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On Thursday, Aug. 5, Mayor Jerry Sanders and Council President Ben Hueso were told that the mayor's office had instructed the comptroller not to implement the new member contribution rates that had been adopted by the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System July 9. This "is a violation of the law," said Mark Hovey, SDCERS's chief executive officer, in a letter to Sanders and Hueso. On the same day, the city attorney's office wrote to Jay Goldstone, the city's chief operating officer, and Ken Whitfield, comptroller, that City Attorney Jan Goldsmith had received a telephone call that morning from Hovey, indicating that the mayor's office may have told the comptroller not to comply with the new rate structure. SDCERS's new employee contribution rates "have somehow been altered," said the memo.

Goldsmith is pushing for employees to pick up more of the pension contribution costs. The new rates would have employees picking up part of disability costs. The police and firefighters, in particular, have been battling against the proposition. At a city council rules committee meeting July 21, a police representative said that this would be the first time in California history that safety workers would be asked to pay for disability benefits. A representative of the police said that police would be paying 20% of their salaries if both disability and normal pensions were included in their payments.

"Having SDCERS insist that the City collect more in contributions for pensions and disability is a miracle; nothing like this has been done before," says former City Attorney Mike Aguirre. He believes that Hovey's actions suggest that the pension fund "is hurting for cash flow." I have not been able to ask SDCERS about that.

One thing is puzzling. The letter by the city attorney's office to Goldstone and Whitfield is signed by three people, including Roxanne Story Parks, deputy city attorney. At the SDCERS meeting May 28, the board discussed how Parks, associate general council of SDCERS, would be moving to the city attorney's office. It was stated that Parks has signed an agreement that there would be no conflict of interest, and that she would not be working on pensions with the city attorney's office. I will attempt to clarify that Monday.

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Comments

Founder Aug. 8, 2010 @ 3:19 p.m.

  • Pity City -

Mayor Sanders and Council President Hueso are quite a pair; all San Diego's poor tax payers just want them both to be fair.

Glad to be first to just ask, will this hold them to their task?

Is this a ray of brilliant light or the first salvo in the fight.

I bet you, our "Best" news hound, could give US some more background...

So what do you say, "Oh, Knowledgeable Sage", Are all the lawyers, really on the same page?

I'd also suggest calling the Office of the IBA, they too have legal oversight and see what they have to say.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 8, 2010 @ 4:59 p.m.

At a city council rules committee meeting July 21, a police representative said that this would be the first time in California history that safety workers would be asked to pay for disability benefits. A representative of the police said that police would be paying 20% of their salaries if both disability and normal pensions were included in their payments.

Boo.. Hoo Hoo....cry me a river.

Don't like it quit, and don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

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Don Bauder Aug. 8, 2010 @ 9:20 p.m.

Response to post #1: If all lawyers were on the same page, none would make money. There have to be lawyers on the opposite page to keep the lawsuits flowing. However, in downtown San Diego/CCDC/developer scams, most of the lawyers and the money are lined up on one side -- the side of greed. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 8, 2010 @ 9:22 p.m.

Response to post #2: I thought that statement would arouse you, SP. Best, Don Bauder

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Founder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 8:20 a.m.

Response to post #4: Is there some way to get the Reader Staff to help "arouse" the print Readers by including "More" of the blog posts in their paper version?

I find very few folks actually know about the online version and less even know about the "Blog's" that make it "the" place in SD to learn about what is happening, especially about City Hall and our Bummer Budget!

Maybe they would consider a Cover Story on Reader's Blogging for Openness in San Diego's Gov't..

I can see the Cover's Headline now:

Bloggers Bust Bureaucratic Bubble

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 11:07 a.m.

Response to post #5: I hope the headline would not read: Bloggers' Bubble Burst by Burgeoning Bureaucracy. Best, Don Bauder

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HonestGovernment Aug. 9, 2010 @ 12:09 p.m.

Don Bauder says: "in downtown San Diego/CCDC/developer scams, most of the lawyers and the money are lined up on one side"

And so it seems to go with the CCDC/consultants/money:

http://www.keysermarston.com/index.cfm?navid=75 Mr. Trimble is Managing Principal of Keyser Marston Associates, Inc., San Diego. He came to Keyser Marston in 1992 after... 10 years as the chief executive officer of the Centre City Development Corporation, San Diego.

Here is CCDC's Alessi explaining to Faulconer the CAP "facts": http://docs.sandiego.gov/councildockets_attach/2010/June/CPPT_Faulconer_E_LTR_06_15_10_CAP.pdf

Page 5 identifies the CCDC's blight-hunting consultants, who will be paid >$500K to find the blight that will justify increasing the downtown redevelopment tax-increment CAP and timeframe. One consultant, the primary one, is identified only as "KMA." And that is...Keyser Marston Associates?

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Founder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 1:45 p.m.

Response to post #7: HG ...and we all know what the "other" definition is for KMA...

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JustWondering Aug. 9, 2010 @ 2:22 p.m.

This story is now moot, as the City has agreed to implement the changes as requested by SDCERS. Goldstone's explanation and actions were reasonable considering what happened in July Rules Committee meeting. But Council President Hueso has not followed through, so the new rates are now in effect.

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Founder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 2:31 p.m.

Reply to #9 Thanks for your update! + Perhaps you can tell all of us more about what you know about this:

"so the new rates are now in effect"

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HonestGovernment Aug. 9, 2010 @ 2:56 p.m.

Ha! Funny, Founder. Didn't think of that! Anyone have any info on KMA's subconsultant, "3DV" or "3D Visions" or anything similar?

Can't find an active Cal/local business registration on any name variant...just wondering...

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JustWondering Aug. 9, 2010 @ 3:32 p.m.

Under the Charter and Ordinances, SDCERS must conduct actuarially studies, or experience studies from time to time to "tune" the system to "real world" facts.

In addition, at the urging of the City Attorney, SDCERS decided for the first time in 50+ years to make the employees pay a substantially equal portion the disability component.

SDCERS becomes the first retirement system in California, if not the nation to have its safety members, (Police, Fire & Lifeguards) contribute to cost of a disability retirement if they are injured while protecting the public.

During the July Rules Committee hearing, after the Police Chief and others spoke out against this action, the rules committee decided to forward it on for discussion by the full Council.

The new rates became effected 7/10/10 but were delayed by Goldstone, who believed the Council, as the plan sponsor, would change the rates eliminating the disability component.

He implied he didn't want go through the expense and brain damage of changing the withholding tables twice. As it turns out, this may happen now if the Council dockets the item in September and changes the ordinances.

I believe the old adage is no good deed goes unpunished. But, with all of the issues SDCERS has been subject to over the last 10 years I understand their position. Additionally, SDCERS has promised the IRS that it would follow the law. One of reasons we're in this mess, was loose interpretation, handshakes and promises.

While I believe Mr. Goldstone's intentions are honorable. In fact he was attempting to save the taxpayers a few dollars based upon his belief a change was imminent. However it really IS better for all parties to follow the plan documents and controlling statues.

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Founder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 4:57 p.m.

Reply #12 JW

Thanks again for your Factual checking of our City's "spending a buck to save a dime".

FYI

perhaps you'd like to see what it's costing US to "Run" per day), just the City of SD, NOT counting the Redev. Agency and other related things:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/np-star/2010/aug/06/what-does-it-cost-to-run-sd-per-day/#c69057

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 5:42 p.m.

Response to post #7: That is a conflict of interest. I didn't know about. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 5:45 p.m.

Response to post #8: This may or may not be a conflict of interest, but it certainly is something the public should know about. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 5:51 p.m.

Response to post #9: I'll have to look into that. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 5:53 p.m.

Response to post #10: Yes, we need to know more. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 5:56 p.m.

Response to post #11: This is quite interesting. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 6:08 p.m.

Response to post #12: The IRS's position is important. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2010 @ 6:09 p.m.

Response to posts #s 13 and 14: People really want to know how the City spends its money. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 10, 2010 @ 4 p.m.

At a fund raiser before his election, Mike Aguirre said he would post a clear-cut distillation of the city's income and sources and its outlays on his website. I didn't check. Does anyone know if he did or if such information is currently available anywhere? If so, has there been any honest analysis of the data and its implications?

Or is such information Top Secret?

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Founder Aug. 10, 2010 @ 4:10 p.m.

Reply to #22 I'd suggest you give the Independent Budget Analyst a call and ask them (619) 236-6555.

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Don Bauder Aug. 10, 2010 @ 9:08 p.m.

Response to post #22: I don't know if he did. His former reports have been on www.sdcityattorney.com. I haven't checked it recently. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 10, 2010 @ 9:10 p.m.

Response to post #23: Does the IBA office answer the public's calls and give out information? That's new to me, but maybe it's worth a try. Best, Don Bauder

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