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Dumanis Reverses Position On Pension Reform Measure

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Aired 8/26/11

District Attorney and San Diego Mayoral Candidate Bonnie Dumanis has reversed her stance on a controversial pension reform measure.

— District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis initially said she would not support the proposed ballot measure, which eliminates city pensions for all new hires except police officers. She said she opposed eliminating pensions for firefighters.

Bonnie Dumanis

Above: Bonnie Dumanis

But Dumanis now says after closer scrutiny she believes the measure would allow firefighters to receive an annuity, which she says would provide them with a safety net.

“Public safety has always, will always continue to be my first and major focus as mayor of San Diego, just like as the D.A.,” she said. “But I also have to be realistic in a budget time that requires reform.”

San Diego city employees do not participate in Social Security, though Dumanis said the measure would allow the city to consider re-entering the program. Supporters are collecting signatures in an effort to get the pension-reform measure on the June ballot.

But Firefighters Union President Frank DeClercq said if the reform measure were a good plan it would have been vetted through the City Council.

“You read the language, it’s general, it’s ambiguous, and it doesn’t address the real problem,” he said.

DeClercq believes the key problem lies with top earners at the city collecting large pensions. He said he would back a plan that caps pensions at a certain level, no matter what an employee made while working for the city.

With Dumanis changing her position, that means all three major republican candidates, including Councilman Carl DeMaio and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, back the measure. Democrat Bob Filner says he’ll release his own pension plan soon.

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