SACRAMENTO (AP) — California's government pension fund is slashing by two-thirds the $17,089 monthly retirement check for the former director of the association representing local school boards because his pay raises were awarded in secret.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System is reducing Scott Plotkin's pension, saying his final pay should not be counted toward his retirement calculations because it was inflated without public notice or review .
Plotkin was executive director of the California School Boards Association, a statewide nonprofit organization that receives dues and fees from school districts and county offices of education throughout California, which are funded with taxpayer money. The association lobbies on behalf of school boards, provides professional development and is a resource on policy and legal issues.
Plotkin retired in 2010 amid an uproar over his high pay. Tax filings showed Plotkin was paid $562,333 from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. The following fiscal year, he earned $452,339.
KCRA-TV in Sacramento first reported the questions surrounding Plotkin, including his charging thousands of dollars at area casinos on the association's credit card.
Plotkin says he will appeal the decision, which lowered his monthly pension to $6,024.
"CSBA has been in compliance with the rules in place over the past decade and will follow the normal procedures to make that case," Plotkin told the Bee.
CalPERS officials said they will seek reimbursement for any overpayments.
"We won't tolerate pension abuse, and if we believe the pensions were improperly awarded or policies were not followed, we will take steps necessary to recover funds," pension fund spokesman Brad Pacheco told the newspaper.
The audit found that Plotkin's pay increases were not approved in public meetings and that the association failed to provide any public record of its votes on salary increases.
The school association's attorney, Keith Bray, said the organization is working with CalPERS to resolve the matter. The association's position is that it is not bound by state open-meeting laws, he said.
Several school districts, including Sacramento City Unified, dropped their memberships for a year in response to the revelations.