- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2007

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — William Donald Schaefer’s five decades of public service in state and Baltimore city government have added up to a taxpayer-funded pension of $165,000 a year, records show.

With the pension, Mr. Schaefer will earn more money out of office than he did on the job.

Mr. Schaefer, a Democrat, served as a Baltimore City Council member and mayor and spent two terms each as governor and comptroller. Given that long and varied career, his sizable pension is warranted, said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.

“He didn’t get into public life for a pension,” said Mr. Miller, a Calvert and Prince George’s Democrat. “He would much rather stay in office and not receive any pension at all, but the voters chose otherwise.”

Mr. Schaefer, 85, ran for a third term as comptroller but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Peter Franchot, who was sworn in yesterday.

By law, Mr. Schaefer was barred from collecting his $75,000-a-year gubernatorial pension while he drew a salary as comptroller, from 1998 until this month. But he continued to collect his $75,410 annual city pension and his military pension during his time as comptroller, according to city retirement system records and Mr. Schaefer’s spokesman.

Mr. Schaefer retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve after 37 years, but information about the amount he receives as a military pension was unavailable.

His eight years as comptroller add about $15,000 a year to his pension money, according to the state’s formula for calculating retirement benefits.

Through his spokesman, Mr. Schaefer declined to talk with the Baltimore Sun about the pension.

His pension is substantially larger than what will be received by two other longtime Maryland political figures — former Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes and former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., both Democrats.

The National Taxpayers Union, a government watchdog group that tracks pensions of members of Congress, calculated that Mr. Sarbanes will draw a pension of $119,214.

Mr. Curran said he was told that his pension will be $54,800 a year. The benefit was calculated based on his 20 years in the General Assembly, four years as lieutenant governor, 24 years as attorney general and four years of military service.

Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union, said Mr. Schaefer receiving a substantial pension was not surprising.

“For that many years of public service, he obviously has a large retirement benefit coming,” Mr. Sepp said. “But do his constituents get that kind of pension for putting 40 or 50 years into their jobs? Not likely.”

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. won’t receive nearly as much as Mr. Schaefer and won’t get pension benefits right away. Because he served only one term, Mr. Ehrlich’s gubernatorial pension will be worth $50,000 a year, and state guidelines dictate that he won’t get it until he turns 55, six years from now.

Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, is eligible for an $11,637 annual pension from his eight years in Congress when he turns 62. He would have been eligible at age 60 for a pension from his years in the legislature, but he decided at the time not to participate in the plan.

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