San Diego City Council approval for the major retiree health care deal could come as soon as Friday morning, but key details about the package aren’t yet public.

When he announced the deal on Friday, Mayor Jerry Sanders trumpeted savings of $323 million off the city’s $1.1 billion unfunded retiree health care liability. That translates to a cash-flow savings of $714 million over 25 years. But the Mayor’s Office hasn’t released a comprehensive analysis from the city’s actuary about the deal.

San Diego County Taxpayers Association President Lani Lutar has pushed for more specifics about the package. She said the city’s history of quickly approving poor pension deals means this one should receive more scrutiny.

“It would seem reasonable to learn from these past mistakes that we can no longer afford to trust our politicians,” Lutar said.

Lutar added her preliminary look at the information available indicated the city had left too much money on the table.

“It appears this is a significant giveaway of taxpayer dollars,” she said.

Sanders said in an interview Wednesday he’s given council members all the financial information they need to make an informed decision in closed session. He added the city has made poor decisions in the past, but that’s not now.

“That wasn’t when I was here,” Sanders said.

Sanders added he didn’t think the backup information could be made public prior to the deal being finalized. Sanders said he was “very confident” the full numbers would pass muster once it’s released. He dismissed the Taxpayers Associations’ criticisms by linking the group to Councilman Carl DeMaio, a frequent critic who has excoriated the health care deal.

“Let’s just be honest about that,” he said. “That’s about Carl DeMaio. It’s not about the numbers or anything else. It’s a political issue.”

Sanders has defended the package as a massive cut that avoids significant costs of potential litigation.

As of late Wednesday, five out of the city’s six employee unions had agreed to the package. The city’s police union, which has filed suit over health care issues, remains an outlier. The council is scheduled to vote on the deal Friday morning. The council is expected to pass it, as Republican Councilman Kevin Faulconer joined with his five Democratic colleagues to sign off on the deal in closed session last week.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter:

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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