Tag Archives: CalPERS

Ride the Tiger?

15 Aug

The first question I would have for Reanette Fillmer is what’s a  CALPELRA Labor Relations Master (CLRM) ?



Reanette Fillmer


t: 530.520.5775
f: 415.678.3838


Ms. Fillmer is a human resources consultant with the firm and has over 25 years of experience in public and private sector employee relations and human resources. Ms. Fillmer works with our public sector clients on a variety of human resources and personnel issues including: integrated disability management (FMLA/CFRA/PDL/ADA/FEHA), employee and labor relations, arbitrations and mediations, organization management, strategic planning, terminations, policies and procedures review, and recruitment. Her years of experience in both the public and private sector make her a valuable addition to the firm’s consulting team.

Related Experience

As a Human Resources Director with the County of Tehama, Ms. Fillmer oversaw all aspects of labor and employee relations including bargaining, mediation, arbitrations and PERB hearings, EEOC claims, contract interpretations, settlement agreements, and disciplinary issues. She also provided advice to all County departments regarding regulations and policies related to the Civil Rights Act, EEOC claims, ADA and FEHA considerations, workers compensation, recruiting standards, staffing and employee issues and investigations of complaints. Prior to taking a position with Tehama County, Ms. Fillmer served as the Human Resources Manager and Payroll Manager for the Sacramento Superior Court.

Community Activities

  • Member of CPAAC
  • Member SHRM
  • Member of Tehama County Employer Advisory Board
  • Past member of Board of Directors for CSAC EIA
  • Served on CSAC EIA Primary Workers Comp Committee
  • Served on Legislative Committee and the Benefits Committee


  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • CALPELRA Labor Relations Master (CLRM)

Mark Sorensen – did you sign contracts that raised the EPMC from $6.5 million to $14 million?

4 Mar

Kelly sent me a link to State Controller John Chiang’s website regarding public salaries – it’s got the data for every county and city in California. I looked at years 2009 – 2012, and I saw something for the first time – from 2010 to 2011, when the city first started shedding employees due to the impending bankruptcy, the amount of employee “share” paid by the city of Chico went from $6.5 million to $14 million. 

I had to ask Mark Sorensen, who was elected to council in 2010, how that happened.

Now, here’s something I just noticed yesterday – did you sign contracts in 2011 that raised the amount of pensions and benefits paid by the city from about $6.5 million to over $14 million? That would have been just before I started understanding all that pension time bomb stuff, I was not watching. At the same time we were getting rid of employees, our pension/benefits cost more than doubled, how did that happen? I remember you talking about  this in your blog – 



It looks like you were advocating paying 80 – 90 percent of employee costs, but saying we’d save money?  – am I getting that right? Please explain – thanks, Juanita

I think I hit a nerve, cause it took him almost a week to get back to me. I know he’s busy, but when he wants to talk, you can get him just about any time. Now all the sudden he didn’t want to talk. And when he did answer me, he accused me of making it up.

“…contracts in 2011 that raised the amount of pensions and benefits paid by the city from about $6.5 million to over $14 million?” 

I don’t know how you dream this stuff up.  It just confuses an already confusing pile of information. 

What’s with the defensive tone? I asked him a question, he comes back telling me I make stuff up?  He accuses me of confusing the issue with too many questions – aha! Now we know who’s really behind the new rules for committee meetings – Mark Sorensen and Brian Nakamura are running the city while Scott Gruendl is out road-raging over his sister’s death. They want the public OUT! Because he knows the curtains are getting pretty thin, and pretty soon everybody is going to know what’s really going on Downtown, and who is really pulling all the strings. 

And then he throws down the toothpicks with this confusing ramble – with all the different type faces and font sizes – this is what I get for asking a simple question of a man with red hands:

Pension costs alone have been at about $10-11 million per year for many years (employer contribution rates were increasing slightly, while the number of employees was decreasing). Take a look at the Calpers annual valuation reports for the city of Chico’s two pension plans. Those reports contain the exact pension cost numbers. Though, you must manually add the EPMC (employer paid member contribution), which has been around $1.8 million per year, and now rapidly going down to $0.0 per year. Other benefits costs have not changed much in recent years. 


There were no new city of Chico labor contracts beginning in 2011. All were set to expire in 2012. 


My blog entry that you mentioned references a modification by way of a “letter agreement” to one contract. That being with the IAFF. 


The primary impact of that letter agreement was to STOP a 4% raise to the firefighters as was scheduled the 2007 contract. That contract was being modified in order to halt the 4% raise.  


The history of pay and benefit increases can be found in the following document, beginning at page 7.  




This year will register very significant decreases. Is it enough? No, but it is about as much as could be obtained if necessary from the California Public Employee Relations Board. 


It took many years to build this financial debacle, it will take years to re calibrate it, but particularly take a good look at what occurred between 1997 and 2002. 

What?  So I asked him that:

I got it off Chiang’s website Mark, I didn’t dream anything up.  Look for  yourself – benefits paid by the city doubled from 2010 – 2011. I know CalPERS started demanding more, I guess I should ask – why weren’t the employees asked to pay it? Why did you folks continue to approve contracts that required the taxpayers to foot the bill for these outrageous pensions and benefits agreements? They’ve still continued to get  raises, by the way, we’re not blind. 


It doesn’t look good that six of you are on public salaries with packages of your own to protect. 
You’re accusing me of confusing this mess by asking questions?  These contracts are written purposely to confuse anybody who hasn’t been to law school.  Nothing you say makes sense – 

(Mark said) Pension costs alone have been at about $10-11 million per year for many years (employer contribution rates were increasing slightly, while the number of employees was decreasing). Take a look at the Calpers annual valuation reports for the city of Chico’s two pension plans. Those reports contain the exact pension cost numbers. Though, you must manually add the EPMC (employer paid member contribution), which has been around $1.8 million per year, and now rapidly going down to $0.0 per year. Other benefits costs have not changed much in recent years.  


What ?  Why would I go through those calisthenics when I have Chiang’s numbers?  You didn’t answer my question – did you sign contracts that raised the amount of EPMC from $6.5 million to $14 million? –  JS

We’ll see if he answers, but I think I got an earful already. 

Chico Taxpayer’s Association off-schedule meeting this Sunday, October 13, 9am.

11 Oct

Chico Taxpayers Association will be meeting this Sunday, off schedule, because last Sunday’s regular meeting had to be postponed. 

We’ll continue our conversation about the city employee contracts, which are now up for discussion, in closed session, between Chico City Council, their consultant, and $taff.  I am hoping to get people to write letters to council asking that they hold the line and ask employees to pay their own benefits. I’ve asked Mark Sorensen and Sean Morgan to offer to pay 9 percent of employee benefits and ask employees to pay the rest, but I haven’t had any answer from them.  I fully expect them to roll over for the cops like my dog when he wants a belly scratching. 

We can also yak up the latest efforts to raise local taxes – CARD and some guy named Matt Olson. I invited Olson to come to our meeting to discuss his plans but he refused. I think it’s because, he doesn’t have a plan, but we might want to keep an eye on him.  Same for CARD – although the group I saw was pretty lame, there were a few individuals at that CARD meeting that seemed pretty determined. 

So, I will be picking up the library key today, and I hope to see you down there at 9am Sunday.  

CARD takes consultant’s advice, sends out messengers to brighten it’s image before the public

2 Jul

Today Chico Area Rec and Parks District, aka CARD, is starting a public relations campaign suggested by a consultant they hired to run a survey a couple of months back, trying to “guage,” or more likely create support for a new bond or assessment on our property taxes. 

The consultant came back with a “negative” –  not enough support indicated for any kind of tax to float CARD.  For one thing, only 1800 of 10,000 surveys were even returned – you can interpret that however you want, they sure did. I interpret that as, people don’t even CARE about CARD, much less want a bond on their homes.

The reasons listed by the consultant – summarized from respondents’ comments: “bad economy; recent passage of Measure E, prop 30, and other tax increases; and ‘government spending’”.

Of course she didn’t elaborate on “government spending.” You can speculate there too. I will speculate that at least some people either read my letters to the editor or found out for themselves – the aquatic center held up as a prize for your correctly-answered survey was nothing but a rainbow – it disappeared before the survey had even been completed. Board member Ed Seagle sat right there at a meeting and said they were wrong to even suggest they had anywhere near enough money to even think about building an aquatic center, and that notion dried up quicker than spit on a griddle. But not as loudly – they never took out a press release or anything, they let it ride silently. They knew I’d sent those letters, and Seagle was just doing damage control, covering his own ass if you ask me.  

Seagle of course didn’t mention the $400,000 “side fund pay-off” to CalPERS for THEIR pensions. They act like they were buying something for us with that money – Scott Dowell keeps repeating, like some kind of snake handler, “we saved $40,000 with that pay-off.” Big fucking deal, Preacher Man. You saved YOURSELVES $40,000, you ripped the taxpayers off for $400,000, and counting. CARD staff does not pay one thin red dime toward their own pensions.

The consultant had some wisdom to offer the board and staff. She said they needed to get out  there and create a more positive image of CARD. I’d say, “an image at all.” How many people don’t even know CARD exists until they need an “after school program” to dump their school age kids in when school’s out?  That’s where CARD gets most of it’s “program revenues” – they get most of their money in property taxes and new home fees, but of the revenues they generate themselves, those after school programs are their Blue Ribbon Cash Cow. But recreation superintendent Monica Jameson loudly announced at one meeting, she doesn’t have enough staff to supervise your children properly – she’s going to have to turn hundreds of kids away. Good luck finding somewhere to dump your spawn this summer.  And, if you are “lucky enough” to get in, keep an eye on your own child – she said she only has two adults to supervise over 300 children in one program, and some 500 signed up! 

It’s going to take a lot more than some little gal sitting in the park handing out “free” flying discs and other stuff paid for by the taxpayers to untarnish CARD’s reputation with me. 

UPDATE:  I had errands to do in my car yesterday, so drove by Hooker Oak Park at 10:50 to see the CARD gal and get some of that free bling – she wasn’t there. “Almaguer will be at Hooker Oak Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 2;”    We drove all over the parking lot at Hooker Oak, looked around the playgrounds and the ball fields – nobody but the usual $5,000/year maintenance workers.   There was no place she could have been that we wouldn’t have seen her. If I’d rode my bike over there in that heat, I would have been pissed off. Why would she say she’s going to be there for a certain time block, and then right in the middle of it, nothing?

I’ll drop her a note.

CARD delving into community park-love effort

Staff Reports

Posted:   07/01/2013 12:55:40 AM PDT

Click photo to enlarge

Marketing coordinator Lisa Almaguer shows off the flying discs she’ll be giving away at parks…

CHICO — Lisa Almaguer will be staking out a corner of several Chico parks through July, hoping to talk to lots of people about what’s behind their feelings for Chico parks.She’ll be at Hooker Oak Park on Tuesday morning.

This is the unfurling of “I love my parks and recreation” campaign, which she is pursuing as a way to reinforce how important play and parks are to people. July is National Parks and Recreation Month, designated by the National Recreation and Park Association.

Almaguer works for the Chico Area Recreation and Park District, which owns Community Park and the others she plans to visit.

While she knows park users have an appreciation of CARD parks — because they’re already playing there — Almaguer hopes her campaign will bring a better understanding of how valuable parks are in people’s lives.

She’ll be asking park users what they love about the parks, writing down the comments on slips, and then displaying them on bulletin boards at each park. There will likely be a report to the CARD board as well.

The national association’s turnkey campaign came with minimal costs, so CARD decided to adopt it in July.

“Basically, we’re looking to find out why parks are vital to the users,” said Almaguer, who handles marketing for CARD.

Almaguer will be at Hooker Oak Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 2; at DeGarmo Community Park from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 9; at Wildwood Park from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 18; and at Community Park

from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. July 27.Initially, she’ll have give-aways like flying discs and stickers, and by mid-month, she’ll also have sunglasses, water bottles and more.

Last week to get your Utility Tax Rebate – let them know what you think of a sales tax increase while you’re at it

22 Jun

Friday is the last day you can take in your Utility Tax rebate application. I will have to check in with the Finance Department and see what the totals were, once the dirt settles.  Even if you won’t get much back, it’s good to go down and let them know you don’t want them to have the money.

I can’t get over how desperate city council and $taff are to drum up revenues, any way possible, whilst holding us all off  by the forehead on the subject of paying their own share. Between the seven of them, council receives over $130,000 in health benefits, for which they pay two percent of their salaries – about $1,000. Yes, all of them split that $1,000, and walk away with health insurance packages ranging from $8,000 in value to over $21,000. Staff meanwhile spends about $2 million a year, of our money, just on the “employee’s share” of their pension premiums. The full cost of their benefits and pensions, according to a hastily departing Jennifer Hennessy, is over $10 million a year

Brian Nakamura says we have to cut about $7 million from out budget. Well, I see the solution right in front of his face – PAY YOUR OWN SHARE BRIAN! 

Brian Nakamura, with a $217,000/year salary, pays 4 percent of the premium on his 70 percent pension, and we pay the rest of his share, plus another 20-something percent (this figure goes up every two years or so), and then the other 70 or so percent rides the stock market. That hasn’t been working out lately – CalPERS needs a 7 percent return on their investment and they have been lucky to get 1 percent. So, they keep sending letters upping  the contribution for employers. They don’t care how much of that contribution comes from employees. 

It’s council’s job to determine how much the employee’s should pay of their pension premium. The current 9 percent “employee share,” which, of course, they don’t really pay, is “only a suggestion.” Our city council could ask the employees to pay the entire share demanded by CalPERS. Instead, they take the full 9 percent only from the lower-paid classified staffers, while management types who make upwards of $100,000/year get away with paying 4 percent and neither cops nor fire pay anything. 

But Mary Goloff has the nerve to stand up in front of the public, after what we heard about the misappropriation and outright mismanagement that’s been going on for the last six to eight years, and ask us to pay an increased sales tax? 

Is she on the hooch again? 

And then there’s Tom Lando, who walked unelected into a  board position at Chico Area Recreation District (CARD) because nobody else ran. Lando has made the rounds of many public agencies, oftentimes receiving a pretty nice “consulting fee” for serving as interim director of agencies like Feather River Recreation District. But what I see him doing, really, is networking these agencies – like the Chico Chamber, Enloe Hospital, CARD –  in support of raising taxes on the public to pay off the ever mounting pension debt at CalPERS.  His $143,000/year pension depends on keeping CalPERS afloat. (See Jan 30, 2012 “Here’s why Lando wants to raise your sales tax!”)

So, he keeps bringing up this sales tax increase idea at CARD, at every meeting we’ve attended. I don’t know if CARD can put a sales tax increase measure on the ballot, but a group of like-minded agencies could approach the city about it, and then run a pretty expensive campaign to pass it. 

We need to let them know, we will oppose it. We need to show them we’re ready to take out our wallets to fight it, just like Measure J. And we need to let them know, we’re ready to take our wallets to Paradise, Red Bluff and Oroville, Redding and Sacramento, to spend our sales taxes elsewhere. And, we’ll be shopping online. When we shop online, we may pay California sales tax, but Chico gets nothing, and Chico retailers suffer. 

So, write those letters, please. Write to the papers, but write to the players too –

  •  Mayor Mary Goloff at mgoloff@ci.chico.ca.us
  • Tom Lando at tlando@chicorec.com

If this campaign starts to pick up there are other people we should write to – including the full council, the chamber of commerce, DCBA, and CARD. We can’t just sit here while they run their propaganda machines against us. Get busy writing those letters. 





Chico Taxpayers Association meets tomorrow, Sunday May 5, Chico Library on Sherman Ave, 9am

4 May

I hope we can get a good discussion going on the local efforts to raise taxes, all inspired by CalPERS recent demands for “side fund payoffs” of pension premiums.

What CalPERS is after, is money to keep their pension payments flowing, so people like Tom Lando don’t sue them. And then there’s the CalPERS salaries – about a dozen top execs, making between $350 – 500,000 a year, plus, yeah, FULL BENEFITS!

How stupid are we? Let’s talk about that – tomorrow, Chico branch library, 9am.  The public is welcome.

Letter: Chico Council has allowed salary spike

1 Apr

I wanted to get back to posting people’s letters to the papers, keeps them circulating, gives us a chance to talk about  them. This letter from Stephanie Taber ran about a week ago in the Enterprise Record.  

Chico Enterprise-Record

Posted:   03/26/2013 12:09:27 AM PDT

The city of Chico “has 106 people earning more than $100,000,” according to your Wednesday editorial and your database at www.chicoer.com/salaries.That’s not a surprise if you’ve been paying attention but that takes time and effort, not something a whole lot of people seem to want to do including our long-term City Council members — both present and those who have recently left office.

I’m not sure either of our two newest members, Tami Ritter and Randall Stone, have any inclination to curb the city’s incredibly generous benefit package. But then I don’t sit in on closed-door sessions so I don’t know what direction they have given to our still new city manager. After all, if the council does not bother to give direction, nor ask what the financial impact is of any proposed memorandum of understanding (contract) with any of the unions or contracts made with upper management, or ask where the funds to pay for that and our infrastructure too are, well you can see how personnel costs just kind of get way up there. And the potholes too.

It is the council’s responsibility to lead, to give direction. The city’s fiscal crisis is not the fault of the economic downturn, nor the current city manager, Brian Nakamura. If there is fault it lies with the former city management staff and a council unwilling to tackle hard fiscal issues instead of feel-good issues: nuclear bombs, human slavery, plastic bags and corporate personhood.   You get what you vote for, plain and simple.

— Stephanie Taber, Chico