165 STATE EMPLOYEES GET $80,000 ANNUAL RETIREMENT BENEFITS OR MORE

Including first lady, 165 get more than $80K in WV state pensions

By Joel Ebert, Staff Writer and Samuel Speciale for the Charleston Gazette/Mail

West Virginia’s first lady, newly retired from her longtime position as the president of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, is now drawing more than $110,000 in annual retirement benefits, according to state pension data.

Joanne Tomblin, who retired in June after 15 years at the helm of the college, is set to receive $111,260 in annual benefits, or nearly $9,300 every month. Before she retired, the school paid Tomblin an annual salary of $166,336.

Tomblin, 62, is one of 165 state pension recipients who draw more than $80,000 in annual benefits, according to information obtained by the Gazette-Mail through an open-records request. That group, which includes public employees, teachers, state troopers and judges, collectively receives nearly $1.3 million every month, or more than $15.5 million each year.

Tomblin’s annual benefits make her the 17th-highest earner and one of 40 state pension recipients who top $100,000.

West Virginia has nine retirement systems — one each for public employees, judges, deputy sheriffs, emergency medical workers, and municipal police and firefighters, and two each for teachers and state police. Some are closed for enrollment, but the nine systems serve more than 140,000 active employees and retirees.

: While each plan is different, with employees contributing varying amounts to their respective funds, all enrolled state workers — whether they have worked for 25 years, five or are newly hired — have a pension of some size waiting for them when they retire.

For instance, Robert Claus, a former state trooper, receives $113,153 each year despite only paying into the system for seven years, while Gail Hall, a former teacher who contributed for 54 years, receives $90,911.

Read the rest of the story   Including first lady, 165 get more than $80K in WV state pensions   By Joel Ebert, Staff Writer and Samuel Speciale for the Charleston Gazette/Mail