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S.D. Council To Decide on Mayor Sanders’ Pension Reform Plan

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Aired 4/19/09

The San Diego City Council has a stark choice to make today -- whether to approve Mayor Jerry Sanders' proposed pension reforms for city workers or risk taxpayer anger by putting them on hold. Much is at stake for Sanders because reforming the city's pension plan was one of his campaign promises. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more. 

Pay increases are not the issue in this year's contract for non public safety workers. The mayor has made it clear the city can’t afford them. But blue and white collar city employees are fighting the mayor's plan to end their defined benefit pension plan. Sanders claims his pension reforms, will save the city nearly $50 million over the next decade.

The city's independent budget analyst, Andrea Tevlin, has come up with several alternative pension reforms which she says will save just as much money and which labor groups prefer. But city attorney Mike Aguirre has made it impossible for the city council to vote on a compromise.

He says new rules under the strong mayor form of government give them no authority to change the contract negotiated by the mayor. If a majority of the council does not approve the reforms, employees will keep their current contract, which maintains the status quo.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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