Randy Bomgaars
Randy Bomgaars

BELLFLOWER - Randy Bomgaars - the city's longest-serving City Council member who was re-elected in March 2011 - is resigning simultaneously from the council and his teaching position to collect special pension benefits.

The move could cost the city up to $60,000 for a special election.

Bomgaars, 61, who was elected to the council in 1988, made his announcement at Monday's council meeting. He had already said last year that he would be retiring after 40 years with the Bellflower Unified School District.

He said his last day at the school district and on the council is June 21. His council term ends March 2015.

By resigning and retiring on the same day, Bomgaars is eligible under California law to receive special compensation increasing his total pension, he told the Press-Telegram Tuesday.

"By combining the two separate retirement plans, my family and I will benefit from an increase in the pension benefits I will receive," Bomgaars said.

The details of the special compensation couldn't be confirmed Tuesday, and Bomgaars wouldn't elaborate. A representative from the California Public Employees' Retirement System couldn't be reached for comment.

Bomgaars said he only learned of the special benefit about nine months ago and recently decided to resign from the council after he had won reelection.

In March 2011 he defeated four other candidates and came in third to keep one of three available council seats.

Bomgaars said his pension from the California State Teachers Retirement system is 2.


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4 percent of his highest salary, which was $82,000 from 2007 to 2008, for each year of service. At 40 years, that equates to 96 percent of his salary, or $78,720.

In Bellflower, his pension is 2 percent of his $12,723 council salary for each year of service. At 24 years, that equals 48 percent, or $6,107.

His total public employee pension will be $84,827, in addition to the extra compensation he will receive for retiring from both jobs at the same time.

The Bellflower council plans to discuss its options for filling Bomgaars' seat at its June 25 meeting.

City Manager Jeff Stewart said Tuesday that those options include appointing someone to the remainder of Bomgaars' term, holding a special election, or appointing someone until a special election is held, Stewart said.

The council has 60 days from Bomgaars' last day to make a decision.

A special election could be held in November or March, but Stewart said he doesn't know if it is logistically possible to still hold an election in November.

A special November election might cost up to $60,000. The cost of a special election in March would be minimal since a regular local election is already scheduled and all the logistics would be in place, he said.

However, Bomgaars said if the council wants to appoint him until a special election or asks him to finish his term, "I would be receptive to that."

If the council appoints him either way, Bomgaars wouldn't collect his special pension benefits, and his council pension would be frozen. He only would collect his council salary and his teachers' pension.

Apart from being the city's longest-serving council member, Bomgaars is the city's first five-time mayor.

He's on the executive board of the California Contract Cities Association, a delegate with the League of California Cities and of the Sister Cities organization with Los Mochis, Mexico.

Born in the Dutch farming community of Sheldon, Iowa, Bomgaars said he and his family moved to Artesia when he was 2 years old in 1952.

Bomgaars graduated from Cerritos' Valley Christian High School and received a bachelor's in education from Cal State Long Beach and a master's in education from Pepperdine University.

Bomgaars and his wife, Jennie, 60, are married for 38 years and have three children.

phillip.zonkel@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2098, twitter.com/zonkelpt