CHP chief was making nearly $500,000 before retiring

December 26, 2012

California Highway Patrol division chief Jeff Talbott retired last year making $483,581 in salary and benefits. [Bloomberg]

Talbott, 53, retired as the highest paid officer in the 12 most-populous U.S. states, according to a Bloomberg investigation. Upon retirement, he began collecting an annual pension of $174,888 and took a job running the public safety department at the University of Redlands in Southern California. Talbott also received $280,259 from the state for accrued leave and vacation time.

Many California law enforcement officers, like Talbott, retire early and can even double their annual earnings due to union negotiated benefits, overtime and a lack of enforcement of limits on accumulating unused vacation time.

One state employee collected a $609,000 check last year at retirement for accrued leave. California’s liability for state workers’ unused leave has more than doubled since 2003, rising from $1.4 billion to $3.9 billion in 20011.

More than 5,000 California troopers made at least $100,000 in 2011, more than in any of the 12 states surveyed by Bloomberg. Forty-four made more than $200,000.

In North Carolina, only three troopers earned more than $100,000. And, Talbott received almost four times more in total pay than top paid officer in North Carolina, who received $122,950 in 2011.

Starting pay for CHP officers is $67,764 a year, with a 5 percent annual increase until reaching $84,036. North Carolina troopers’ starting salary is about $34,000.

California secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Agency Marty Morgenstern said the state has inappropriately compensated many of its employees.

“I think some of our rules were negligent, and I think people were allowed to build up overtime pay who shouldn’t have been, who accumulated leave time and furlough time,” Morgenstern said.

During the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the CHP union, The California Association of Highway Patrolmen, won large concessions from the state.

In 2006, California began granting highway patrol officers a stipend equal to 3.5 percent of base pay for time spent on activities before and after shifts, such as putting on protective gear and inspecting weapons and vehicles. The same year, the state also doubled the extra pay for officers working swing and night shifts.

As benefits increased, so did CHP salaries. CHP officer salaries rose 2.7 percent in fiscal year 2004, 12.1 percent in fiscal 2005 and 5.6 percent and 5.7 percent in the following years, according to the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Prior to Schwarzenegger’s term, Governor Gray Davis granted the CHP union a pension package in 1999 that allowed officers 90 percent of their salaries after 30 years of service.

CHP Officers hired before September 1, 2010 each receive 3 percent per year of service at age 50. Those hired after September 1, 2010 receive 3 percent at 55.

Due to pension changes during Brown’s current term, new employees of the CHP will receive 2 percent at 50 or 2.7 percent at 57.

In North Carolina, where pension costs are much lower, state troopers receive 1.82 percent per year of service after 30 years of work.


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Think about a manager or CEO in the private sector…. Now. If there were close to 100 offices and close to 10000 employees. How much would that guy/gal make. That is about the size of the Chp Making 180k a year is chicken $hit compared to what a private sector CEO would make. The paid leave is time that is owed to him. He went to work and didn’t abuse the time off he should be able to take every cent that is his. As for his other job… That is another job so if he is getting paid good for him. Think of the taxes this guy pays also. Gov brown already signed into law a limit that the most you can get from govt retirement is going to be 110k. By the way no line staff employee would come close to that

You should do your homework. The commissioner of the CHP runs the show. Under the commissioner there are the chiefs. I think there are 7 divisions within the state and each one has a division chief along with several assistant chiefs. This individual was not running the show. If his retirement is normal for the CHP one would probably find out that within the last year or so this individual was transferred. Why? So that the state, you and I, could pay for his moving expense. Up until a few years ago most of these chiefs

“fell out of a chair” and retired with a medical retirement and settlement.

Nothing new here, It’s just business as usual.

Wouldn’t do their job for ten time the money. God Bless them for the gift they give us everytime they show up for work.

These people stand in the front while people like me feel protected waaay back in the back.

Isn’t it time we start ratcheting down these wages and benefits. I don’t think any state administrator should

make more than our highest elected official. This guys making twice as much as the President and three times as much as our Governor??? The concept -You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours – is killing our country and taxpayers.

LE many many lots of highly paid rank and file

Called “Entitlements” just like Social Security

Nothing anyone can do to correct the existing beneficiaries

Just as more tax is disguised in inflation, there will be lots of kicking the cans down the road in disguised in the future.

I’m surprised that Accrued Leave is not yet a commodity which is bought and sold on the stock market. The idea that leave can be banked beyond a 12-month period is difficult to comprehend. If you earned it, then use it. It’s purpose is to give the employee a chance to regain sanity & balance in their lives, not to provide yet another perk which can be banked indefinitely to pad retirement.

Time to get real, public employee unions.

This employee is a “manager”. The people looting the system are not members of a union. They are the management class. I have to agree with Jorge, the CHP is a class act.

Generally, it is poor educate to count someone elses money but every government employee is directly funded by YOU, your money.

As for the CHP, my opinion is that they are a class act. For the tax dollars spent, by comparison to other gov servants, their compensation is nothing special. Although I have a great displeasure with gov processes, legal bs and a list of contradictions that we fund, State Highway law enforcement is drenched with serious risk, only to yeild a pot of gold for those who make it to the other end of the rainbow.

I believe smooth sailing for big bucks is not the norm, the un-intended consecquences are the real norm for this profession.

At some point in time the general public is going to have to wake up and demand that government quit being self serving and start serving the people. This is just an example of what is going on in all phases of government. Start with Solomon and App in Paso Robles, McKinney and his cronies in Atascadeo, Marx and Lichtig in SLO and you ought to get the picture who is being served. And by the way, how are your pot holes doing?

And still the outrage continues but the party in favor of bigger and more government is elected to power once again. Its clear in today’s world its all about us pee on workes, union strength, getting even and putting greedy corporations and their money grubbin upper echelon in their places. Strangely enough though the SEIU’s of America are Obama’s and the Dem party’s number one fan and supporter. So which is one has to ask? Screw the over paid government workers or screw big business? Maybe it just screw everyone as long as its not in your back yards.

So no real comment on the article except to do a partisan slam with your wide brush.

How unoriginal and boring, it’s constituent’s like doggin that has helped the gop “do nothing congress” get so much done.

Oh you were asking about congress screwing, that is a family values issue…..

So no real justification for the piss poor job done, and California being at the bottom of the barrel? How boring and and unoriginal. Bipartisan? me ? No, both parties suck equally and are responsible for whats obviously a separated country. So take your wide brush, dip it in color them gone paint and stroke both away would ya.

Mr. Holly, you sound like a Libertarian.

I’m pro union- this is outrageous! This is some sort of fraud perpetrated on the people of California. We cannot support these expenses.

I would like to see a top to bottom evaluation of what we can afford, and determine what is right. The bloated pay of college presidents, top cops (like this guy and the rip off Lisa Soloman in Paso) and perhaps many others is out of touch with current finances. The contracts our elected and appointed officials approve (like the rip off we got with the SLO City Manager contract) are untenable.

Endless rip offs for the electorate, and often performance is below par. The buck stops with those who create and approve the contracts- quit giving everything away to these leeches! Maybe we should outlaw double dipping and any future pay reduces the pension.

If you had a real free market, you would not have to “determine what is right.” The market would take care of that.

But you won’t get a free market without a revolution, though.

If you ever wondered why the state is broke….look no further.

And to be perfectly clear, it’s the people on top who are causing this mess. Jane secretary and Joe ditch-digger do not have the power or connections to pull off this scheme; their pensions are modest also.