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A tale of public pensions: How a $60k salary becomes $4m in payments

After more than two decades working in Miami Beach’s 911 call center, Pamela Kindle wanted her golden parachute.

Her $60,000-a-year job would provide a modest pension for retirement, but Kindle wanted more. So, she launched into a “marathon” of overtime, racking up an extra 50 hours of work a week during her final two years on the job.

When she retired in 2002, Kindle did so with a $150,000 taxpayer-supported pension. Yearly increases have pumped up her pension to more than $182,000.

“I earned my money,” said Kindle, 63, who says the city helped create her pension by perennially understaffing the call center. “I worked hard.”

By the time she reaches her mid-70s, the city’s pension fund will have paid her $4,074,000 in her golden years.

Scores of South Florida city employees, particularly police and firefighters, have recently retired in their mid to late 40s or early 50s with six-figure pensions, the result of generous pay and benefits packages that are now costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year.

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