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Mayor Jerry Sanders today unveiled a new pension proposal for new, non-public safety employees that he hopes to take to voters in November.

The proposal is estimated to save taxpayers about $53.6 million over its first 11 years. If it were in place today and all non-public safety employees were enrolled in the system, the pension plan would save the city $25.1 million annually, according to the Mayor’s Office.

It is different from the original plan he proposed at the start of the year and from the union proposal he embraced earlier this month at the last second when the fortunes of his proposal appeared in doubt in front of City Council.

There is a June 20 deadline for submitting details for proposals for the November ballot, according to the office of Council President Scott Peters. A council hearing would then be held July 7 to consider ballot initiatives.

“I will give serious consideration to the Mayor’s plan, along with any other proposals made by the City’s Independent Budget Analyst, my Council colleagues, employee groups or the public. If the City Council approves the Mayor’s ballot measure in July, it will appear on the November ballot,” Peters said today in a prepared statement.

But before the City Council can approve the proposal and place it on the ballot, the mayor is required by state labor laws to negotiate with the city’s three labor unions.

“I would imagine that we’ll have spirited sessions in meet and confer,” Sanders said. “What the meet and confer is really about is about the language and wording.”

Local 127 President Joan Raymond was present at the conference and stated that she could not comment on the new pension proposal because she had just seen it. The mayor has not been in contact with Local 127 since the council held impasse hearings two weeks ago, she said. Raymond then added that the mayor’s proposal is a political gesture and the mayor did not adequately involve the unions when he formulated it.

“We’re on the eve of the election [Sanders] shouldn’t be using the city as a political football,” she said. “How can he know what’s fair to workers when he’s not talking to them?” 

City Attorney Mike Aguirre also felt similarly, saying that he would explain why the mayor’s pension proposal is “more of a political rather than sensible proposal” in a press conference this afternoon.

The mayor and three City Hall labor unions representing white-collar and blue-collar workers and deputy city attorneys have been negotiating their labor contracts since January, and throughout the five months of negotiations the mayor held steadfast to a hybrid plan which included both defined contribution and defined benefit elements.

After the City Council failed to approve his labor contract proposal for the labor unions, which ultimately included a union pension proposal, the mayor threatened to take a pension proposal directly to voters in November.

For the last few weeks the mayor has been undecided about what kind of pension plan he prefers to take to voters. His new proposal is still a hybrid plan, but is different from the original program he floated.

Check back later for more details.

— LEA YU

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