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Pension board protecting assets in case of bankruptcy

Members of San Diego city's Pension Board met today to get advice on how to protect their assets if the city declares bankruptcy. The city has a pension deficit of at least $1.4 billion, due to under funding in past years. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

San Diego City's pension board is taking no chances. Even though Mayor Jerry Sanders has vowed to do everything possible to avoid bankruptcy, the retirement system is preparing for the worst.

Consultants answered questions from board members and city retirees anxious about their benefits.

Board chair Mark Sullivan reassured members that the pension system's assets would not be touched.

Sullivan: "If we didn't get another nickel from the city the system could continue to pay current members and future members for about 20 years."

If the city declares bankruptcy, employees who have already retired should not be affected, but those still working may have to fight for benefits promised them. Benefit increases granted in 1996 and 2002 would no longer be legally protected, and might be rolled back. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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