County CFO Recommends Two-Tier Pension Benefits

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County's top financial adviser told the Board of Supervisors today that limiting retiree health benefits and creating a second set of pension benefits for employees hired on or after Aug. 28, 2009 will save the county more than $2 billion over the next 20 years.

Despite the cost-cutting measures proposed by Donald Steuer, Supervisor Dianne Jacob said “we still have work to do.”

The county's pension fund lost about $2.2 billion last year.

Jacob and her board colleagues criticized the county Board of Retirement for voting to continue paying for some retirees' health insurance premiums from “excess earnings” from investments for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

“You don't have any excess earnings as long as you have a deficit,” Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said. “You need to pay that down first.”

Supervisor Ron Roberts said pensioners should realize they are “transferring a much larger burden to current employees and ongoing county operations.”

“At some point, somebody needs to wake up and realize there's a major fiscal crisis,” he said.

Roberts and Slater-Price encouraged Jacob to ask the retirement board to revisit the issue of paying all pension health insurance premiums.

Slater-Price said she was disappointed that no one from the public signed up to comment on the pension issue.

“This to me is one of the problems with the public in general, because they don't understand how important these issues are,” she said.

Categories: KUSI