Bellotti’s $490,000 PERS

12/11/2011: Under the NCAA cartel, none of his players will get a dime. Fascinating, carefully researched story by Ted Sickinger in the Oregonian on how Mike Bellotti came to be collecting $490,000 a year in PERS, most of which will ultimately be paid by Oregon taxpayers:

The statutes governing PERS include a loose definition of what constitutes “salary”: “the remuneration paid an employee in cash out of the funds of a public employer in return for services to the employer.” For employees hired after 1995, federal tax rules have limited the final salary reportable to PERS — $245,000 in 2011. But that doesn’t apply to Tier One PERS members such as Bellotti.

What pumped up his base pay were contract provisions that gave him a $325,000 share of the university’s endorsement contract with Nike and Oregon Sport Network each year, as well as a piece of the Ducks season ticket sales.

Bellotti’s contract defined endorsement and network deals as “Opportunities to earn outside income.” But because the university handled them as a transfer of its own revenue, the endorsement money is included in his university pay, and his benefit calculation.

Where will this money come from? Oregon taxpayers. Another subsidy for athletics:

… At retirement, Bellotti’s post divorce account balance was only $300,000. The university made its own contributions over the 21 years he was employed. But combined, they won’t come close to covering the $5 million benefit reserve that PERS established to cover his payments. Moreover, that reserve may underestimate the costs, depending on the state’s investment returns and Bellotti’s longevity.

To make up the difference, PERS draws on benefit reserves of its state and local government rate pool, which includes institutions of higher education, community colleges, state agencies and cities. Over time, all members of the pool will pay for the benefits, giving them less money to hire teachers, cops or provide services.

No wonder the rest of the state hates us. So, has Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt – soon to be UO’s Chief Financial Officer – been letting this rip-off continue for AD Rob Mullens and for Chip Kelly and the other coaches? Seems like the new federal rules may prohibit it. Or perhaps they’ve figured out a new scam. Go Ducks!

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22 Responses to Bellotti’s $490,000 PERS

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad that Kitz had his priorities straight and got bent out of shape about all of those competitive raises. Excellence in edumacation is his number one goal!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bellotti’s daughter, fresh out of college, got a job with the Holden leadership center. Paid as an OA, not even a search.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So not only is Bellotti collecting a public employee pension but he is also getting tier 1? Tier 1 is usually for high risk positions like cops and firefighters. Someone please let me know what public service anyone in athletics is providing. Can I call Chip Kelly and get him to provide me directly with a public service beside directing me to the ticket office or Duck athletic fund? This is outrageous and legislation should be enacted to stop any athletics department member from obtaining PERS benefits. These are athletic coaches we are talking about here. These are not cops or fire fighters.

  4. Anonymous says:

    According to the following, the different tiers have to do with hiring date, not job risk.
    http://apps.pers.state.or.us/pers238/Content/benefit_comparisons.htm

    “Tier One covers members employed before January 1, 1996; Tier Two covers members employed on or after January 1, 1996 and before August 29, 2003”

    Are you also arguing that only cops and firefighters should have a retirement plan?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, I don’t see how he could be getting these pension benefits if the corresponding contributions weren’t paid into PERS.

    Even if this were possible, am I to assume that UO had the discretion to make this decision? i.e. have an employee covered for a huge pension without UO making the requisite contributions? It just doesn’t make sense, I don’t believe it, at least, I would need to know how it could happen and who had the authority to make such a decision.

    The article said that under Oregon law, all of the income he was getting — $1.4 million or so in some years — was considered “state pay.”

    I can easily see how the pension might be as big as it is if the corresponding contributions were being made — but not if they weren’t!

    By the way, “Tier 1” means state employees hired prior to a certain date. It has nothing to do with being a firefighter etc.

  6. Anonymous says:

    A clarification of what Tier 1 actually is:

    Tier One member
    A PERS member who began his or her six-month waiting period before January 1, 1996.

    Tier Two member
    A PERS member who began his or her six-month waiting period on or after January 1, 1996, but before August 29, 2003.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The PERS Tiers have to do with an employee’s service date, not a job’s level of risk. An employee working for a PERS participating employer before the implementation of PERS Tier 2 would be Tier 1. Bellotti’s service date makes him Tier 1.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What, no mention of Berdahl’s $110,000 PERS payola? I’m sure his new contract (there is a contract, right?) will deduct the money he’s already receiving from his new salary target.

  9. Anonymous says:

    For IRS reasons all pay to UO employees, regardless of source of funds, goes through UO payroll system. The assessment rate for retirement in effect at the time is ‘claimed’ from the funding source at the time. This is a calculation that is applied based on the specific individuals retirement plan elections, but cannot entirely anticipate the full cycle of the individual’s overall cost to the retirement plan. The assessment rates for various plan elections are posted on the brp.uoregon.edu website. I’m no economist, but perhaps UOmatters could comment on the universal effect.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Are you also arguing that only cops and firefighters should have a retirement plan? “

    No and I would have said that had it been the case. I am saying that athletics staff should not be getting PERS. Public employees actually providing a public service should. And firefighters and cops are a hell of a lot more deserving of a solid retirement plan than a football coach.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why in the world would Berdahl’s pension (not “payola”) be deducted from his salary? He earned the pension, right, and he’s earning the salary, right?

  12. Anonymous says:

    “I am saying that athletics staff should not be getting PERS. Public employees actually providing a public service should.”

    Athletics programs at public schools are public services.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m wondering more how Chip Kelly gets a raise each year. Is he the only University employee allowed to do that?

  14. Anonymous says:

    It was mapped out in his contract years in advance. And nobody from the governor on down is going to try to force him to “agree” to change it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Science postdocs have salary increases mapped out years in advance in grant budgets, signed off on by the VPR. And yet research labs are not able to actually give the increases to the post-docs.

  16. Anonymous says:

    has anyone even thought about chip kelly’s pers? it is a scary thought. Surely the ‘independant’ athletic department are supposed to pay into these retirement programs

  17. Anonymous says:

    “Athletics programs at public schools are public services.”

    Sure, if we’re talking high school and under considering those coaches are also teachers. To say that Mike Bellotti was a public servant of any kind is ridiculous. Same goes for Chip Kelly and the rest. If you seriously believe UO athletics staff are public servants, then I know a guy named Bernie who’d be happy to invest your money for you.

    This practice of giving athletics staff PERS retirement needs to end. PERS is getting administered with *tax payer dollars*

    Let athletics fund their own employee retirement instead of sucking from the funds of actual public servants and the tax payers of this state.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Alas — I have a situation like that right now — those postdoc salary increases mapped out in the grants are not contracts with the employees. If they were, they would have to be granted. But they’re not, sorry.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I do see the difference between grants and contracts, but I just think it is unfair. There is no way we can get a salary increase put into their contracts… why can Chip get it put into his?

  20. Anonymous says:

    “If you seriously believe UO athletics staff are public servants, then I know a guy named Bernie who’d be happy to invest your money for you.”

    Another Oregon resident that believes their crazy viewpoint is shared by all. Believe me, there are a lot of people that think college athletics is a public service. Besides, the facts speak for themselves: athletics staff are public employees and as such, PERS is entirely appropriate. If you don’t think the staff should be public employees since it’s just so obvious and you’d have to be a fool to think otherwise, then let’s see your privatization effort! Good luck with that!

  21. Anonymous says:

    “why can Chip get it put into his?”

    Because Chip is a hot commodity – if we didn’t put those raises into his contract then someone else would. If you’re a postdoc that’s a hot commodity then you could do what Chip did – negotiate a better deal. Does this mean it’s unfair not to put raises into every postdoc’s contract? I don’t think so.

  22. Anonymous says:

    “Another Oregon resident that believes their crazy viewpoint is shared by all. Believe me, there are a lot of people that think college athletics is a public service. Besides, the facts speak for themselves: athletics staff are public employees and as such, PERS is entirely appropriate. If you don’t think the staff should be public employees since it’s just so obvious and you’d have to be a fool to think otherwise, then let’s see your privatization effort! Good luck with that! “

    Gosh, let me guess where you work…

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