Modesto has reached a new settlement for $240,217 with its former solid waste manager after the California Public Employees’ Retirement System objected to the original one.
The original settlement was reached in November and called for Solid Waste Manager Jocelyn Reed to stay on paid leave through December 2018 and continue to earn credit toward her pension. The new settlement paid Reed upfront and ended her employment with the city.
CalPERS reviewed the original settlement and determined it could not be used in calculating Reed’s pension. If she had retired in November when the original settlement was executed, her pension would have been roughly 75 percent of her final pay vs. roughly 80 percent with a December 2018 retirement date.
The new agreement was reached early last month. The $240,217 payment includes her salary, health care premiums and a pension payment. It cost Modesto $50,462 for Reed to be on leave under the old settlement, bringing the city’s total cost to $290,679.
Acting City Manager Joe Lopez said the old settlement would have cost Modesto $318,666 in salary, pension contributions, health care and other compensation had Reed remained on paid leave through December 2018. The previous settlement would have ended if Reed – who turns 65 on Saturday – had gone to work with another government agency.
Before reaching the first settlement, Modesto placed Reed on paid leave in April 2016 as it investigated her. Under terms of both settlements, Modesto agreed not to release its investigations unless required by law, and Reed dropped her allegations – which included harassment, gender bias and retaliation – against the city. She also agreed not to speak about the settlements or issues related to them.
Despite several California Public Records Act requests filed by The Bee, the city has not released its investigations. That means the public cannot decide for itself whether the city conducted a competent and complete investigation and why it agreed to pay a manager it had once investigated.
CalPERS reviewed the original settlement at The Bee’s request. Lopez said it was an oversight by the city not to determine whether that settlement would meet with CalPERS’ approval.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316