We told you recently that more than 200 agencies boosted retirement benefits for public workers since 2008, which is when the financial cookie began to crumble.

Nine Orange County agencies were among them. Four cities granted sweeter pension formulas to their employees; three cities granted credits for additional years of service as part of “golden handshakes;” one special district granted enhanced death and survivor benefits….

And the Irvine Ranch Water District did all three things — adopted pension formula improvements, granted additional serviced credits and gave enhanced death and survivor benefits.

While the Little Hoover Commission’s controversial report on California’s public pension systems said these actions call into question “the ability and willingness of local officials and employees to rein in costs,” many of the agencies said they were just trying to bring workers up to the same level as others in their field — or that the sweetened benefits were part of “golden handshakes” to convince folks to retire, which save the agencies money in the long run. Details about who did what, and why, are here.

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