Even though Menlo Park's pension reform initiative was approved by 72 percent of the voters, opponents of the measure said they will again pursue a legal challenge.
"We believe provisions of the measure are unconstitutional. We will be asking a judge to take another look at its constitutionality and overturn it if necessary," said Jerry Jimenez, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 520, which fought the measure during the campaign.
SEIU and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) lost a lawsuit in August to keep Measure L off the ballot, and then poured at least $69,000 into defeating it at the ballot box, according to campaign finance addendums filed in the week preceding the election.
That's about $30 per "no" vote; 2,272 people voted against the measure, according to the latest count.
The measure headed to voters after a grassroots campaign led by the Menlo Park Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform collected enough signatures to place it on the ballot. Council candidate Chuck Bernstein and Planning Commissioner Henry Riggs spearheaded the drive, along with Roy Thiele-Sardina and Ed Moritz.
Measure L raises the minimum retirement age for new public employees, excluding police officers, by five years to 60, and also decreases their maximum pension benefits by 0.7 percentage points to 2 percent of their highest annual salary averaged over three years.
Under this measure, a new hire who retired at age 60 after working for the city for 30 years would receive 60 percent of that average salary. Current employees can retire at age 55 and get 81 percent after working 30 years.
"We hope they re-think biting the hand that feeds them," said Mr. Riggs when asked about a possible second lawsuit.
Proponents of pension reform aren't done fighting yet either.
"Next up is to make clear that L was only a stop gap that does not by itself achieve sustainability -- that the full range of contract issues is indeed the purview of (City) Council and must be addressed with courage and conviction in future bargaining," Mr. Riggs said.