The city of San Diego has filed suit against the police union in a case meant to determine whether the Deferred Retirement Option Program is a vested pension benefit.

The question is whether DROP can be altered for current employees as part of the collective bargaining process. The employee unions believe DROP is a vested benefit; Mayor Jerry Sanders does not.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Superior Court asks the court to declare that DROP is a “term and condition of employment within the mandatory scope of bargaining.”

The city and unions have already agreed to end DROP for new employees. In February, the pension board voted to lower the annual guaranteed rate of return for DROP participants from 7.75 percent a year to 3.54 percent.

For background on how the program works, view my story from February.

RANI GUPTA

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