San Diego's Aguirre Demands Court Roll Back Pensions

March 17, 2006 ( - San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre has asked a California judge to invalidate pension benefits granted in 1996 and 2002.

His latest attempt to fight the pension benefits is the result of an “unprecedented, all-out effort on the part of the city attorney’s office,” Aguirre said, according to a San Diego Daily Transcript news report.

Since taking office more than a year ago, Aguirre has been trying to force City Council members to repeal the benefits granted as part of Manager’s Proposal I and Manager’s Proposal II. The new court filing included statements by city employees requesting their participation in the program be rescinded (See SD Attorney Aguirre Again Suggests Pension Credit Sellback ).

Aguirre is trying to set aside an estimated $700 million in pension benefits: the DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan) program; benefits purchased at a substantial discount; increases voted on in September 2000, which retroactively increased the per year accumulation to 3.5%, retroactive benefits that were created in 1996; and a retroactive increase for the city attorney in 2001.

In the filing, Aguirre claims pension board members along with other city officials entered into a series of agreements in 1996 and 2002 without providing same-year funding sources.

“In each instance,” the complaint states, “one or more officials were financially interested in these contract schemes, under which they agreed to allow the city to underfund its contributions to the retirement system in exchange for increases in their personal pension benefits.”