Council president: Pension reform alternative effectively dead

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A proposed alternative to the pension reform
initiative on the June 5 ballot will not be considered by the City Council or
its Rules Committee, effectively killing it, council President Tony Young said
Thursday.

The ballot measure already set to go before voters is designed to save
money by giving 401(k) plans to most new employees instead of enrolling them in
the debt-ridden pension system. Also, only base compensation for workers would
be figured into their eventual retirement pay.

It is opposed by city employee unions.

This week's proposal by Councilman David Alvarez was similar. The main
exception is that instead of giving new employees 401(k) plans, annual
retirement pay would be capped at $99,999.

Young said he will not allow the Alvarez proposal to move forward
because a deadline for putting a measure on the June ballot was too close, and
because he did not want voters to be confused.

“This is a pretty important issue, and putting something on the ballot
in three weeks without being fully vetted would be a problem,” Young said.

A number of important issues would need to be studied, including what
would happen if both initiatives were passed by voters. Also, ballot measures
that originate with the City Council require negotiations with municipal
unions, and Young said he didn't think there was enough time.

He also said he wanted to improve the council's level of respect among
San Diegans as a body that makes decisions for the public good, and did not
want members to be accused of confusing or splitting voters between two
initiatives.

Alvarez can force the proposal onto a City Council docket if he gets
support from three colleagues. Young said he didn't think that would happen.

Alvarez put out a statement in which he said he would still like to see
his alternative on the June ballot.

“A copy of the proposal was delivered to all members of the City
Council,” Alvarez said. “At this point, I have not been contacted by any
other council members regarding their support for it. However, I am interested
in having further discussions regarding pension reform.”

Categories: KUSI