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S.D. Firefighter’s Union Leader Resigning


The head of the city of San Diego’s Firefighter’s Union is resigning after 28 years. Ron Saathoff  was a key figure in the  pension negotiations that  became the subject of SEC investigations and several lawsuits. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Saathoff was a member of the city’s pension board in 2002 and helped craft the benefit increase that was a factor leading to the city’s billion dollar pension deficit.

Saathoff has continued in his role as president of the Firefighters Association, in spite of being named in state and federal suits that allege conflict of interest on the city’s pension board at that time. Those suits are on hold, waiting for a ruling from the State Supreme court on whether conflict of interest applies in the case.

Saathoff’s successor as President of the Firefighters Union, Frank De Clercq, says times have changed.

De Clercq: And while I don’t suspect that we’ll get any improvement in our retirement, I’m certainly going to fight to keep what we have.  

  The city’s labor unions are fighting city attorney Mike Aguirre’s efforts  to roll back the benefits granted in 2002.

However, the firefighters are not included in the mayor’s plans to save the city money with pension reform. Those reforms apply only to non-public safety employees. Alison St John, KPBS news.


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