City Council Votes To Seek Invalidation Of Prop. B Pension Reform Initiative
UPDATE: 1:19 P.M., June 10, 2019:
The San Diego City Council voted 6-3 Monday to direct the city attorney to invalidate the Proposition B pension reform initiative. The initiative replaced pensions for all new city employees except police officers with 401(k) retirement plans.
The state Supreme Court ruled last year that the initiative was placed on the 2012 ballot illegally.
City Council voted 6-3 to direct the city attorney to seek the invalidation of Prop B. Kersey, Cate and Sherman opposed.— Andrew Bowen (@acbowen) June 10, 2019
San Diego City Council members are scheduled to decide Monday whether to seek the invalidation of Proposition B, the city's landmark pension reform measure, after a series of court rulings put the measure in jeopardy.
Ever since voters approved Prop B in 2012, newly hired city workers — except sworn police officers — have been excluded from the city's pension system. The state Supreme Court ruled last summer that the city broke state labor laws when it placed the measure on the ballot without first negotiating with city labor unions.
The California 4th District Court of Appeal issued a subsequent ruling in March ordering the city to compensate its employees who missed out on guaranteed pensions. The court did not, however, invalidate Prop B.
As long as Prop B remains in the City Charter, officials are barred from bringing city workers into the pension system. The unions, which represent everyone from firefighters to traffic engineers, are trying to get Prop B removed from the City Charter through a separate legal process. They say that is the only way the city can correct its violation of the law.
City Council members will decide in closed session Monday whether to argue alongside the unions that Prop B should be removed from the charter. Alternatively, they could try to preserve Prop B and come up with another way to compensate workers for their lost pension benefits.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a chief supporter of Prop B, said past mistakes of underfunding the city's pension system were costing taxpayers some $100 million per year, and that it was "unfathomable" that anyone would consider returning to that system.
"Voters demanded pension reform and we should respect that, plain and simple," Faulconer said via email.
Unions representing city workers have argued that the 401(k)-style retirement benefits that replaced pensions have not saved any taxpayer dollars, and that Prop B has hurt the city's ability to recruit and retain qualified employees.