SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Documents released Monday by the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System show former University of Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti is the state's top public pension beneficiary.
Bellotti collects nearly a half million dollars annually in pension checks — more than $41,000 per month.
The names of about 100,000 retired public employees in Oregon and how much they receive in pensions are being made public as part of a court settlement between the state retirement system and two newspapers.
The Oregonian and The Statesman Journal demanded the records last year to shine a light on state spending.
Bellotti told The Oregonian on Monday evening that he simply accepted the package he was offered when he signed on at the university in 1989.
Bellotti said the pension was a fraction of his final annual compensation from the university, which he said was between $1.9 million and $2 million.
"Put in all the taxes I've paid to the state of Oregon," he said. Bellotti, 60, is also a former U of O athletic director.
The Statesman Journal says PERS pays out more than $230 million a month to all beneficiaries combined.
The pension information indicates a large gap between the system's top earners and rank and file pensioners.
The Oregonian reported that 837 pensioners get more than $100,000 a year.
State Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, told the Salem paper that the top 10 PERS beneficiaries are employees who retired under the old Tier 1 benefits plan, a much more generous pension plan than workers now receive.
Others in the Top 10 earn between $19,478 and $31,459. They include:
Dr. Frederick Keller, $31,459. Keller is an interventional radiologist with Oregon Health & Science University. He became director of OHSU's Dotter Institute in 1993. He is the Cook Professor of Interventional Therapy, professor of surgery, and chairman of the department of diagnostic radiology at OHSU.
Lesley Hallick, $23,917. Hallick spent 32 years at Oregon Health & Science University, starting as an assistant professor in microbiology in 1977. She went on to become vice president for academic affairs and the university's first provost. She left OHSU in 2009 to become president of Pacific University.
Steven Goldschmidt, $21,517. Goldschmidt, 67, is former director of human resources for Portland Public Schools.
David Frohnmayer, $21,027. Frohnmayer, 71, is a former Oregon attorney general, former dean at the University of Oregon School of Law, and former president of the university. His last day as president was June 30, 2009. His prior public service also includes three terms in the Oregon state House.
Dr. Peter Kohler, $20,252. Kohler was president of Oregon Health & Science University for 18 years. He retired in September 2007.
Frank W. Anderson, $20,209. Anderson is an 83-year-old University of Oregon mathematics professor from 1957, but retired in the past decade. He's currently listed as a professor emeritus.
William A. Korach, $20,069. A former Lake Oswego Superintendent of Schools, William A. Korach still works for the Lake Oswego School District.
Peter Von Hippel, $19,678. A longtime University of Oregon professor of biophysical chemistry and molecular biology, von Hippel, a prominent cancer researcher, retired in 1999 after 32 years. He has continued to head the university's Institute on Molecular Biology, a laboratory funded by the National Institutes of Health. He is an American Cancer Society Research Professor of Chemistry, and continues to work full time with post-doctorate students and others. "I'm not getting paid; I'm doing this because I like to," he told The Oregonian. "I put in a lot of 12-hour days."
Von Hippel said university researchers in Oregon have historically been paid less than counterparts in other states, and accepted pension increases in lieu of negotiating better salary.
Anthony Montanaro, $19,478. Montanaro retired as vice chairman of OHSU's Department of Medicine with a final-year salary and bonuses of $460,000. He now works part-time as head of OHSU's Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. "I totally am aware that there are a lot of people that are going to find this objectionable, but basically I played by the rules and worked hard for a long time," he told The Oregonian.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.