Letter from John Azevedo

The editorial comments on public employee retirement benefits was a little misleading.  Santa Clara city police officers don’t receive a cash salary of $185,000 annually.  Perhaps a senior officer or those in management may attain such a salary when combining the value of, base pay, over-time, pay incentives  (i.e… Education, bi-lingual pay) as well as benefits such as health care, vacation and sick leave.

The idea that an officer can retire in 25 years at 90% of their salary is not possible.  To be a police officer you must be at least 21years of age.  That along with maximum retirement benefits calculated at 3% per year, adds up to 30 years of service and a minimum of 51 years of age to retire @ 90%.  Those who do retire on a state retirement program and have also contributed to Social Security have their So. Sec. pay-out reduced (penalized)approx. 40% because, they receive another government retirement benefit.  Often ignored is the fact they have also contributed into both systems through payroll deduction.

Public safety retirements benefits are appealing. However, should you choose a career in public safety for the salary and retirement benefits, you have made an error in career choices for both yourself and the community you serve…it isn’t about the money.