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Orange County has begun to stake out a similar strategy to City Attorney Mike Aguirre in its attempts to manage a multibillion-dollar pension deficit.

The Los Angeles Times reported today on the “first-of-its-kind battle,” in which Orange County supervisors took the first step toward rolling back hundreds of millions of dollars in retroactive pension benefits awarded in 2001.

But the approach isn’t completely novel. Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, who is pushing the measure, is arguing that the benefits are unconstitutional because they violated a state law that forbids the creation of debt without providing for proper funding.

That’s one of the key arguments employed by Aguirre in his pension suit. (Moorlach’s been closely following our problems here in recent years.)

There are a few key differences between what’s going on in San Diego and in Orange County. First, if the supervisors do go ahead with the move, which isn’t yet final, it would be the actual legislative body attempting to take back the benefits. So far here, the attack has come from the City Attorney’s Office. Second, Aguirre’s challenge is much broader, using other laws in his attempt and going after a much wider array of employee benefits.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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