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Old Mendocino County Courthouse Around 1915

California County Pension Debt


Mendocino County's Pension Debt

Immediate Causes

Immediate Causes of Unfunded Pension Debt

Choices -

Immediate v. Fundamental Causes

Inadequate Investment Profits

Not Enough Money Invested

The "Excess Earnings" Fraud

Retained Profits Even Worse

Actuary Built In Debt

Other Immediate Causes


First - Medical Report, Then Investigation

Think of Mendocino County as a wounded patient brought into the hospital - out cold. Clearly the patient is in bad shape.

So's our County. As diagnosed in the previous two sections Mendocino County's Pension Debt and Impact of Debt unfunded pension debt is having a huge negative impact on our County. In fact, our County is the most damaged of the 21 California counties with County Pension Funds (see Massive Write-Off of County Net Worth.

What happened?

A Patient Out Cold

There are two levels of answers to that question. The first is the immediate level - What was the specific wound the patient received?. Was the patient shot? Stabbed? Beaten?

The second is much more complex - was this a crime or an accident? Who did it - what was their motivation - did they knoew they were inflicting these wounds?

This section answers the easier first question - like a medical exam. What wounds did the patient suffer? What are the wounds that so damaged our County?

Medical Report - the Immediate Cause for the Patient's condition

Three Main Immediate Causes

Three things each caused roughly a quarter of Mendocino County's Unfunded Pension Debt:

  • The Pension Fund's rate of return was below target
  • The Fund didn't have enough money to invest
  • Use of "Excess Earnings" to pay Retiree Healthcare

A bunch of other things caused the last quarter.

Three Main Immediate Causes of Mendocino County's Pension Fund

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