Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 9
Enron Revisited: City Pension Fund in No Better Shape
It was almost exactly six years ago that the City of San Diego was forced to admit that it had been cooking the books since 1996, and that unless it raised taxes or cut worker benefits, it would have to slash services. It has raised fees, modestly trimmed worker benefits, and deeply slashed services. So what is the state of the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System six years later? No better. Here are some numbers from the SDCERS board meeting Jan. 22, 2010: As of mid-2009, the funded ratio was a meager 66.5% and unfunded actuarial liability $2.11 billion. In 2004, when the horrible news hit, the ratio was 65.8% and the unfunded actuarial liability was a more manageable $1.37 billion. At mid-year 2009, the market value of assets was $3.5 billion. That was down from $4.4 billion a year earlier. There was a big rally in financial assets beginning in March of last year. But as of November of last year, the SDCERS fund assets had grown to $4.4 billion rounded off -- actually slightly less than the figure from mid-2008. Meanwhile, the City's ARC (annual required contribution) due July 1 has jumped 50% from a year earlier to $231.7 million.