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City Hall Dispute Continues Over Pension Debt

The political tussle between San Diego's city attorney and the mayor continues at City Hall. Mike Aguirre accused Jerry Sanders Monday of ignoring a mountain of pension debt and building a molehill of

City Hall Dispute Continues Over Pension Debt

The political tussle between San Diego's city attorney and the mayor continues at City Hall. Mike Aguirre accused Jerry Sanders Monday of ignoring a mountain of pension debt and building a molehill of a case to discredit him. But the mayor's office fired back. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The mayor will ask the city council next week to hire outside attorneys to resolve a dispute over pension benefits. Last week the mayor held a press conference to say the city may have to pay millions in pension benefits that should have been discontinued - but continued being paid because Aguirre failed to change the municipal code. 

Aguirre called a press conference this week and accused the mayor of using the dispute over tens of millions of dollars as a distraction from the bigger issue: the hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits Aguirre believes were illegally granted to a greedy workforce.

Aguirre: We have to restore our civil service to being a public interest oriented workforce and not a mercenary workforce. The mayor promised he would do that and now having not made the hard decisions he is loosing his nerve.

Mayor Sanders is in Washington DC, but his Chief Financial Officer, Jay Goldstone, said

Aguirre had his chance to roll back the benefits and failed.

Goldstone: We were very, very hopeful that he would be successful in his lawsuits and roll back these benefits. Now he is asking us to ignore the courts, step in where he has failed and not pay the benefits that would open us up to a lawsuit by the employees and we're not convinced we would win it.

Goldstone says the mayor believes it is worth fighting the case of the benefits that should have been discontinued, but it will take an outside attorney to win it. 

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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