A story about former Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan's disability retirement incorrectly reported that all city workers who retire with a disability can collect 50 percent of their final annual compensation tax free. That benefit is only available to public safety workers.
OAKLAND -- Former police Chief Howard Jordan has been approved for a disability retirement, officially ending his 24-year career with Oakland's Police Department and guaranteeing that a sizable portion of his six-figure annual pension will be tax-free.
Jordan's retirement last week came four months after he abruptly stepped down as chief, citing an undisclosed medical condition. Sources had told this paper that Jordan's decision to go on medical leave in May came shortly after he learned that the department's federal overseer was about to seek his ouster.
Jordan, who did not return a phone call Thursday, has never revealed the medical condition that led to his departure. His attorney, Alex Wong, said that Jordan had been examined by three different doctors, including one retained by the city, who all agreed that he had sustained a job-related injury that qualified him for a medical retirement.
"The bottom line is he does have an accepted industrial injury," Wong said.
Disability retirements have become commonplace for Oakland police officers. From June 2012 through the end of May, 19 of the 26 officers to retire from Oakland received a disability retirement, according to a city report. City officials did not respond to requests to comment on the high number of disability retirements, which can increase its pension costs.
Police union President Barry Donelan said Oakland's recent figures illustrated the dangers of working in California's most violent city. "Officers who make it to (nondisability) service retirements in Oakland are blessed that they made it in one piece," he said.
Retiring with a disability entitles public safety workers to collect 50 percent of their final annual compensation tax-free. However, it also precludes retirees from getting similar jobs. Jordan, 47, won't be able to work as a sworn officer, although he can do consulting work, Wong said.
The state retirement system said the dollar amount of Jordan's annual pension had not yet been entered into its system, spokeswoman Amy Norris wrote. City officials also failed to provide Jordan's pension figures.
Given his age and service time, Jordan likely will receive about 60 percent of his pensionable salary, which should be well over $200,000. Jordan had a base salary of $222,237 in 2012 and made $54,201 in additional compensation.
To qualify for a disability retirement, Jordan had to be examined by a workers' compensation doctor and a city-approved doctor, his attorney said. The doctors' findings were then ratified by the city's retirement board.
Oakland is only beginning to search for Jordan's full-time replacement as chief. The city is deciding between two executive search firms to lead a nationwide recruiting effort that could produce a new chief as soon as December. Interim Chief Sean Whent will be applying for the permanent job.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435