Charlie Walters, the assistant sheriff in charge of the jails on the 2006 night that John Chamberlain was killed by inmates, is now the county’s second highest paid pensioner after opting for retirement in 2008 in the wake of a criminal grand jury probe, prosecutions and firings in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

As of December, Walters was getting a $19,429.73 pension check from the Orange County Employees Retirement System, according to a list released today by OCERS of around 500 county retirees with monthly pensions of more than $8,333. (A copy of the list for each month in 2009 is attached to this story.)

Walters is five slots above former Sheriff Mike Carona, who was forced to resign in 2008 after being indicted by the federal government on corruption charges.

Carona’s December check was $18,121.47.

Orange County’s highest-paid retiree is Gary Streed, former director of finance for the OC Sanitation District, who receives $19,701.52 each month.

OCERS was forced to release the list after losing a lawsuit brought by a pension watchdog group, the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. The Orange County Register also pressed the courts to force OCERS to comply with current case law, which dictates that the amounts paid out to public sector retirees are public record.

In all, taxpayers paid 515 former top employees $5.4 million in December through the retirement system. Each month, as more employees become retirees, the list, and the price tag, expands.

A quick review of the names and amounts listed nets an interesting trend:

All the top pension earners are former top level managers and CEOs within the county administration, public safety, the sanitation district and the courts.

The lowest paid of the top 25 pensioners — former Planning Director Tim Neely — received $14,856.58 in December.

Former Assistant Sheriff Doug Storm received $15,092.68. Former Deputy District Attorney Bruce Patterson received $15,141.30. Just above Patterson is former Sheriff Brad Gates, who got $15,293.74.

From there, the list features:

Patrick Walker, former Deputy Fire Chief for OC Fire, $15,305.38.

James Enright, former Deputy District Attorney, $15,610.37.

Joan Steiner, former Assistant Chief for OC Fire, $15,854.86.

John Hewitt, former Assistant Sheriff, $15,968.71.

Jan Sturla, former director of District Attorney Child Support Services, $16,061.19.

Herb Nakasone, former director of Public Works, $16,405.91.

Adrian Kuyper, former County Counsel, $16,424.93.

Timothy Simon, former Captain for Sheriff’s Department in charge of South County operations, $16,515.77.

Michael Giannini, former Assistant Public Defender, $16,636.91.

Steven Bishop, former Assistant Sheriff, $16,884.60.

Chip Prather, former Chief for OC Fire, $17,010.51.

Dan Martini, former Assistant Sheriff, $17,023.66.

Larry Leaman, former director of Social Services Agency, $17,383.56.

Juliette Poulson, former director of Health Care Agency, $17,903.71.

Mike Carona, former Sheriff, $18,121.47.

Blake Anderson, former general manager for OC Sanitation District, $18,448.65.

Alan Slater, former Courts Administrator, $18,643.27.

Ben De Mayo, former County Counsel, $18,892.82.

Michael Schumacher, former County CEO, $19,348.77.

Charlie Walters, former Assistant Sheriff, $19,429.73.

Gary Streed, former director of finance for the OC Sanitation District, $19,701.52.


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