Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
Goldsmith Quietly Drops DROP Appeal
On June 15, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith quietly dropped an appeal that he had filed with the 4th Appellate District of a case against allegedly excessive employee benefits that had been lost at the trial level by his predecessor, Mike Aguirre.
Aguirre had two major cases against employee benefits. He won one, against purchase of service credits (the ability of employees to purchase years of service at a discount price). That was upheld on appeal.
The second case was against benefits that were given to city employees in 1996 and 2002. These benefits included DROP, or Deferred Retirement Option Plan, a classic double-dipping arrangement. At age 55, employees say they will retire in 5 years; they continue drawing their salaries, and also get 90% of their highest one-year salary plopped in an account that grows at 8% a year, plus a cost-of-living benefit. Thus, they retire with their monthly annuity payment plus a fat lump sum.
During the campaign in which Goldsmith ran against Aguirre, there was a fracas on the issue. Aguirre charged that Goldsmith was soliciting support from labor unions representing police, firefighters, and other city employees, thus undermining the appeal of the case. Goldsmith got the backing of those unions. Goldsmith waited three years before appealing the case, but then quietly dropped it.