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Former City Manager Expected to Witness in Pension Trial

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Aired 4/19/09

San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre is expected to call former city manager Jack McGrory to the witness stand, as the second week of the city’s pension trial begins. Aguirre hopes to reduce the city’s billion dollar pension debt by rolling back benefits. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more. 

Jack McGrory originally designed the plan to cut funding for the pension plan, in return for increasing pension benefits in 1996. At the time, McGrory was under pressure to finance the Republican National Convention, brought to San Diego by then mayor Susan Golding. The pension fund was then brimming over.  McGrory designed a safety mechanism to stop the under funding if its investments tumbled.

After he left the city, the market did bottom out. But in 2002 the pension board and the city agreed to continue the lower funding and boost pensions even more, leading to a massive deficit.

In this first phase of the trial, Aguirre hopes to convince the judge to rule that tampering with the funding was illegal from the get go. The judge wants to determine if he can rule on the case, or if previous lawsuits have already signed and sealed the benefits. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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