US - San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders' bid to control spiralling pensions costs received a boost after city council placed both his pension reform proposals on the November general election ballot.
The council voted seven-to-one in favour of the proposals, which would allow San Diego to outsource a number of city jobs and also require voter approval of any future increases in employee pension benefits.
Those benefits had in the past been approved by the San Diego City Employee Retirement System board, a factor which is alleged to have played a key role in the city’s estimated US$1.4bn pension deficit.
The board approved two benefit increases in 1996 and 2002, a decision that is currently the centre of a drawn out court case. The case alleged that, because the people who voted on the benefits were themselves city employees and would thus receive those benefits, had an illegal conflict of interest.
Speaking about the council’s decision to place the reforms on the ballot, Sanders said: “The city council should be congratulated for their efforts tonight to bring meaningful change to city processes. These two measures are important tools in the arsenal.”
Sanders said he would begin work on implementing ordinances for both measures so the public could “judge the measure in its entirety” prior to the election.
The council’s decision is unlikely to have been well received by certain city employees, who had earlier picketed outside the mayor’s office upon his announcement of the proposals.
In other news, the city council voted unanimously yesterday to appoint Peter Davis to the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System board.
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