Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s got the biggest California state pension of them all? In San Diego County, apparently it’s El Cajon’s William Garrett, at $254,745.72 a year, or $21,228.81 a month, according to numbers released by the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a nonprofit group founded earlier this year to push for public pension reform. Ex-GOP San Diego City Council candidate April Boling is on the board and Libertarian Richard Rider is an advisor.
Garrett, currently president of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District governing board, retired as El Cajon city manager in September 2004 after eight years in the job. At that time, he was the highest-paid public employee in the county, with a salary of $233,586, according to a survey by the San Diego Business Journal. When Garrett arrived in El Cajon in February 1996, after working as city manager for seven years in Corona, he was paid just $117,500, according to a newspaper report at the time. Now 65, Garrett began his career in Corona in 1975. Reached by phone this week, he said he “fully understands the concerns being expressed” by public pension critics, but noted that the amount of his pension was “based on the rules that were in effect when I retired.”