Although the latest pension developments seem to be an echo of what has already happened with labor talks — the mayor says he and the unions are still at impasse, negotiations aren’t happening, the City Council is considering another mayoral pension proposal — this next round of talks may have the potential to be more flexible and attentive to various other pension alternatives.

While City Attorney Mike Aguirre ruled last year that a stalemate between the mayor and the unions could only receive an up-or-down vote from the council, council president spokeswoman Pam Hardy said that Aguirre’s ruling does not apply to ballot proposals, which have previously have been amended by the City Council.

“This is what happened with the charter reform measures and this is what happened with the measure that created the strong mayor form of government: the council modified the proposals and then voted on them,” she said. 

Independent Budget Analyst Tevlin said this next round of council hearings may also create more discussions about pension alternatives. The Independent Budget Analyst’s office will at the very least bring up other pension options which they have presented to the council in the past, she said, and the council may ask the IBA to evaluate other proposals brought forth by the union.

“At this point it’s in the [City Council’s] hands and they can look at any options they want, so I think the council very much wants to be able to look at all options to see the pros and cons of them all, and have a deliberative process about it,” she said. 

Hardy said the council’s rules committee will hear public comment regarding the pension proposal on June 25, and then has the power to reject the proposal or send it along to the council with recommendations. The council then can accept, reject or modify the mayor’s proposal for the ballot on July 7.

— LEA YU

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