served in the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department for more than 40 years, put in for his retirement check in January 1999 when, at age 55, he had maxed out on what he was eligible to collect. By that time, he had already been appointed to fill out the term of his predecessor and been elected sheriff in his own right.
Seven years later, Rupf is still collecting a six-figure retirement check on top of his $185,000 sheriff's salary.
The Contra Costa Employee Retirement System wouldn't disclose the exact amount, and Rupf said weeks ago he'd get back to us with the actual figure. We're still waiting.
However, Rupf makes no apologies for his preretirement bonanza, telling us, "I contributed to that pension over the course of more than three decades.''
Besides, Rupf says, he's actually saving taxpayers money because, now that he's collecting his pension, the county no longer is obligated to continue contributing to his plan. He puts the county's savings at about $38,000 a year.
Nonetheless, he sees his situation as a prime example of the need to fix the public pension system before it goes broke.
"I probably lead the pack of folks that argue that public employees' retirement is out of whack,'' he said.
Then there's Plummer, who first walked a beat in Berkeley when Harry Truman was president in 1952. He officially retired as Hayward police chief two decades ago, and his annual pension is now about $80,000. Add in the $195,000 he makes as sheriff, plus $30,000 more in premiums (including extra pay as the county's coroner), and he's earning $305,000.
Plummer says he's counting on a second pension of at least $50,000 a year when he retires as sheriff next year.
After all, Plummer said, "I have to buy cigars.''
True blue: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom never got his blue-ribbon panel to shake up the culture of the Police Department in the wake of those Cops Gone Wild videos -- so now the cops are taking it on themselves to organize a police summit.
The confab, dreamed up by the Police Officers Association, is being hosted by the University of San Francisco's criminal justice department and will include a seven-member panel that will take testimony Tuesday and Thursday.
Some 20 area professionals will be there, including Police Chief Heather Fong, Office of Citizen Complaints chief Kevin Allen and Police Commissioners Theresa Sparks and Louise Renne. There will also be law enforcement-friendly faces such as ex-Mayor and ex-Police Chief Frank Jordan, former Police Chief Tony Ribera, former U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello and John Dineen, a senior consultant for the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
The group will then draw up a list of "positive'' recommendations for reform.
As for why no invite was extended to the very vocal and very cop-unfriendly folks at Bay Area Police Watch?
"We're not looking to turn this into a circus,'' said Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes.
And he said it with a straight face, too.
Devil in the details: No detail too small when comes to running an election. Take, for example, the listing of the seven candidates running for 14th Assembly District Democratic Central Committee, covering Alameda County and parts of Contra Costa County.
The candidates were listed both on the ballot and voters' guide in random order -- but apparently, because of a clerical error, they were listed in the wrong random order.
So out went a special postcard from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters to all 60,000 registered Democrats in the 14th District showing the candidates in the order in which they should have appeared -- though not the random order in which they will appear on the ballot.
As for chances that anyone will actually remember -- or even notice -- any of this when they walk in the booth?
"Everybody reads all their mail, right?'' said Alameda County Registrar Dave McDonald.
Oh, for anyone keeping record, McDonald put the cost of printing and postage at about 10 cents apiece, or $6,000.
Political math: From what we've been able to tell, there were three reasons San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation to close a section of Golden Gate Park to cars on Saturdays for six months.
A. Voters had already said "no" to the idea.
B. It would lead to more parking problems in neighborhoods next to the park.
And, C. As one neighborhood activist pointed out to the mayor, "Every one of the supervisors who voted for the closure voted for your opponent when you ran for mayor. And no matter what you do, the next day, they will all vote against you again."
Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. They can also be heard on KGO Radio.
Phil Matier can be seen regularly on KRON 4 News.
Got a tip? Call them at (415) 777-8815 or drop them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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