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CoCo Sheriff Warren Rupf will retire

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 at 2:10 pm in Contra Costa County.

Sheriff Warren Rupf

Sheriff Warren Rupf

Veteran Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf informed his top management team a few minutes ago that he will not seek re-election next year.

The announcement is not unexpected although it would not have been out of character for him to change his mind.

A 45-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, where he started as a deputy and was appointed to the top job in 1992, Rupf has been talking about retiring for months. He has even recruited and publicly supported his potential replacement, Concord Police Chief Dave Livingston. (Livingston even has a campaign web site: http://www.livingstonforsheriff.com/)

The 66-year-old lawman had intended to announce his retirement several weeks ago but held off until after the fervor had died down over one of the biggest crime stories to hit Contra Costa County, the appearance of kidnapped victim Jaycee Dugard in a house near Antioch and the arrests of her alleged kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

Rupf tells me that he would have retired as soon as six years ago but felt he was in the best political position to hammer the Board of Supervisors on questions of funding and resources for the Sheriff’s Office.

The prospect of an open seat will likely attract other candidates although Livingston has some obvious advantages: Rupf has been singing Livingston’s praises for several years and as a result, he has had ample advance notice in order to put together a campaign.

Rupf was appointed sheriff in 1992 after then-Sheriff Dick Rainey was elected to the California Assembly. The sheriff was elected in his own right in 1994 and has never had a serious opponent.

The sheriff’s term ends when his replacement takes the oath of office in January 2011. The sheriff’s candidates will run in the June 2010 primary. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the primary, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff in the November 2010 general election.

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  • Thomas Portue

    Lisa:

    I believe there will be more to tell about Warren Rupf’s
    policies and deriliction of duty towards the citizens of Contra Costa County. I’ve already told you about my ongoing complaint against Warren Rupf, Captain Daniel Terry and the judge who I believe conspired with them against my family. Contact me again if you’d like.

    Tom Portue

  • http://CCTimes Suzanne Angeli

    I believe that Sheriff Warren Rupf was an outstanding sheriff and did a good job for all his years with Contra Costa County. He has always treated people with respect and dignity and fought hard for the sheriffs department. It is his time to retire to enjoy life with his family. David Livingston will make an outstanding Sheriff, as Chief of the Pleasant Hill Department he served admirably and it was a great loss to Pleasant Hill when he went to Concord. I worked closely with David while being Mayor of Pleasant Hill and know that he will do an excellent job and fight hard for the sheriffs department.

  • John W.

    Okay, I have to ask. What will his total pension be — the one he already collects from his career as a deputy plus his new one from his time as elected sheriff? At least the new one starts at normal retirement age. I’m guessing the pension(s) amount will be enough to survive.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    John,

    As I understand the county’s retirement rules, Rupf will not collect any additional pension payments as a result of his years of service as an elected sheriff.

    Rupf was appointed sheriff in 1992. He began collecting his pension in the late 1990s when he became eligible, based on his age and years of service with the county, for 100 percent of his pension. His annual pension was $201,123 as of July.

    In addition, Rupf earns $256,000 a year in salary and benefits as the county sheriff.

    When Rupf completes his final term in office next year, he will no longer earn the sheriff’s salary but will continue to collect his pension.

    The sheriff is one of several elected Contra Costa elected officials who collect both pensions and the salaries of their respective offices, including Auditor-Controller Steve Ybarra and District Attorney Bob Kochly.

    The question of double-dipping presents an interesting dilemma.

    It makes no sense to penalize county employees who choose to run for elected office after they retire. After all, these folks could just as easily take paying jobs in the private sector and keep their paychecks out of the newspapers.

    But it just doesn’t sit right with a lot of people who think a pension ought to be paid to people who no longer work.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Since elected County officials are all eligible to participate in the County’s 1937 Act retirement system, Sheriff Rupf may have chosen instead to have a portion of his Sheriff salary & the County’s matching portion placed in a couple of 457 plans (which are similar to 401K plans).

    Warren Rupf has been an outstanding County Sheriff and someone I consider a friend. He has earned a well deserved retirement and our thanks for his 45 year career with the Contra Costa County Sheriffs Office.

  • John W.

    Lisa, thanks for the clarification. My question/comment was more about the pension system and not so much about the sheriff personally. I agree that it does not make sense to penalize a public employee who retires and then is elected to office. In fact, I disagreed with your paper over its criticism of UC Berkeley when its police chief was allowed to re-up as chief after taking her pension lump sum. She shouldn’t have been expected to, in effect, work for free. And the university shouldn’t have been deprived of her services if she was the best possible person for the job. The problem is not the individuals but the overly generous pension plans. If public pensions were more comparable to the few remaining private sector defined benefit plans (50-60% of final 5 years after 30 years service, and reduced for early retirement — roughly 5% of the full pension amount for each year under 65), double dipping would not be a problem — appearance-wise or substantively. In the case of front-line public safety employees, where the physical demands preclude working until normal retirement age, there should be some differential. But not 3/30, and not for people who have been shifted to desk jobs or promoted to high ranking positions that don’t have the physical limitations on continued employment.

  • Gisela K.

    I wonder what happened to the deputy who interviewed Garrido, a registered sex offender, for 30 minutes because of a neighbor’s complaint about a woman and children living in the backyard, and didn’t even enter the house or follow up about Garrido. What dereliction of duty! Is he still on the force or did he retire on disability because of “stress”?

    It is really galling how one finds out about the incompetence of police depts in cases that become high profile. One has to wonder how much incompetence or malfeasance never surfaces because the cases are of no public interest.

  • Notta Been

    It’s way past time that Rupf retired. For those of you who seem uninformed about the corruption under his reign, I hope you will soon find out even some of the facts.

    For one, why are there so many unsolved murders in the unincorporated Pittsburg/Antioch area? What actually was done in 1992 when Jaycee was sighted only 2 miles from Garrido’s house? Why did the officer who went to Garrido’s house after being told by the caller that he was a Registered Sex Offender who had children around and possibly people living in tents, simply tell Garrido he should be careful because those tents might be a code violation? What about when the Fire Chief of Antioch was charged with many counts of child molestation, but he ended up retiring with his pension and the DA just dropped the charges although the judge says there was more than enough against him to take it to court – oh, wait, that Fire Chief tried to hand in Lisa Norrell murdered who was someone he was related to. Lisa Norrell was murdered, along with several prostitutes just a few miles from Garrido. Some within 3 miles of him. Garrdo was having wild drunken parties in his back yard with bunches of men breaking bottles and visiting tents back there. No one put this together? The Sheriff’s office was just in there with others on a sex offender sweep in 2008. Do they cross check records. What a travesty and this paragraph is only about a very limited aspect of the travesties during Rupf’s reign.

  • Gary m.

    Why don’t you arm chair quarterbacks get off the couch and get a damn life…Rupf was helluva of a Sheriff. Have a nice day.