CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nine managers in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Government have retired in their 50’s to take a six-figure annual pension which will cost taxpayers as much as $3.7 million each.
A taxpayer advocacy group, Taxpayers United of America, obtained the names and figures under an open records request and released names and dollar amounts to call attention to what it says is an overextended system that cannot sustain itself.
“The system needs reform,” said Rae Ann McNeilly, Director of Outreach for the Chicago-based group. “It’s a matter of mathematics. We cannot pay people not to work for longer than they were paid to work.”
Among the public employees expected to cost taxpayers the most:
• Jim Schumacher, who retired as Deputy City Manager in Charlotte at age 57, earns $114,367 a year from his pension and is projected to get a lifetime payout of $3.75 million.
• Greg Clemmer, who retired as Deputy Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, at age 56 earns $117,401 a year from his pension and is projected to get a lifetime payout of $3.7 million.
• Jim Pendergraph, who retired as Mecklenburg County Sheriff at age 57, earns $101,314 a year from his county pension and is projected to get a lifetime payout of more than $3 million.
Taxpayers United is encouraging lawmakers to raise mandatory retirement ages for incoming public employees and to shift retirement systems from open-ended pensions to 401(k) programs that limit taxpayer exposure as employees live longer.
But the group knows it has its work cut out for it as one out of every eight employees in North Carolina has a public sector job and represents a powerful voting block.