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Sonoma County employee perks pay off in retirement

Shortly before he retired in early 2011, Sonoma County Supervisor Mike Kerns had been making an annual salary of $134,097.

But the county pension that he now receives is based on a much higher figure, his final earnings of $174,857.

The 30 percent boost came from Kerns cashing out $12,850 in accrued administrative leave and the inclusion of nearly $28,000 in other non-salary pay and benefits the county owed him.

Kerns worked 12 years for the county, so his annual pension of $53,542 is not one of the six-figure payments that has fueled public outrage over county retirement benefits. But like the top earners getting those pensions and hundreds of other former county employees, Kerns benefited from a system that allows workers to increase their retirement checks by including a wide range of pay and benefits outside of salary.

He makes no apologies.


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