Holzworth Keeps Pension After Arrest

Drew Sheets, Staff Writer

According to a new law, long-time SRJC District Police officer Jeffrey Holzworth will keep his pension regardless of whether he is convicted of his alleged crimes.

A new law went into effect on Jan. 1, stating if a pubic employee is convicted of a work-related state or federal felony “for conduct arising out of, or in the performance of, his or her official duties,” said employee would lose his or her pension.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the new law in September 2012. The California Public Employee Retirement System and Department of Finance admitted then the law would not affect employees or officials elected in November 2012 until they held positions after January 1.

This new state forfeiture law holds public employees to a new standard, but it will not affect Holzworth because his official retirement date is Dec. 31, 2012. Holzworth retired without a day to spare.

Asked about Holzworth’s pension, Assistant District Attorney Ami Ariyoshi said, “I don’t know anything about it. Some things are going. I can’t give you this information.”

Holzworth was investigated by Santa Rosa Police Department before being arrested on suspicions of felony, grand theft and embezzlement on Nov. 28.  The prior month-long inquiry followed an initial probe by the SRJC District Police, sparked by one of Holzworth’s fellow officers reporting suspicious behavior by the now-retired sergeant. District Police passed the investigation to SRPD in order to avoid conflict of interest issues.

Evidence in the case includes an affidavit detailing at least three instances in which co-workers observed odd behavior by Holzworth, from breaking with training protocols to mishandling collected parking fees. The incidents occurred over several years, as recent as last Fall and as far back as 2006.

SRJC District Police Chief Matt McCaffrey admitted “there were suspicions,” but the investigation that led to Holzworth’s arrest “focus(ed) on one singular incident.”

McCaffrey and SRJC’s Vice President of Business Services Doug Roberts both admit there is really no way of knowing just how much Holzworth may have embezzled, but conservative estimates put the amount in six digits.

For an example, Roberts cited records for the 12 months prior to June 30, 2012 show funds collected from campus parking machines totaled $266,000.

Morale is high as the SRJC district police move forward. “We’re not really concerned with whether or not he gets his pension,” McCaffrey said. “We’re putting this issue behind us.”

Holzworth’s next arraignment is Feb. 6 at Sonoma Superior Court.