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Mayor Sanders Pension Reform Plan Stalled by Divided Council

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Tom Fudge: The San Diego City Council was divided over whether to support an effort by Mayor Jerry Sanders to reform city pensions. But yesterday's deadlocked council vote of 4-4 did accomplish one thing: it prevented the mayor's plan from going forward.

Jerry Sanders' idea of reform is to gradually change the nature of city pensions from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. The latter model is what you see in the common 401K pension. In it, the employer agrees to contribute a certain amount of money every year. But there's no guarantee the worker will enjoy a certain income once they retire.

Mayor Sanders' purpose in pushing for change is to reduce the city's infamous pension fund deficit, which still totals close to a billion dollars. Now that the council has thwarted his proposal, Sanders says he'll take it to voters for a referendum. He says his negotiations with the three unions involved in the current discussion, are over.

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