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California's 3rd District Court of Appeal has ruled that the county of Sacramento must disclose the names and benefits of 8500 retirees. The court ruled in favor of the Sacramento Bee, which last April sued the Sacramento retirement system under the state's public records act.

The county had previously denied the paper's request for the information, arguing that “the names or personal identifiers” of members were confidential, “constitutionally protected, private financial information[.]”

"The Bee submitted declarations from journalists describing rising public interest in public pensions," the decision says. "According to the [Bee's] declarations, the names of members are sought in order to investigate issues such as cashing out of vacation time or working overtime in the last year of employment, either of which can result in so-called 'pension spiking,' instances of 'double dipping,' where a person receives a pension and salary, instances of 'triple dipping,'where a person receives a pension, salary and unemployment benefits in one year, and other controversial pension practices."

The L.A. Times is reporting that as a result of the ruling, Ventura county will be releasing its pension data.

No word yet from the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association, which has also opposed releasing names and numbers.

Here is the full ruling and the Times story:

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C065730.PDF

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pension-ruling-20110517,0,771528.story

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