San Mateo County doesn't have enough money to cover promised retirement costs that could total $2 billion, not the $1 billion estimated by the agency managing employees' pension fund, a civil grand jury concluded in a report released Monday.
The county's unfunded pension liability is the "elephant in the room," San Mateo Civil Grand Jury Foreman Timothy Johnson Jr. told The Daily News on Monday.
"This problem is so huge. A billion or two billion," Johnson said. "All the numbers are appalling."
The San Mateo County Employees' Retirement Association (SamCERA), which handles the county's retirement program, told the grand jury that as of June 30, 2012, the unfunded liability figure was about $1.08 billion. But that assumes the association's assets will perform at a level which hasn't been reached in recent years, according to the civil grand jury.
However, when taking into account actual investment performance and current economic conditions, the grand jury projected a shortfall closer to $2 billion.
Editor's note: Here is a link to the report (PDF): Web Link