The San Diego City Council on Monday discussed preliminary measures needed to implement Proposition B, the voter-passed pension overhaul initiative, and unanimously voted to retain outside lawyers and an actuary to work on the new plans.
"We are off to a good start," said Councilman Carl DeMaio. "My hope is that we continue this process with an eye toward creating a reliable, secure and affordable retirement system consistent with Prop B."
Council President Tony Young said the council had to commit to the will of the public, who approved of the ballot measure with 66 percent of the vote.
Young called for a discussion on the parameters of a 401(k)-style plan that will be given to new employees other than police officers, who will still be enrolled in the pension system. The initial plan, called a "defined contribution plan," would go to the handful of municipal workers not represented by unions and to workers hired once the election results are certified by the state, which could be as soon as mid-July.
Another of the measure's provisions is a limitation on employees calculations of their eventual pension payouts. Under Proposition B, for the next five years, workers will only be able to figure in base compensation, which City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said would be part of a memorandum of understanding to be presented to the city's unions next year.
"Not all plans are created equal. That's why you want to look at what's out there and what the options are," Councilman Kevin Faulconer said. "One of the things, from my standpoint, is to make sure those new employees that go into the system have one of the best plans we can put together for them."
Councilman Carl DeMaio said the city should err on the side of benchmarking the benefit package against those in the local labor market.
Deputy City Attorney Roxanne Story Parks said there were a lot of blanks to be filled in by policy makers such as the levels of contributions, the vesting schedule and what types of disability benefits would be offered.
Parks recommended adopting an interim plan based on one of the city's existing plans for unrepresented employees hired during the period between when Proposition B becomes effective and when the council adopts a final defined contribution plan while negotiating the terms of the actual plan.