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CalSTRS wants $117K back from Wentworth

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POSTED March 19, 2014 12:58 a.m.

Retired San Joaquin County Office of Education Superintendent Frederick Wentworth is appealing the action taken by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to reduce his retirement pension from $291,732 a year to $234,929.

Furthermore, CalSTRS wants Wentworth to return the $117,040 in overpayment as a result of that pension reduction.

That deduction in retirement benefit came as a result of CalSTRS finding that Wentworth “received more than legally entitled.” Additionally, the same CalSTRS report indicated that the reduction in Wentworth’s pension would translate to a future savings of $568,033.20.

It could not be confirmed as of press time the exact date when Wentworth’s pension was reduced; however, a letter from a CalSTRS legal analyst to Wentworth responding to his request for administrative hearing was dated Aug. 13, 2012. It was a response to a letter he sent to CalSTRS’s legal department on Aug. 7, 2012 requesting an administrative hearing. Wentworth’s letter read in part: “I would like to request a hearing with the administrative law judge to review my case…. Please let me know what the next steps are. I will represent myself at the hearing.”

A CalSTRS legal analyst told the Bulletin on Tuesday that no date has been set for the administrative hearing requested by Wentworth. The hearing will be open to the public by state mandate. Wentworth was also advised that he could either represent himself at the hearing or he could retain an attorney at his own expense.

A telephone message to Wentworth seeking comment has not been returned as of press time.

An email sent to the Bulletin also contained a copy of a “press inquiry” email sent to CalSTRS Newsroom from the San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 5, 2012. The Chronicle inquiry quoted an Associated Press report which stated that “According to CalSTRS, the compensation review unit has identified 270 suspected instances of spking, investigated 175 cases and confirmed 28 instances of inappropriate benefit enhancement.”

Responding to that request, CalSTRS Media Relations Manager released “12 of the 28 whose cases have been adjudicated.” One of the 12 mentioned in the list was Wentworth who had the highest in “future savings.” According to that report, Wentworth’s “pre-preview benefit” was $24,311 a month, and his “post-preview benefit” was $19,577.45 for a future savings of $568,033.20.

The rest of the 12 cases were Norbert Genis of El Rancho USD, Henry Escobar of Livingston USD, Jeffrey Hubbard of Newport-Mesa USD, Sandra Shakelford of Ventura COE, Phillip Pendley of Hemet USD, Richard Bray of Tustin USD, Rosa Perez of San Jose Evergreen CCD, Curtis Dubost of Taft UHSD, Eunice Nash of So. CA ROP, Michael Crilly of Jefferson Union HSD, and Patricia Jaurequi of San Juan USD. Wentworth had the second highest pre-preview monthly benefit; that distinction went to Tustin USD’s Richard Bray whose monthly pension was $24,570.50. A distant second in future savings was San Jose Evergreen CCD’s Rosa Perez with that figure posted at $220,809.60.

Wentworth retired in 2008 and was succeeded by another Mantecan, Mick Founts, who announced late last year that he is not seeking another term of office and will retire at the end of this school year in June.

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