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S.D. City Employees Must Pay Disability Portion Of Pension

— The San Diego City Employees' Retirement System board voted today to require its members to pay the disability portion of their pension, a move City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said will save the city $2.6 million a year.

According to Goldsmith's office, SDCERS had previously charged all disability costs to the city.

Earlier this month, Goldsmith sued SDCERS in an effort to force it to require members to contribute more into the pension plan, arguing that the city and employees are legally "equal partners" in funding the retirement system.

In a statement, Goldsmith said he is pleased that one component of his lawsuit appears to have been resolved.

"Clearly, SDCERS has been misapplying our city charter for years," Goldsmith said. "This is a first step in making needed corrections to comply with charter section 143."

But the San Diego Police Officers Association called the SDCERS vote "morally questionable" and harmful to officers.

"No other police officer or firefighter in the state has to pay for the benefit of getting killed or gravely disabled in the line of duty," said Jeff Jordon, vice president of the SDPOA. "This decision is simply unconscionable on many levels."

According to the City Attorney's Office, the change will reduce the city's annual required contribution, or ARC, to the pension fund by $2.6 million.

The city's contribution into the pension system this year is about $230 million. City officials have said that the payment could grow to $318 million by fiscal year 2015.

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