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I called San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office to ask if he saw any problem with the city having to raise the retirement benefits of County Supervisor Ron Roberts and others even after Roberts left city service. As we discussed in the post below, the reciprocity agreements between the city and county require the city to calculate Roberts’ pension from his time at the city using his final salary at the county, which, of course, is still growing.

George Biagi, a spokesman for the mayor, told me that it works to the city’s advantage to have this kind of an agreement with the county. The city will need, and has had, to attract employees from the county, Biagi said, so you have to have these types of agreements so that employees know they not losing any ground on their retirement benefits if they leave their current jobs.

The program “encourages people to move among public systems” and that is a good thing, Biagi said. Though, he said, Roberts’ pension increase “raises an issue.”

“We’re always trying to get quality employees,” Biagi said. “People who choose jobs in the public sector make far less than what they could in the private sector. When you’re luring them away from their jobs, how you structure their pension benefits is important.”

Biagi said the mayor will continue to review programs like this to see if there is a need for reform and if it “makes sense.”

SCOTT LEWIS

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