New Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who recently took heat for opting in to the county’s pension system after waging a tough-on-pensions campaign, today will propose that all supervisors forgo their pensions.
Cutting executive compensation is a concept that has been gaining momentum across the country in the wake of the scandal in the city of Bell in nearby Los Angeles County and as public budgets tighten up.
Yet in Orange County, supervisors plan only to discuss the issue, opting not to actually take any action.
Ironically, Nelson is taking aim at pensions for elected officials because of his own mistake in signing up for a pension.
Nelson ran a campaign that was critical of how politicians of the past have overseen the county’s pension liabilities. He easily won election in the June primary, beating a host of challengers to finish out the term of former Supervisor Chris Norby, who moved to the state Legislature last year.
In filling out his human resources paperwork, Nelson said that county staffers gave him forms that erroneously told him joining the county pension system was mandatory.
When it was disclosed that Nelson had taken a lucrative pension, his conservative supporters protested. Nelson found a way out, pointing out that he had signed up for the pension before actually being sworn in to office.
Today, he and Supervisor Pat Bates are the only supervisors who don’t take a county pension. Supervisors John Moorlach, Bill Campbell and Janet Nguyen do participate in the county pension system.
— NORBERTO SANTANA, JR.