Faulconer, other officials back pension overhaul initiative

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Councilman Chris Cate and other city officials Thursday reaffirmed their support for a local pension overhaul imitative that has been held up in court in recent years.

Proposition B, a citizen initiative initially approved by voters in 2012, eliminated guaranteed pensions for new city employees, except police officers, and replaced those benefits with 401(k)-style retirement plans.

In 2015, one of the city’s largest public sector unions challenged the benefits system. The Public Employees Relations Board ruled with the union, but an appeals court reversed the decision in April 2017.

Now, the California Supreme Court will deliberate the measure. Faulconer, Cate and City Attorney Mara Elliott will travel to San Francisco on Tuesday for the hearing.

“Voters put San Diego at the forefront of pension reform and we can’t turn back,” Faulconer said. “We’ve changed the culture at City Hall so we’re now investing in street repair and core neighborhood services that residents rely on rather than an unsustainable pension system. We’re urging the court to uphold this landmark pension reform so we can continue the changes the people of San Diego have called for.”

Faulconer, who championed the measure as a city councilman, said the 401(k)-style system saves taxpayers money and reduces future pension liabilities. Approved by 65 percent of voters, the system is the first of its kind among California municipalities, according to the city.

Since Proposition B passed, the number of city employees outside the pension system has grown to nearly 4,300, or 37 percent, of the roughly 11,500-person workforce, according to the city.

“As a longtime taxpayer advocate, I’m proud to have spent years supporting the passage and implementation of Proposition B, the comprehensive pension reform initiative supported by two-thirds of voters,” Cate said.

“Proposition B is critical to limiting the risk and costs associated with public employee pensions.”

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