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Judge to Rule On Implementation of Prop B

— Proposition B is the voter approved measure that switches most new city employees from a pension system to a 401(k)-style retirement plan. Judge Luis Vargas recently issued a temporary restraining order against San Diego, preventing it from implementing the measure for some union workers. Friday Vargas will decide whether to lift the order or keep it in place for awhile longer.

A judge will decide Friday whether San Diego can go forward with implementing Proposition B for union employees, or if the city has to wait.

California’s Public Employment Relations Board, or PERB, had requested the order while it conducted a hearing on a union complaint about the measure.

City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio was a leading backer of Proposition B. He called on Judge Vargas to remove the restraining order at a press event Thursday. He said San Diegans have a Constitutional right to amend the City Charter.

“As an elected judge we expect you to uphold the law and protect our Constitutional right,” he said. “And San Diegans demand implementation of Prop B pension reform immediately.”

But union leaders say Mayor Jerry Sanders acted improperly by using his official position to campaign for the measure. Mike Zucchet, the general manager of the Municipal Employees Association, also said the measure went to great lengths to put restrictions on implementation to make sure it conformed to various laws. He said there are at least a dozen such restrictions written into the measure.

“So there’s all kinds of these caveats in the proposition and that’s what the voters said too,” he said. “So we can’t cherry pick what the voters said. The voters said they wanted a legal initiative.”

The PERB hearing is complete, but the issue is still under review. Zucchet said a decision should come by the end of the year. But he expects there to be several appeals after that.

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