City Council members vote to increase their pension contributions


By City News Service

The San Diego City Council agreed Tuesday to contribute more toward the cost of members’ own pensions.

The City Council voted 7-1, with Councilman Tony Young casting the dissenting vote, to eliminate so-called retirement offsets for elected officials and employees who are not represented by a union.

The change will result in a savings to the city of about $380,000.

The vote, which requires a second reading, means council members, who make $75,386 a year, will pay between $2,170 and $4,423 more annually toward the cost of their pensions.

Councilman Carl DeMaio, who doesn’t take a city pension, voted to eliminate the offset, but said it doesn’t go far enough.

DeMaio said today’s action only increases the amount elected officials must contribute to their pensions from 8 percent of the total cost to 23 percent. He said that figure should be half.

“The City Council has to lead by example,” DeMaio said.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer and Mayor Jerry Sanders also do not take a pension.

City Council President Ben Hueso said reducing his salary by 5.69 percent was “an enormously big gesture.”

Councilwoman Donna Frye said the vote demonstrates the City Council’s commitment to pension reform.

“This is about reform,” Frye said. “This is about cutting a benefit that will certainly not solve the problem, but certainly is a step in the right direction.”

San Diego’s pension system is now saddled with a deficit of about $2 billion.

Eliminating the retirement offset for elected officials is one of 10 financial and pension reform benchmarks that must be met before a proposed half-cent sales tax hike - if approved by voters on Nov. 2 - can take effect.