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Jon Fleischman

Carl DeMaio: Court Ruling Gives Green Light To San Diego Pension Reform

This just in from San Diego City Councilman, candidate for Mayor, and long-time pension reform advocate Carl DeMaio..

Pension reformer Councilman Carl DeMaio, a candidate for Mayor of San Diego, has been target for defeat by big labor.

This morning you will be reading about an important court ruling that protects efforts to bring meaningful pension reform to San Diego.  I wanted to provide a little analysis for what this means going forward.

After Comprehensive Pension Reform was supported 66% of San Diego citizens in June, the local Municipal Employee Union and representatives of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) asked the Superior Court for a restraining order against the City of San Diego.  The Unions and their allies at PERB wanted the Court to stop San Diego from doing the work necessary to implement Proposition B until PERB makes a decision on a frivolous union claim.  That decision could take six months or longer.

The Court chose to allow San Diego to meet its obligations under the City’s charter and work toward making pension reform a reality.  In his ruling, Judge Vargas noted “The court finds traditional equitable considerations now weigh in favor of the voters, the City of San Diego and of a proper and orderly implementation of (Prop B).”  San Diego can continue setting up a 401(k) for new hires and will be able to enroll the people into the new system in the next few weeks.

Granting of the temporary restraining order would have meant that the city would be placed in an impossible position.  If the City hired and new employees, it could only do so by going against its own Charter.  The only other option would be to not hire any new employees to avoid going against the Charter.

Of course, I expect the labor unions to keep fighting the will of citizens with time consuming and wasteful legal challenges.  PERB will eventually make a determination on the unfair labor charges and that will probably end up in court as well.

After all the legal maneuvers and delay tactics are exhausted, I’m confident comprehensive pension reform will be enacted in its entirety and San Diego can serve as a model for other financially distressed cities in California and beyond.  Let’s hope that PERB and future courts’ ruling on pension reform will continue to “weigh in favor of the voters.”