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Addie Kanae, of Walnut Creek, a Alameda County Superior court clerk, speaks to a crowd of Alameda County public employees during a rally just outside the County of Alameda Administration Building, in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. The workers are upset that top Alameda County officials are receiving taxpayer-funded deferred compensation accounts on top of their pensions, while workers have been laid off. (Anda Chu/Staff)

OAKLAND -- Alameda County government and court workers staged a noon rally Thursday, protesting what they said were unfair benefits paid to top level managers while they have forfeited raises and live under a constant threat of layoffs.

Marching outside the county administration building, they said they were angry over deferred compensation payments made to politicians and also over expected furloughs and layoffs in Superior Court, which is funded by the state. This newspaper reported Sunday that top Alameda County elected officials and department heads receive as much as $44,000 a year in deferred compensation in addition to generous pension contributions.

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Rank and file workers "were horrified" to learn about the payments, said Amy Dooha, a welfare worker and representative of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which organized the rally.

"I had no idea they get two free deferred compensation accounts," Dooha said. "We pay for our own deferred compensation through payroll deductions with no matching funds."

Top officials who receive the benefit did not return messages.

Protesters also ripped into court administrators for what they said were furloughs and job losses when top administrators have received raises. The latest cutbacks involve the layoffs of court reporters assigned to civil courtrooms, said Addie Kanae, a court clerk and union official.


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Alameda Superior Court spokeswoman Sarah Guenther said officials had no comment. The workers did get one bit of good news Thursday when the state Supreme Court let stand a lower-court ruling that the Alameda Court violated personnel rules involving the layoffs of nine workers in 2009. Most of them have already returned to public employment. In all, the court laid off 72 workers in 2009, 63 of which were affected by the court's decision.