Here’s a quick rundown of three news tidbits from the afternoon:

  • The City Council appears poised to finally do away with the so-called “waterfall” in its pension system, a funding structure that allowed the earnings of its investments to be used to fund off-the-books benefits. It’s set to be heard by council Monday.

Here’s a May 2006 story we had on the topic and a November 2006 story on paperwork in the City Attorney’s Office that was holding up waterfall changes.

The waterfall has long been identified by professionals and consultants as an unsound financial practice, as it siphons off earnings that are supposed to be squirreled away for the long term.

  • In announcing the creation of the Public Integrity Unit we wrote about yesterday, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis today added two more details: she will institute the use of a grand jury and won’t endorse political candidates anymore. From her release:

The use of a Criminal Grand Jury allows for a thorough, fair, and professional investigation of public integrity matters. And since Criminal Grand Jury investigations are secret, public officials do not need to worry that they will be unfairly hurt by false or unsubstantiated allegations. The DA’s Office will be vigilant in keeping the proceedings secret and prosecuting any witness who lies under oath.

DA Dumanis also announced today that she will no longer personally endorse political candidates, except in unusual circumstances. “I will not allow our office to be used as a pawn during political campaigns,” Dumanis said.

  • Mayor Jerry Sanders today announced the installation of new solar energy technology at the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant, a program he said will save the city an estimated $40,000 a year.

The solar panels were installed and fully financed by SunEdison, according to the mayor. In exchange, the city has agreed to purchase about $192,000 in energy from SunEdison annually. The city has installed its own solar facilities on other buildings, but instead chose the tradeoff of not having to finance and maintain the structure in this deal.


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