Last week, OC Daily reported Westminster City Councilmember Margie L. Rice is receiving an annual CalPERS pension of $9,600.48 annually for a combined 35 years of service as Westminster mayor and councilmember, and Westminster School District Board of Trustees member – while simultaneously receiving a combined $40,465 in salary and benefits as a Westminster councilmember and elected director of the Midway City Sanitary District.
The question of whether this is permissible is now under review by CalPERS, according to Amy Morgan, a spokesperson for the state pension fund who told OC Daily via e-mail:
“Retirement law allows a retiree to serve as an elected official without impacting their retirement pay. However, CalPERS is conducting a review of her employment with both the City of Westminster and Midway to make sure it complies with law. This review may take weeks and is dependent on information from the employers.”
Councilmember Rice told OC Daily that her pension was for her 12-years as mayor of Westminster. She said that after retiring as mayor in November 2012, she met with CalPERS and was told the pension was for her mayoral service. Rice continued that she will have to stop receiving it if she is elected mayor this November.
When informed that, according to CalPERS, her retirement is actually based on her combined service as mayor, councilmember and school board member, Rice replied that CalPERS “should have said so back then.” The long-time Westminster elected official said she had asked state officials to review her pension situation, and promised to take the necessary steps to rectify the matter if it turns out receiving the pension is incompatible withe her current service as a member of the Westminster City Council.