Almanac

News - May 19, 2010

Pension initiative validated

A voter-led initiative drive aimed at scaling back pension payments for public employees has been certified, and could go before voters on the November ballot.

The City Council could simply adopt the measure at its meeting Tuesday, May 18, meaning that it wouldn't go to an election. It could also certify the election results and place the item on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The initiative would create a "two-tier" pension system for non-police city employees, with new employees receiving pension payments at a lower rate than current employees, who can retire at 55 with a maximum of 81 percent of their highest annual salary for life.

The council has already signaled its attempt to move to a "two-tier" system, but the voter initiative differs in two important ways. The initiative would require a citywide vote for any future pension benefit "enhancement," and would also prevent benefit increases from being applied retroactively to current employees.

Proponents of the initiative collected 3,119 signatures, about 90 percent of which the county found to be valid in a random sample, according to City Clerk Margaret Roberts.

The council meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, between Laurel and Alma streets in the Civic Center complex.

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