Cleveland Ohio: Top Secret Government Pensions Revealed

CLEVELAND— Taxpayers United of America (TUA) revealed government employee wages and pension estimates for Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.  Ohio’s government employees are not only receiving generous salaries, but when retired, many will become pension millionaires.  Ohio officials refused to release pension figures, so the pension payouts are close estimates* for this report.

“Why are Ohio lawmakers hiding their pension information?  Are they more concerned with protecting abusers, than reforming a system that holds taxpayers hostage?” asked Christina Tobin, TUA Vice President.

“I have hand delivered letters to Gov. Kasich and each member of the Ohio General Assembly, asking for transparency regarding individual pension amounts, as well as meaningful pension reforms that will be both fair and sustainable.”

“Cleveland area taxpayers struggle through this recession with an average household income of $50,000, while government employees really rake it in for as many as 31 years of retirement benefits.  The maximum annual Social Security annual benefit is $22,000, regardless of how much an individual earned in their working career.”

“Cleveland Police chief, Michael C. Mcgrath can look forward to an estimated lifetime pension payout of $11,388,337, that is $242,305 annually, based on his current gross of $336,535.”*

“Cleveland Police lieutenant, Edward J. Lentz had annual gross wages of $310,503 and looks forward to an estimated annual pension starting at $223,562 with an estimated lifetime payout of $10,507,421.”*

“Cuyahoga County superintendent, Terrence Ryan had annual gross wages of $194,474.  Ryan will enjoy $5,495,836 in estimated lifetime pension payouts or at least $152,662 annually.”*

“Cleveland government teacher, Peggy A. Mendelson grossed $123,777 annually and stands to receive an estimated beginning pension of $81,693 with a lifetime estimated pension payout of $4,248,035.”*

“Ohio government pension systems are making millionaires out of public employees at taxpayer expense. Ending pensions for all new government hires and replacing with social security and 401(k)s would eventually eliminate unfunded government pensions. If current government employees would increase contributions toward their pensions, taxpayers would save billions of dollars.”

The Buckeye Institutes’ Diehl Research Fellow, Adam Schwiebert added, “Ohio lawmakers must be forward thinking and implement comprehensive reforms.  Anything less is fiscally irresponsible and shortchanges taxpayers and government retirees in the long term.”  Schwiebert is the author of The Buckeye Institute’s comprehensive study of the Ohio government pension systems, “Hanging by a Thread”. “Let’s knock any politician out-of-office, who cut bad deals with union bosses and corporations!

Republican or Democrat, what’s the difference with numbers like these?”

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*For Police and Fire employees 31 years with retirement at age 54, others as noted. Assumes dividend (COLA) averages 3% per year. Assumes current salary is same as retirement salary. Est. Total Pension Payout 30 years at age 54, 25 years at age 60. No SS included in the above numbers, for Ohio public pension retirees. Wage limit of $325,000 for pension calc. i.e. salaries over $325K are not used in pension calculation for all employees hired before 1994, $225,000 after 1994.

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