City Attorney Mike Aguirre said yesterday that he will renew his fight to take over as the pension system’s chief lawyer, saying that an agreement between the city and the retirement board in his main pension lawsuit has cleared a conflict that has stood in his way.

The city attorney claimed that the obstacle that a court cited when it denied Aguirre’s attempt to take over as legal counsel to the retirement system last year had been lifted.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Barton ruled in February that the sheer fact that the city and its retirement system disagreed over Aguirre’s pension case showed that they could not be represented by the same attorney.

Aguirre said that the retirement system’s agreement to abide by the court’s ruling on the pension benefits Aguirre is attacking removed the conflict that Barton cited.

Aguirre argued it was necessary that he represent the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System because its current lawyers advised that the board had the authority to set the city’s timetable for paying off its $1 billion debt. The SDCERS board voted March 16 to allow the city 20 years to pay off the deficit, as long as the payments are large enough to keep the debt from growing.

Aguirre said the board should honor the proposition voters passed that required the city to pay it off in 15 years, despite the state attorney general’s opinion that the measure was invalid.

“It’s unwarranted and irresponsible legal advice,” he said at a press conference Tuesday. “By not using a 15-year period, they’re making the pension plan more vulnerable.”


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