City Asks State Appeals Court To Rule On Prop. B

Voters Approved City Pension Measure On Tuesday

City attorneys asked the state's 4th District Court of Appeal Thursday to hear all five pending court cases involving Proposition B, the pension-system-overhaul measure overwhelmingly passed by voters this week.

» Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts» Like Us On Facebook» Follow Us On Twitter

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he also sent a pair of letters to each of the six unions that represent municipal workers -- one asking for a required meet-and-confer process to implement the provisions of the ballot measure and the other inviting them to discuss a global settlement for all outstanding issues between the city and its employees.

"The city got the message from the voters on June 5," Goldsmith said. "The election's over and it's time to get to work."

He said he wants to avoid the type of delay that dogged implementation of managed competition, which was approved by voters in 2006 but was only implemented two years ago.

"Managed competition got mired in litigation," Goldsmith said. "We're going to try to avoid that any which way we can."

Labor leaders filed lawsuits and campaigned intensely against Proposition B, but it was approved by two-thirds of San Diego voters. Lorena Gonzalez, the CEO of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, told City News Service on election night the measure would be overturned by the courts.

Goldsmith said he's prepared to go to court to defend Prop. B if he has to.

"It takes, in this case, seven parties to find that common ground. I'm not daring anybody. I don't want litigation," he said.

"Lawsuits aimed at delaying the will of the voters simply are not the solution here," said Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

The main provisions call for most new employees -- police officers excepted -- to be given 401(k)-style plans instead of being enrolled in the debt-ridden pension system, and for five years limiting to base salary the compensation that is later computed into retirement pay.

Goldsmith released a five-point plan on immediate steps that will be taken toward implementation, including the legal filing and two letters. He also suggested developing the 401(k)-style plan and instituting a hiring freeze if it is not ready by the time the election results are certified -- which could be as soon as mid-July.

The appellate justices can hear the cases or not as they see fit, according to Goldsmith. Several of the cases were designed to stop the ballot measure from going before the voters in the first place, but they also have substantive issues that district court judges said could be litigated if it passed.

Goldsmith said he did not know when the justices would decide if they would hear the cases.

"The only thing that short circuits us, gets us off, is a stay order from a court," said Goldsmith.

City Council President Tony Young said the council would discuss the proposition Monday.

He said voters were "loud and clear" that they want pension changes for city workers, and his policy was to implement the will of the public.

"Now it's incumbent for city leaders to respond in a timely manner," Young said.

Goldsmith said Proposition B amended the City Charter, and a court recently reiterated that the charter was the supreme law of the city unless superseded by state law. Because of that, city leaders have no choice but to implement its provisions, he said.

The City Council will consider hiring an expert in implementing Prop B during its meeting Monday.

10News contacted several union leaders, but none of them were ready to comment as of Thursday afternoon.

Print this article Back to Top