I just heard from Ann Smith, the attorney for San Diego’s white-collar employees union, on the federal appeals court ruling in favor of the city and against the police union.

In an e-mail to Municipal Employees Association members, Smith pans City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s press release on the issue. Here’s part of her e-mail to members:

[T]he City Attorney has issued a misleading press release regarding the issues decided by the appeal by declaring that this decision confirms his opinion that DROP is not a vested pension benefit. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE COURT DECIDED AND NOT THE ISSUE WHICH WAS BEFORE IT FOR DECISION. Instead, POA’s claim related to “DROP salary,” not the DROP benefit itself … This decision has nothing whatsoever to do with DROP being a vested pension benefit and this Ninth Circuit decision does not hold that the DROP itself is not a vested pension benefit. The only decision the Court made with regard to DROP is that the salary an employee is earning while actively employed and in DROP may lawfully be reduced because this salary is not vested.

Finally, the City Attorney has also proclaimed today that this Ninth Circuit decision means that retiree medical benefits are not vested and protected against impairment by the constitution. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling on this point only applies to the POA based on the record the POA made during its litigation over changes in eligibility for retiree medical benefits which the City made in 2005 (and to which MEA agreed). Not only does this decision not address or apply to the retiree medical benefit rights of MEA-represented employees, the record developed by the City and the POA during this federal court litigation was inadequate in detailing the fundamental factual history and legal doctrines applicable to your retiree medical benefit rights as an MEA-represented employee.

Here’s my original post.


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