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Mayor, Council Members Celebrate Step Toward Prop B Implementation

Mayor Jerry Sanders and two members of the City Council today lauded what they called a major step in implementation of a voter-passed pension reform initiative.

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved an interim 401(k)-style retirement plan with the municipality's labor unions, pending a permanent version that is still being negotiated.

Proposition B, passed by two-thirds of the electorate in the June 5 primary, mandates that all new employees other than police officers be given the 401(k)-style plan, instead of being enrolled in the debt-ridden pension system. New police officers will still get pensions.

Until the interim agreement with labor was passed by the council, the city was unable to hire new workers. The city will now start hiring firefighter recruits and librarians, Sanders said.

He said city and union negotiators worked together to craft the interim plan, and hopes the spirit continues during talks on the permanent version.

"Implementing this initiative, of course, is vital to the city's financial health,'' Sanders said.

The measure's supporters believe the city will save $1 billion in pension costs through 2040.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said San Diego has become a national role model for dealing with employee pension system problems.

"You don't deny them, you don't delay them, you face them head-on and come up with a workable plan to put in place,'' Zapf said.

The law requires that the city meet and confer with its labor groups before implementing the terms of the measure.

Zapf said she was relieved that the two sides avoided "a long, nasty, protracted negotiation.''

Councilman Carl DeMaio, a major backer of Proposition B, said the unions and City Council respected the will of the people.

Sanders and DeMaio, who is running for mayor, criticized state legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown this past weekend that requires the city of San Diego to enroll new hires in Social Security.

For years, municipal employees weren't enrolled in Social Security because they were given pensions. Because of Proposition B, most new workers won't have the pensions, either, a key reason why organized labor opposed the measure at the ballot box.

The city will probably offer new workers some sort of combination of Social Security and a 401(k) plan, Sanders said. However, he added that City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is studying the new law and could challenge it in court.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | October 2, 2012 at 4:21 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

This means nothing if the police pensions aren't switched to 401k-style retirement plans. Their pensions are part of the problem too! They are encouraged to spike their hours on the latter half of their service to increase the retirement check, and the pensions are a drain on taxpayer.

I don't want to see anyone lose out on their retirement, but none of us (taxpayers) signed on for them to receive such generous benefits. If the police union is so hell-bent on ensuring they get it, then they (the police dept) should fund their own pension bank account like the grocery stores do. They have a completely independent pension fund that doesn't burden taxpayers.

This is not an inconsiderate opinion. The pensions for government employees is not sustainable. Companies aren't paying what they used to and it's getting more difficult to get by. Until all gov employees (including police) are involved in this reform, we need to keep up the fight.

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Avatar for user 'cp212'

cp212 | October 2, 2012 at 5:51 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

@HarryStreet, Police Officers get pensions for the same reason the Military does....they risk their lives every day they put the uniform on to protect the very freedoms web all enjoy on a daily basis. I also want to make this very clear...OVERTIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE AMOUNT OF AN OFFICERS PENSION. Their pension is a percentage of their base salary and that's it and it caps out at 90% after 30 years of service. The OFFICERS also currently pay 100% of their retirement contribution (there is no "matching" of any kind). The average MANDATORY contribution of Officers is over 17% of their pay. This all the outcome of countless con sessions

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Avatar for user 'cp212'

cp212 | October 2, 2012 at 6:01 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

Con sessions made my the PD. The currently retirees that are receiving more money in retirement than when they worked are going to continue getting paid and no vote is going to change that and there are very few employees left that still have this available to them (and will never loose it under California Law).

Do they get a better retirement than most people? Yes, of course they do...but its because they deserve it.

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Avatar for user 'carlf150'

carlf150 | October 4, 2012 at 5:09 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

Trust me, The City is going to spend a lot of money trying to defend this prop. Right now it is being reviewed by PERB and yet there is so much inside the prop that still has to make its way through court. It will be many years before this is resolved. Taxpayers? What taxes? 3 dollars out of each 100 dollars in property taxes come back to the City. The City gets even less from from the Sales Tax.

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