San Diego Lawyer Details Pension Reform Plan

February 23, 2005 ( - City Attorney Michael Aguirre has weighed in with an aggressive eight-step reform strategy.

Aguirre also said he will file a request in San Diego Superior Court to have the San Diego City Employees Retirement Board of Administrators put into a receivership, which involves an official making decisions on behalf of the board, according to a San Diego Daily Transcript news report.

As part of the plan, Aguirre requested that the City Council approve his recent investigations and allow the city attorney to hammer out a deal with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is currently conducting a civil investigation into the city’s disclosure practices (See  SEC Demands San Diego Pension Testimony, Documents ). Aguirre’s reports have laid out a timeline of events between 2001 and 2002 that illustrate a series of alleged cover-ups and attempts to hide financial information from Wall Street investors (See  SD City Attorney Accuses Officials of Pension Wrongdoing ). In approving the reports, Aguirre said the council members could essentially admit to approving incorrect disclosures.

Not only that, but Aguirre also requested council authorization to “rescind any and all unlawful pension benefits authorized in violation of the either California State Law or the San Diego City Charter.” Aguirre accused city council members of exercising “poor leadership” and asserted that they engaged in the “politics of delay.”

His recommended course of action would allow the city to get out from under its current pension controversy, the lawyer asserted. “This would mean that the city of San Diego would have this behind us,” Aguirre said. “The financial statements would be able to say the SEC has investigated the initial disorder, the case is closed.”

Mayor Dick Murphy recently presented his own plan to cut the city’s $1.37 billion pension deficit by as much as $600 million (See  San Diego Mayor Calls for Cutbacks to Close Pension Shortfall  ).