Grover Beach police chief to double-dip into taxpayer funds

December 17, 2014
Grover Beach Police Chief James Copsey

Grover Beach Police Chief James Copsey

Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey will soon receive a salary and pension simultaneously following a decision by the city council to employ him as interim chief after he retires later this month.

Copsey is set to retire on Dec. 28, making him eligible for his California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) pension. On Dec. 29, he will become Grover Beach’s interim chief at a monthly salary of $11,071.

California law allows Copsey to serve as interim chief while collecting a pension for a total of six months. His agreement with the city allows him to do so through June 15 or until a new chief is hired.

If a new chief is not hired by June 15, Copsey could serve an additional two weeks as interim chief while collecting his retirement checks.

The practice of collecting a pension while working for the government agency from which an employee retired has become commonly known in California as double-dipping. Several local public officials have done so in recent years, including former San Luis Obispo County undersheriff Steve Bolts, who received between $640,000 and $772,000 in combined salary and retirement pay in 2010.

Earlier this year, Copsey also increased his pension by becoming Grover Beach’s assistant city manager, in addition to the city’s police chief. The additional position pays $13,230 a year, which increased Copsey’s base salary to $144,192.

The practice of promoting a public employee or granting a sizable pay increase shortly before retirement is commonly known as pension spiking.

In September, California Controller John Chiang released an audit of 11 state and local government agencies where pension spiking was occurring. The audit indicated that taxpayers and local government are on the hook to pay nearly $800 million from legal pension spiking over the next two decades. [Los Angeles Times]

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just wait until the MFP get Diablo to shut down early, then we’ll see how the the county is able to continue to pay these pensions.

When the Left gets what it wants….it’s always a ugly disaster.

But it also provides a lesson to watch the Liberal induced disasters.

Unfortunately for the taxpaying public, and for professional development, this is perfectly legal and often utilized.

Regardless of how good or how bad the employee may be, this practice can be rather demoralizing for those rank and file who hope someday to promote.

Copsey is one of the good guys. Always is approachable and interested in hearing legitimate concerns from residents.

There should be more cops like him.

While $144K is no small sum, it is significantly less than what many other Central Coast cities pay their top cop.

Grover got a good man, and a good bargain.

Since you say it is less than many other cities that just means the other cities much more over what should be paid and Grover Beach was still paying too much but not as much as many other cities.

Slo pays rank and file coppers MORE than that! Firefighters too, often make horrendous amounts of money, and also have the time off for a second job.

I love the new technique of, “Hey, that poorly-run agency gives so much more than we do, we now have a precedent to over-pay our people!” – then the next lame agency can point to them, and so on.

It used to be, “my equivalent in the private sector person makes way more than me” – even if one was to ignore the whole performance/benefit to the employer thing, this is not normally true anymore and hasn’t been for years. Decades, even.

Yet….if you call bullshit on this and dare talk about how Police and Fire are robbing and burning the tax payers, you are attacked and called crazy. folks….its time to put the public servants in their place or just sit back and watch it all come crashing down!

I would not limit it to just police and fire. Pretty much every agency, every career government “servant” falls into this category.

Sure, they’ll all point to the token, low-man-on-the-totem-pole and say, “see? not everyone is making six figures in pay & benefits!”

True, but then those who fight over-paying public employees do the same thing in reverse and uses the most over-paid to bash everyone who has a government job no matter if they are getting $15/hr for raking leaves or not.

You don’t like this? Then get out and vote! This is all legal, put in by the people you voted in! Chief Copsey is doing just what any smart person would do: maximizing his income legally. Whining here by non-GB residents is laughable!

agreed. i used to live in a Navy town…DD was what it was all about

No one that campaignes on the idea of cutting government salaries or benefits will ever get elelected around here. Its gonna go to till we are all busted.

“Chief Copsey is doing just what any smart person would do” So when the wall street big shots and bankers were making millions with taxpayers money that would also be smart for them since it was legal at the time? but it still doesn’t make it right or what an ethical and moral person would do.

Most people who do not like this DO get out and vote. The problem is there are a lot more people dependent on government largess than there are who do not depend on the government. The old 51% cake and circus thing…

Turnout in the recent elections in SLO county was barely over half the registered voters, and a lot of eligible people don’t even register. In SLO town, our new council members were elected by less than 15% of the registered voters. People need to get out and vote.

This is exactly what the cash strapped city needs. By doing this, the City is actually SAVING money. They no longer have to pay benefits, just a flat wage. CalPERS pays his pension, from money that was contributed during employment, only, and invested wisely, and the city only pays his monthly wage. Seems like a good deal for both sides.

I actually don’t have a big problem with the double dipping if it works out better for the city. I wonder about the pension spiking though. Did the city consider the long-term costs in allowing this or just see it as a way to save money for the current budget?

wow, was i EVER STOOPID for going into private industry. go work for someone that can tax someone else

All I can say is disgusting! Hey, how about NOT retiring until a new chief is found!!!

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. We all knew this when they created the whole assistant city manger job, we knew retirement was soon to follow. City council had plenty of time to find a replacement, and they failed and now the taxpayers get to pay more again.

Check it this was also done by the new city council so any hopes of them changing the way things are just done in government is gone. The residents can thank their new mayor.