California Public Employment Relations Board reviews San Diego pension reform initiative

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February 14, 2012


Sacramento, California: A pension reform initiative in San Diego, California is under review. Currently scheduled to appear on the June 5 local ballot, the measure now remains pending.

According to reports, the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) plans to request a preliminary injunction until a review of claims filed by the San Diego's Municipal Employees Association of unfair practices is concluded.[1][2]

The association argues that Mayor Jerry Sanders, a supporter of the initiative, "should not have actively supported the measure without negotiating with city unions." Sanders previously stated that he was acting as a private citizen. The association argues that that claim does not hold up.[1]

In response to the PERB's decision to request an injunction, Sanders said it was unfortunate and the measure rightfully qualified for the ballot.[1]

The proposal would:

  • Give new city workers a 401(k) with a city match instead of a guaranteed pension.[3]
  • The guaranteed pension for newly-hired public-safety workers would max out at 80% of the individual’s salary. Currently, the cap is at 90%.
  • San Diego's overall payroll would be capped for five years at its 2011 level of less than $600 million annually.
  • The current San Diego city charter has a provision that requires a majority vote of all city employees to approve any changes to retirement benefits. That provision would be eliminated from the charter, if this initiative is approved.

According to supporters, the initiative, if approved by voters, will save the city $8.3 million in the first year, $141 million over the initial five years and nearly $1.6 billion through 2040.[4]

See also

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