San Diego pension reform battle

Despite bitter disagreement between Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilman Carl DeMaio on pension reform, negotiators were making progress Thursday toward a ballot initiative that both of them might support. KUSI's Steve Bosh reports on the latest details of the pension battle.

Neither the mayor nor the council member wants competing ballot measures, but since they haven't talked to each other in 6-months a third party is handling the negotiations.

There have been four meetings this week but no agreement yet. Negotiators are trying to the bridge differences between two plans.

Carl's plan would shift all new city employees into a 401(k) plan, including public safety members. He says public safety workers account for fully half of the taxpayers pension liability.

The mayor wants to exclude public safety workers, because he worries about cops leaving the force. “If you entrust somebody to carry a gun, carry a badge, be able to put people in jail, you want the best you can get and a 401(k) when nobody else is one it will insure that,” said Sanders, meaning no other cops in California are on a 401(k) plan.

A  potential compromise would include firefighters and life guards moving to a 401(k), but not the cops.

Mr. DeMaio says excluding public safety doesn't get you the savings required to make the system sustainable.

A coalition including the Taxpayers Association, and the Lincoln Club are handling the negotiations.
  
There are other areas of disagreement between the two, so it's possible these negotiations might end up with an agreement to disagree. If that happens, the voters might have to finish the job the coalition started.

Negotiators met again Thursday afternoon and we're told progress is being made. There could be an agreement by weeks end.

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