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City Council Votes To Consolidate Court Challenges To Pension Measure

An effort to consolidate pending court challenges to a voter-approved pension overhaul plan has won the City Council's approval, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's office announced today.

The Council voted 7-1 in closed session to back Goldsmith's request for the state's 4th District Court of Appeals to consolidate the legal challenges.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald cast the only dissenting vote.

The decision was announced at the end of today's City Council meeting.

The pension measure, Proposition B, passed with 66 percent support in last week's primary election.

If the measure clears legal scrutiny, it would amend the City Charter to give most new employees 401(k)-style plans instead of enrolling them in the city's pension system. The measure would also place a five-year freeze on the salary workers could use to compute their pension payouts.

The proposition's supporters hope these two provisions will slow the growth of pension payments.

The lawsuits against Proposition B claim the City should have negotiated provisions of the measure with it's six unions before placing it on the ballot.

Goldsmith contends the measure was an initiative filed by private citizens, so the City was not required to meet and confer with its bargaining units before the vote.

If the City had sponsored Proposition B, negotiations would have been required before the election, according to Goldsmith.

Plaintiffs say the measure essentially was sponsored by the City, since Mayor Jerry Sanders, Councilman and mayoral hopeful Carl DeMaio and Councilman Kevin Faulconer were among its strongest supporters.

In announcing his consolidation request last week, Goldsmith said he wanted to clear up the legal issues quickly so the provisions of the proposition could be implemented without delay.

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