San Diego City Council Rebuffs Mayor on Pension Reform

May 14, 2008 ( - After a rebuff from the City Council on his pension reform plan, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders vowed to take his campaign directly to voters.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Sanders vowed not to participate in more contract talks with three city unions and refused to compromise on his plan.

According to the news report, minutes after the Council meeting this week, Sanders called on the local lawmakers to put his original pension proposal on the ballot by the end of the month. If Council members refuse, Sanders vowed to mount a signature drive to place it on ballot anyway.

“Everything is off the table at this point,” Sanders said, according to the newspaper. “Bargaining is over.”

The proposal, which Sanders touted as a hybrid retirement plan, combines elements of a traditional pension with a 401(k)-style design (See  SD Mayor Proposes Retirement Plan Revisions ). It would limit benefits for workers who retire early and could reduce investment risks to the city, the Union-Tribune said.

Sanders’ plan revamps the pension system for the unions and would sharply reduce benefits for workers hired after January 1, 2009  The mayor calls it the “most important” aspect of his plan and has said for months that he is willing to impose it on workers.

It would not apply to police officers and firefighters who agreed to new deals last month, the Union-Tribune said.