Truth in advertising 

There are few things taxpayers hate more than paying a fat pension to a retired bureaucrat, especially if that bureaucrat is out-going Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood. Hood's recent announcement that the city will be in a $26-million hole over the next two years while she prances off to Tallahassee makes paying her a monster pension even less palatable.

Which is why people were shocked when one of the candidates who wants to assume her office, advertising executive Pete Barr, stated in candidate forums that Hood will get a $126,000 pension from the city, even as she collects a salary from the state. By comparison, Barr said, former Mayor Bill Frederick's pension came to a miserly $18,000 a year.

"Let's be realistic," Barr huffed. "We're using real people's money."

The trouble is, Barr isn't using real numbers. Hood's pension will be less than half the number Barr is throwing around -- about $53,700, according to Steve Valis, Orlando's labor-relations bureau chief.

Hood, who turns 53 in March, can begin collecting $4,475 per month as soon as she turns 55. That figure is based on 21 years of employment as a city commissioner, including 10 years as mayor.

"For comparison's sake, $53,700 is about equal to the pension a police sergeant makes after 25 years of service," Valis says.

Frederick, who served 12 years as mayor, makes less than Hood because he served fewer years in office and because the formula to calculate his pension was based on a lower percentage of his paycheck.

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More by William Dean Hinton


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