Almanac

News - July 21, 2010

City will file opposing argument to pension lawsuit

by Renee Batti

Menlo Park's city attorney will file an opposing argument to the legal challenge by two public employee unions of the citizen-driven pension reform initiative, and will ask the court to allow the initiative to remain on the November ballot.

City Attorney Bill McClure was given the instruction to proceed with the court filing by a unanimous vote of the City Council during a July 13 closed-session meeting, he reported after the meeting.

The unions, AFSCME Local 829 and SEIU Local 521, and resident Katy Rose filed the lawsuit on June 23, challenging the legality of the initiative. The lawsuit names the city of Menlo Park and resident Ned Moritz, treasurer of Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform, the group that gathered some 3,100 signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

The initiative would increase the retirement age for new, non-police employees from 55 to 60 years, and would decrease the pension payments those employees receive.

The lawsuit asserts that the pension reform initiative violates Article XI, section 7, of the state Constitution; and provisions of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act. It asks the court to decide the issue, and keep the measure off the ballot if it agrees that it's illegal.

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