DA Changes Mind on Pension Reform

Mayoral candidate’s stance has impact on city employees’ 401(k) plans

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP

    Mayoral candidate’s stance has impact on city employees’ 401(k) plans

    There was fresh buzz in the San Diego mayor's race Thursday when a leading contender switched positions on the Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative.

    The initiative would replace pensions with 401(k) retirement plans for all new city hires except police officers.

    District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis had opposed the measure, on grounds that fire fighters and lifeguards won't have a "safety net" with 401(k)'s.

    But since the initiative allows for investing in fixed-income retirement annuities, she's gotten on board with the campaign to put it on next year's primary ballot, and now supports the replacement of pensions.

    "The annuity option would provide a fair benefit for first responders who enroll in the program – but cost the taxpayers nothing more than what's already provided in the initiative,” Dumanis said.

    Dumanis had been at odds on the issue with Mayor Sanders, as well as with her other two major Republican rivals – City Councilman Carl DeMaio and State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.

    She said the issue of re-enrolling city workers in Social Security – 30 years after San Diego opted out of the system – will be resolved in future discussions.

    Firefighter union leaders say Dumanis bowed to pressure from Republican political and financial interests to support the initiative.

    "This pension reform, they'd have vetted it through the City Council if they thought it was a good idea,” said Frank De Clercq, head of the city’s firefighters union. “But again, they didn't. This is another special-interest end run from Wall Street to developers and builders – the guys who are filling their pockets."

    Dumanis says she won't accept a city pension, if elected.

    Congressman Bob Filner, the only big-name Democrat in the race, said he's still running the numbers on a pension reform plan of his own, and that even the annuity option is "unfair" without Social Security benefits.