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The board of the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System today (Sept. 18) rejected by 10-2 a proposal that would have loosened accounting standards even more, and lowered the City's payment to the system next year by more than $30 million. Before the vote, the Sanders administration warned that the City would have to trim $30 million from the budget if the measure failed. After the vote, the Sanders clan warned that the City could lose up to 400 jobs. SDCERS and other pension funds use so-called "smoothing" techniques, such as spreading out gains or losses over four years. Through use of a so-called "corridor," such smoothing can be kept within fairly reasonable bounds. SDCERS was under pressure to widen the corridor so that the City's backbreaking payment would be reduced. Last July, when SDCERS said it would look into ledger-demain techniques, Councilmembers Donna Frye and Carl DeMaio immediately assaulted the idea, warning that phony accounting was what got the pension system $2 billion in the hole. DeMaio today congratulated SDCERS for rejecting looser accounting. He noted that it was Managers Proposal I (MP1) and Managers Proposal II (MP2) that got the City into such deep trouble. If SDCERS had loosened the reins, it would have been "Managers Proposal III," he said. David B. Wescoe, administrative head of SDCERS, denounced both Frye and DeMaio without naming them. Wescoe claimed that "any comparison of today's discussion to the 1996 or 2002...proposals [MP1 and MP2] is a mischaracterization of fact."

Said DeMaio, "If the mayor and the city council want to reduce the cost of the city's pension, they should focus on reforming the unsustainable level of benefits awarded to city employees."

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Comments

JustWondering Sept. 19, 2009 @ 1:18 p.m.

MP I had a safety net; a floor where a balloon payment was required once the Pension System's funding ratio breeched below 82%. It was our elected leaders, Golding and Murphy and their City Managers, McGrory who first proposed underfunding, then Michael T. Uberuaga and Lamont Ewell who purposely ignore requirement to make the mandatory catch up payments that should be held accountable.

But since they are no longer holding any public office, they've all gotten a pass. What's left of this golden idea? Well the shaft of course, leaving the City and its taxpayers obligated now instead of then. All of it to protect Golding's and Murphy's greed to for higher political office and their powerful developer friends.

If there's one consolation out of all of this, it's both Golding and Murphy are disgraced and should never hold political office again. If they do, we only have ourselves to blame.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 19, 2009 @ 3:29 p.m.

MP I had a safety net; a floor where a balloon payment was required once the Pension System's funding ratio breeched below 82%.

JW, if you recall the "safety net" payment was not supposed to exceed $25 million-which was contracted as a ballon payment, and when that threshhold was breached that ballon payment was 20 times that amount-$500 million.

Your claim the underfunding was the reason for the problems is not 100% accurate- underfunding was only partially responsible for that $500 million, the pension spike quid pro quo to get out of that ballon payment created most of that $500 million deficit.

The "catch up payments" you reference should have been made-but they were not. The party/s you left out of the equatiuon were the unions, who went along and played ball for enhanced pension spikes.

So there is plenty of blame to go around here-but the citizens are not the ones who created this mess.

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2009 @ 4:39 p.m.

Response to post #1: I can't imagine that either Golding or Murphy would put a toe back in politics. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2009 @ 4:46 p.m.

Response to post #2: The underfunding started with the Republican Convention of 1996. Scott Barnett, then with the Taxpayers Association, repeatedly tried to find out where the City got that money for the convention. The ball was hidden from him. He never got an accounting. The media didn't look into it. Both MP1 and MP2 got almost no media coverage until the whole thing blew up in 2004. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Sept. 19, 2009 @ 5:51 p.m.

So who voted which way? That might provide a little more insight into this story.

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2009 @ 9:32 p.m.

Response to post #5: SDCERS board members Gregory Bych, named to the board by the mayor, and Steven Meyer of the Wastewater Department voted to permit loosening of accounting standards. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Sept. 19, 2009 @ 9:43 p.m.

Thanks. So now we know who the mayor's Bych's are, eh?

Interesting that most of the union reps voted against the proposal. Which group does Meyer represent?

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2009 @ 9:49 p.m.

Response to post #7: I don't know what you mean by "which group" Bych belongs to. He works for the City. That suggests something to me. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Sept. 20, 2009 @ 8:07 p.m.

I'm not 100% sure of the makeup of the board. Some are the mayor's appointees, some are voted in by the various unions. Who voted in Meyer. I know who Bych answers to.

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Don Bauder Sept. 20, 2009 @ 9:10 p.m.

Response to post #9: Sorry, but I don't know the answer to that one. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering Sept. 21, 2009 @ 8:22 a.m.

There are 2 active City of San Diego Employee "General Members", elected by active general members, Meyers is one of them. You can read the bio's on all of the Board Members by following this link: https://www.sdcers.org/about/Pages/BoardMembers.aspx

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Don Bauder Sept. 21, 2009 @ 9:44 a.m.

Response to post #11: I didn't go to SDCERS website. Info seems to be there. Best, Don Bauder

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