Pension reform compromise reached
During two weeks of negotiations initiated and mediated by the Taxpayers Association and the Lincoln Club, Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilman Carl DeMaio came together, despite their personal differences, on a plan to dismantle the pension system and save the city millions of dollars.
The mayor and the councilmember side by side, smiling and chatting. You'd never know they hadn't spoken to each other in 6 months. But the issues that fueled their differences have also led them to common ground to save the city from financial ruin.
“While we made progress over the last few years in reforming our system, today we're taking the next step, and it's a big one,” said the mayor.
The Lincoln Club and the Taxpayers Association brought these two together, and deserve credit for this unity.
There was a fear that competing ballot measures might confuse voters, so the two had to be merged.
“The biggest appreciation I have today is for our mayor. Mr. Mayor, it was your leadership that allowed us to reach the deal that we have today,” said DeMaio during the press conference.
They agreed to merge their respective ballot initiatives into one, knowing the labor unions will be formidable opposition at the ballot box.
The deal ends pension spiking. New hires, except for cops, go to a 401(k) pension plan. Pensions will be based on base salary alone and labor unions will no longer be able to block reforms.
Right now, employees have the right to kill what's negotiated at the bargaining table.
“This initiative will not only reform our pension system, but transform it into a national model,” said Mayor Sanders.
The firefighters are really upset. Frank De Clercq says a 401(k) pension will not work. He says recruits might come here for training then leave for better pension plans in other fire departments.