SANTA MARIA – With a virtual gag-order in effect for Santa Maria city employees and police officers about Police Chief Dan Macagni being placed on paid administrative leave, public documents reveal Macagni is eligible to retire with a lifetime benefit of 100% of his current salary.
As Chief of Police, Dan Macagni is among the highest paid managers in the City of Santa Maria making over $162,000 a year.
A 37 year employee of the SMPD, Macagni has literally risen through the ranks to become the city's top cop since taking over for his predecessor John Sterling, who was also placed on administrative leave prior to his leaving the city under controversial terms.
Because he was hired before July 1, 2011, Macagni was eligible for retirement when he turned 50 years old.
If he retires now, Macagni is eligible to receive 100% of his annual salary for the rest of his life using the city's formula for all sworn police officers hired before 7/1/11, which is length of service multiplied by 3% based on highest rate of pay at retirement, which in Macagni's case is $162,508.
The City also contributes 9% of Macagni's total retirement compensation to CalPERS, or the California Public Employees Retirement System.
Macagni is not eligible to receive Social Security but would retain his medical benefits.
The City of Santa Maria has changed the retirement benefit formula for sworn police officers hired on or after 7/1/11, the earliest retirement age is now 55, and the 3% is based on an average of the last three years of compensation and not just the highest rate of pay.
Newly hired cops are also required to pay their entire member retirement contribution to CalPERS.
On Wednesday, Santa Maria City Manager Rick Haydon announced he was placing Chief Macagni on paid administrative leave until further notice.
Haydon says he cannot explain the reasons for his decision, or how long Macagni will remain on paid leave, because he says it's a strictly confidential personnel matter protected by the Police Bill of Rights.
Haydon says while Macagni remains the Chief of Police, Commander Craig Ritz is now in operational control of the department.
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