Supervisor candidate Dan Stegink to focus on county’s pension liabilities

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley’s challenger in the June 5 election is a Pacifica Planning Commissioner who says the county’s unfunded pension liability is a major reason he got into the race.

He says Horsley is the “poster child” of that issue because he’s double dipping.

Dan Stegink, 50, points out that Horsley promised in 2010 that he wouldn’t take his $215,000-a-year pension if he was elected to the county Board of Supervisors, a job that back then paid $120,000 a year.

He was elected and in 2012 flip-flopped, started taking both his salary and pension, an annual sum of $335,000 at the time.

“County pension debt is a ticking time bomb with over $11,000 of debt per household,” Stegink wrote in his campaign ballot statement. “As a career politician who sat in county office for 25 years Horsley won’t remedy it — he’s the poster child for double-dipping!”

Unfunded liabilities

San Mateo County, which has its own pension fund separate from CalPERS, has an unfunded pension liability of $11,151 per household, according to Stanford Professor Joe Nation’s 2015 calculations on his website pensiontracker.org.

Stegink said he will not vote to raise taxes or take a pension from the county. Horsley said in 2012, when he broke his 2010 campaign promise, that he needed to take a paycheck from the county due to the long-term expense of caring for his mother in law. Supervisors earn $136,336 a year.

The county government is run by five elected supervisors, each with their own district.

This year, supervisors Horsley and Carole Groom are up for re-election in District 2. Groom, of San Mateo, is running unopposed. Horsley, a resident of Emerald Lake Hills above Redwood City, represents the largest geographic area of the five supervisors, District 3, which includes the coastside as well as Atherton, San Carlos, Woodside, Portola Valley, Emerald Lake Hills and the portion of Menlo Park west of El Camino Real.

Multi-tasking employees

Stegink said one of his ideas to lessen the county’s pension debt is to have more employees work in different departments as needed so the county doesn’t need to hire as many people.

Stegink also wants to hire vendors to do work rather than county employees, who collect pensions. Other goals he has if elected would be to close the Ox Mountain Landfill near Half Moon Bay and to ban commercial trucks on Highway 92 during commute hours.

“Commercial trucks on 92 would plan their travel around peak congestion hours. Last month I spent 20 days watching heavy Ox Mountain-based trucks headed both directions on 92 creating a traffic bottleneck,” Stegink said in an email.

Stegink, 50, has lived in Pacifica for five years and lives with his two children and wife.

Stegink is a freelance medical software engineer and specializes in being able to track epidemics. Horsley did not respond to calls from the Post on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the race, but on his campaign website, Horsley says he has worked on trying to improve the housing situation by helping to oversee distribution of $64 million for housing projects.

He also helped get grants to help farmers on the coastside build more housing for workers, with four of those projects completed and three underway. As of yesterday, Stegink hadn’t filed any financial forms with the county’s election office. According to finance filings from Horsley filed with the county, he has raised $23,200 as of Dec. 31.

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