Q & A for your district rep: What is CTO?

31 Jul

Thanks Jim, for sending me that piece from Cal Matters about the “pension spiking” case that went before the California Supreme Court.


I had heard something about the Alameda County Sheriff’s Association trying to overturn the 2013 Public Employee Pension Reform Act (PEPRA), especially the sections forbidding spiking.

Here’s an example of pension spiking – 


The highest paid employee in Chico is the fire captain who sits on his (excuse me, I blame the COVID) BIG FAT ASS 24-7 over at the airport fire station, waiting for a plane to crash. That’s all he’s trained for, he does nothing but gets more than twice the salary he agreed to in his contract. That’s him at the top of the chart. Here’s the details –


This person agreed to a salary of about $99,000/year, so how does he end up with “total wages” of $224,880/year? He spikes his salary with overtime, that’s how. Why wouldn’t the city just hire another man? Because Staff, led by Snake Charmer Mark Orme, has convinced our idiots on council that it’s cheaper to pay one guy more than his salary in overtime than hire another equally qualified person at the same salary.

In the old days, this man’s pension would have been based on his “total wages,” including overtime. That was banned by PEPRA.  Do you realize how that pissed off “public safety workers” all over the state? So they immediately lawyered-up and started to pick away at PEPRA.  Until now, courts have upheld the “California Rule” – “Any retirement benefits promised to a worker at the outset of a job can only be reduced if they are replaced with something of equal value.”   See, it’s all based on “collective bargaining,” another set of bullshit rules that say elected officials can’t bargain with employees, that they have to allow an “arbitrator” to make the deal, and then we all just have to go along with it. We don’t get to show face at the table, we don’t get to raise our fists – we’re just supposed to open our checkbooks and pay. 

Guess who our “arbitrator” is? Yeah, the forever arbitrary Snake Charmer in Chief, Chico Shitty manager Mark Orme. 

This ruling is an important,  “But the Supreme Court stopped short of out-and-out nixing the California Rule. “

“In the 90-page opinion written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the court found that “closing loopholes and preventing abuse of the pension system” was consistent with state law that otherwise makes it exceedingly difficult to renege on promised pension benefits for future work. “

So that means keep up the fight. Look at the other details in that page from publicpay.gov

Regular Pay       $98,795      SALARY
Overtime Pay    $103,972     OVERTIME
Lump-Sum Pay     $3,581      The dollar amount paid to the employee for one-time cash-outs (including, but not limited to, paid excess vacation and sick leave, and legal settlements)

Other Pay            $18,532      The dollar amount paid to the employee for any other pay not reported as regular pay, overtime pay, or lump-sum pay (such as car allowances, meeting stipends, incentive pay, bonus pay, etc.).

Defined Benefit Plan Contribution       $25,182    PENSION

Health/Dental/Vision Contribution      $12,447    HEALTH BENEFITS

While the court has banned and upheld that ban on including overtime in pension benefits, the California Rule still allows for “Lump sum pay” and “other pay” to be added to pension benefits. Here’s a recent post I wrote about that.


I hope more people read that July 10 post.  I know this is a complicated subject, but I’m a housewife who was trained as an elementary school teacher, and I GET IT. I’ve been called every synonym for “stupid” in the dictionary, but I GET IT.  

Chico City Council just signed another year of cop and fire contracts without even discussing the pension deficit. I’d bet my last $5 most of council didn’t even read the contracts. 

Want to find out? Ask your district representative or candidate, “What is CTO?” Let me know what you get. 

UPDATE: I’m so glad I asked – my district rep, Kasey Reynolds, gave me a good conversation. I’m critical, and sometimes I realize, kind of a bitch. But Reynolds always responds, and she’ll admit when she’s not aware of various details. 

The worst response you can get from your district rep or candidate is NONE. Don’t let them get away with that – be polite, be firm, and if you don’t get a response, email them again. 


3 Responses to “Q & A for your district rep: What is CTO?”

  1. Scott Rushing July 31, 2020 at 10:06 pm #

    $20,000 a month guaranteed pension for life by the taxpayers….gets paid when he is asleep too.

    I private party would have to save, after paying income taxes, about $48,000,000 for a guaranteed government-insured income from 10 year Treasury Bills that are paying about .5% in this low-interest market. ( I think I got that math right. It is a shocking number.)

    Unsustainable pensions are entwined with the law enforcement system. There is an abuse of the pension system and misuse of Qualified Immunity.

    On Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 2:26 PM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: “Thanks Jim, for sending me that piece from Cal > Matters about the “pension spiking” case that went before the California > Supreme Court. I had heard something about the Alameda County Sheriff’s > Association trying to overturn the 2013 Public Employee Pension” >

    • Juanita Sumner August 1, 2020 at 7:04 am #

      Thanks Scott, the math is shocking.

      I’m glad you will appeal the court’s decision. Next time you are in town please let me know!


  1. Mark Orme’s sales tax increase measure: With salaries well in excess of $100,000/year, the people who really make and implement these decisions are well-insulated from any negative impacts. In fact, they directly benefit from any increase in taxes | - January 6, 2022

    […] Q & A for your district rep: What is CTO? CTO = “compensated time off” Take a cup of OT and add a cup and a half of CTO, pour in some STO, and you get an IOU Look at the calisthenics these people go through to spike their last year’s earnings and, subsequently, their pensions. […]

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