News - February 10, 2010

Riggs, Theile-Sardina will lead initiative to reduce city pensions

by Sean Howell

Henry Riggs of Menlo Park's Planning Commission and Roy Theile-Sardina will lead the ballot initiative drive aimed at cutting pension payments to future Menlo Park city employees, excluding police officers.

Mr. Riggs said a group of residents have been kicking around the idea of launching an initiative for about two years, but that it wasn't until a recent apparent increase in interest among local people that they felt they would be able to gather the support necessary to lead a successful campaign.

He said that he and other organizers were impressed by the level of interest from people willing to donate money or volunteer time to collect signatures, in response to e-mails from former council member Lee Duboc.

In a press release, Mr. Theile-Sardina countered the notion that the initiative to cut pension payments would put the city at a hiring disadvantage.

"Currently, the supply of qualified people in the California labor market far exceeds the demand," he said. "Furthermore, we are seeing other cities in the Bay Area and throughout California taking steps toward pension reform."

The group says it will need to collect 1,882 signatures, or 10 percent of the city's registered voters as of the last election. Assuming the city approves the filing, the group could start working this spring toward gathering the signatures necessary to place the initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot.

For more information, call Mr. Riggs at 327-6198 or Mr. Theile-Sardina at 322-1151.


Posted by peter, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Apr 8, 2010 at 4:34 am

This is a great idea. Cities like Mountain View should start an initiative for pension reform. The MV Voice newspaper recently reported that a librarian in the city retired with a yearly pension of $187,000, that's right. Could not believe it.
Something needs to be done.

Posted by voter, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Wish they were doing this initiative at the state level where it belongs. As much as I agree with the notion of changing the benefit structure, I do fear that unilateral changes will hurt Menlo Park's ability to hire in the future if other cities don't follow along.
This is a statewide issue.

Posted by get real, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm

hire in the future? are you kidding? we need to eliminate entire departments and 'right size' the staff. we are a very small overstaffed place and this council has been spending money like drunken sailors. besides, who really believes that we can't hire people from the private sector with 12% unemployment and pay/vacation/pension packages like what the city employees get? these city folks are so far ahead of the game, even if you deeply cut back on these packages, droves of applicants would line up to apply for the jobs.

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