Orange County Pension Hit by Data Glitch

April 21, 2010 ( – A data-collection glitch at the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) has resulted in the program’s unfunded liability being underestimated by $228 million.

An Orange County (CA) Register news report said the county will have to increase its pension contributions in the future to make up the extra shortfall.

The newspaper said OCERS CEO Steve Delaney explained that data provided to the system’s actuary to use in determining the program’s ongoing costs only included workers’ base pay and not premium compensation including hazardous duty pay for police officers and firefighters as well as special payments to other workers.

“An agency such as the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is more likely to find its employees at times in unusual and stressful situations that will require premium payments,” Delaney said.  “An agency like that would be more heavily impacted by finding that those premium payments had not been correctly forecast into the agency’s pension contribution rates.”

Since members of the deputy sheriff’s union don’t contribute toward their retirements, for example, the county will likely need to pick up the difference in coming years, the newspaper said.