The city of Oakland hired Teresa Reed to be its new fire chief Wednesday, continuing a trend of former San Jose public employees finding work with nearby municipalities. Deanna Santana left San Jose to become Oakland’s city administrator last summer.
But Reed’s change in employment, after retiring from the San Jose Fire Department less than two weeks ago, appears to be just one example of why Mayor Chuck Reed (no relation) and other city officials in San Jose are clamoring for pension reform.
Reed worked for the SJFD for 25 years. She will now receive 75 percent of her highest base salary with San Jose for the rest of her life, in addition to earning a paycheck as the top firefighter in Oakland. According to the city of San Jose’s website, Reed’s base pay in 2010 was $169,012. (That number might include other adjustments to her base pay.)
Several officials at San Jose’s City Hall were surprised to learn of Reed’s new job with Oakland, but all were supportive of the move.
“I can understand how some people might say that’s somehow a flaw in the system,” said David Vossbrink, the city’s director of communications, “but the fact that she goes to another agency does not change the fact that we have a pension system and she’s earned it.
“That would be true if she retired and spent the rest of her life on the beach.”
According to a weekly report sent out by City Manager Debra Figone on Jan. 20, Reed was the first black woman to join the city’s fire department. Figone’s report adds that a successor to Reed will be selected through an open recruitment process.
2010 Salary Report for Teresa Reed
Total Cash Compensation — $193,419
Base Pay ** — $169,012
Overtime — $0
Sick and Vacation Payouts *** — $10,272
Other Cash Compensation — $14,135
Deferred Compensation City Paid — $0
City Paid Medical / Dental City Paid — $13,650
Retirement Contributions — $63,210