SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The City of San Jose is facing a $1 million mistake and it’s telling retirees — including former police officers and firefighters — that they’re going to have to pay up.

Some Bay Area workers learned Tuesday night they were overpaid, seven years ago.

A city audit revealed the city messed up, overpaying retirees almost $1 million.

It’s a problem that will mean less money for about 300 retired San Jose police and firefighters.

David Vossbrink, the City of San Jose’s director of communications, said, “The miscalculations were based on incorrect data that was being furnished from our payroll system to the retirement system.”

The city says the miscalculations started 20 years ago.

The city first found out about the problem in 2009 and only let retirees know about it last month.

We asked city officials, why?

Vossbrink said, “It’s taken us several years to replace the incorrect data with a complete set of new data so the calculations could be completely accurate.”

The Association of Retired San Jose Police Officers and Firefighters says the city acknowledged it made a serious mistake.

In a statement Tuesday night, association President Mike Alford said, “…Our association is working to ensure that the mistake is promptly fixed in a legal and fair manner and that no retiree be placed in financial hardship because of the city’s mistake.”

But the city says it has no choice.

“We are required by law to make up any over-payments so the retirement funds are intact,” Vossbrink said.

Repayments will range from a few hundred dollars to thousands.

So, who is to blame?

Vossbrink said, “If the problem originated 20 years ago. The people who might have been responsible at the time aren’t here anymore. So our goal is not to find fault but fix the problem.”

The City of San Jose plans to host a series of public meetings inviting all affected retirees to talk about how they plan to repay the funds. The next one will be on January 5th.

The city says some retirees also were underpaid. They will now be reimbursed for lost wages.


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