Unions Object to Recouping Overpayment of Pensions From Members

The pension plan administrator for the city of San Jose employees has known about the overpayments due to miscalculations since 2011, but the overpayments continue.

IFPTE Local 21, a union representing 11,000 scientists, engineers, and other public-sector professionals in the Bay Area of California, has partnered with AFSCME Local 101 to protest the possibility that retirees will be asked to make up about 1.5 million dollars in overpayments due to a payment miscalculation.

While Retirement Services discovered the payment miscalculation in 2011, it did not stop overpayments to retirees, nor was notice given to any affected retirees that they may have received overpayments based on this error. Notice was finally made to retirees in April 2018, yet overpayments continue.

The San Jose Retirement Board is considering its options, but one is to require full repayment of overpayments including interest per year by each retired employee or surviving beneficiary.

IFPTE Local 21 member and Community Services Supervisor Olympia Williams said in a statement, “While mistakes happen when managing a large complex payment system, we expect a higher level of responsibility from the Director of our Retirement System.  At no time should overpayments, that are now affecting widowers living on a partial fixed income, be hidden from potentially affected retirees, like what happened in this case.  When the error was discovered, and you knew the cause of that error, it should have been possible to identify anyone who potentially could have been affected. This is the responsible and transparent thing to do. 

We will ask, as City of San Jose current employees, and future retirees, that the pension board mitigate the impact to those who were overpaid because of the 7-plus years of lack of notification.”