Judgment Day for Pension Reform

The City Council will finalize a decision Tuesday for a pension reform ballot measure. This is the question that will likely be put to voters on June 5:

“To protect essential services: neighborhood police patrols, fire stations, libraries, community centers, streets and parks, shall the Charter be amended to reform retirement benefits of City employees and retirees by: increasing employees’ contributions; establishing a voluntary reduced pension plan for current employees and pension cost and benefit limitations for new employees; reforming disability retirements to prevent abuses; temporarily suspending retiree COLAs during emergency; and requiring voter approval for increases in future pension benefits?”

Here is the full breakdown of the city’s retirement benefits reform plan in a memo from City Manager Debra Figone, which suggests repealing the version crafted in December and appealing this new version.

Other matters going before the council Tuesday include:

— The city might write-off almost $1 million in uncollected debt, including $390,683 owed by bankrupt Mexicana Airlines.

— The city will consider sponsoring the “1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds” program.

—Hear an appeal of the planning commission’s recommendation against allowing alcohol to be sold at a Santana Row grocery store.

—Consider the planning commissions’ recommendation to approve more parking for a frat house.

—And, not that it will be discussed, but here’s the best line from the report on the well-attended Rules and Open Government Committee meeting Feb. 8: “David Wall proposed that items 7.2 and 7.3 be pulled from the agenda, citing a flawed approach and further questioned the competence of the Environmental Services Department staff.”

Click here to read the full City Council agenda for March 6, 2012.

Josh Koehn is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to josh@metronews.com or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

48 Comments

  1. Debra Figone just announced the city will have a surplus of 10 million next year in the general fund.  I smell a rat!  Isn’t it ironic the city has been running a “deficit” for a decade, even with the boom days of the early to mid 2000’s?  Now all of a sudden there is no more deficit.  Its also ironic that this “surplus” is being let out of the bag at such an opportune time, a time when city leadership is being called into question. 

    Whats really going on?  Well, I think Figone and Reed are running scared and know they have been misleading the public for many years.  Claiming deficits and financial hardships that never existed in the first place to get their employee unions to accept crummy contracts.  Spending millions upon millions on “pet” projects and billionaire insider deals.  Maybe they’re scared the cities books are going to be opened and show that they have really been hiding millions in other places and crying poor.  Please educate me if I am way off base.  I have a feeling when this is all over the city of Bell scandal will look like child’s play.

    • You sound like a grade school econ teacher.  The deficit over the last ten years is real, look at the budget documents, all public record, there is no golden egg hidden.  As for the possible syuplus projected for next year, there are 2,000 less employees and many of the senior employess with 25 years or more are gone, reducing payroll and retirement contributions by the City.  Very simple math.  The City books are open every year, a good econ professor should be able to read the documents and understand, not make scary lies.  As for the contracts of public employee unions, they have done very well over the last ten years, just recently have they taken a hit.  I don’t need to educate you, just go back to a basic finance class.

      • Maybe your’e right.  Maybe they really have been running a General Fund Deficit for 10 years.  If they were the reason is because they were pissing their money away on legacy projects through the RDA i.e. City Hall, Airport, Convention centers.  Reed has starved his general fund and always cried poor, but not poor enough to stop giving millions to his buddies.  Now that Brown did away with RDA’s they are going to have to pay back these massive bonds with General fund money, which they have already started doing.  San Jose used Bonds like a giant credit card for projects they could never afford and now they would like you to think the sole reason for their indebtedness is due to employees. 

        We have the lowest grossing billion dollar upgraded airport with very few international flights.  We have a 700 million dollar city hall that we don’t need and produces no revenue.  We approved a 300 million dollar renovation to the convention center that no one wants to come to.  The list goes on and on.

        According to the state Senate Office of Research (2009):

        San Jose has the largest RDA debt in the state.  Not only per capita but in total volume of debt.

        San Jose= 2.48 Billion dollars in RDA debt which is $2431.33 per person (population= 1023083) with just over one million residents

        That debt generates 202.3 million dollars in revenue per year which is $197.78 dollars per resident.  It costs the city 414.24 million per year to service that debt (Its probably higher now considering this was from 2009).  That means the city has to come up with approximately 212 million per year just to pay the RDA debt.

        Compare this to Los Angeles

        Los Angeles= 774.56 million dollars in RDA debt which is $189.16 per resident (polulation=4,094,764) with just over 4 million residents.

        That debt generates 265.17 million dollars in revenue per year which is $64.76 per resident.  It costs LA 347.65 million per year to service that debt.  That means LA has to come up with about 82 million per year to pay their RDA Debt.  With the size of their population that cant be that hard to do.

        http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2011/feb/07/san-diego-ranks-2nd-highest-redevelopment-debt/

        Ask yourself this: How is it that LA has less than a third of the RDA debt with four times the population?  How is it that LA has less than a third of the RDA debt and generates 63 million more annually from the taxes on its RDA investments?  The answer is shady deals and bad investments= poor leadership.  San Jose is the absolute undisputed king of RDA deals and the residents and employees are going to pay the price for it. 

        The RDA which has been headed by Reed is the real reason for this mess.  Employee pensions are underfunded and need to be modified legally, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to the debt the RDA produced.  Think about it.  Reed was never this cut throat with the unions until Brown did away with the RDA.  The problem is the real Ponzi scheme was the RDA and now that Reed has no more ways of producing projects to fund it, he is going to pay the debt with the general fund. 

        The problem is this:  Instead of Reed being honest and admitting the RDA has bankrupted the city, coupled with the increased pension costs, he wants to blame the whole thing on the unions.  Reed is responsible for this mess and refuses to admit his mistakes.

  2. Here you go Chuck are you just going to turn this down too!

    SJ Police and Fire just sent a proposal which garantees to save the city money.  I suggest everyone to go to protect san jose. com and read the propasal yourself

    • My question is “Why Now?”  All the time spent on bashing the mayor and now you want to make a last minute deal? I saw the “Deal”  Has the State agreed to take on San Jose public safety? (PERS) What will be the buy in cost to the city? 
          What is the plan (PERS)going through with Gov. Brown.  My understanding is Gov Brown will be doing a slash and burn with PERS trying to get a grip on Plush retirements.  What things do you have in place if PERS has a spike in employee cost?  It’s a shell game that is being attempted.

      • ““My question is “Why Now?””“

        Evidently, you have not been paying attention. This is the SECOND one. The first one would have saved the City $500 million…and the mayor turned it down.

        • I find the sudden Rush amusing.  Perhaps like the Italian ship you need a new Captain.  Your organization is on its side and sinking.  More time might have been better used if the 500 million savings were more out in Public.  You did a good job of putting the Mayor in a position of defense. (I agee with you on that)  Don’t blame me because I didn’t know.  Blame the Ships speaker.  Nobody in my neighborhood knows as well.  The only thing I have heard is “Abandon ship” by your talking head.  My neighborhood assoc. just put out a support statement for the Mayor.  That alone reached hundreds of people.

        • This is the Second one. The first was submitted, months ago. As far as your neighborhood Assoc…I could care less. I don’t care if they vote it in. I just don’t want the “hear” your whiny mouth when it is tied up in court for a few years while the mayor spends your money to defend it. We know that pension reform is needed. We never denied it and and made concessions. We just want it done, legally. If you don’t have the sense to question what the true numbers are, what the savings will be (which they have not provided you), then you get exactly what you deserve. I could care less about your neighborhood assoc support statement. Means absolutely nothing to me.

        • Well said, taxpayer.  These guys don’t really care about the City…most of the PD and FD don’t even live here.  And don’t give me crap about it’s too expensive for what we get paid…non-sworn city employees who make much, much less mostly do live here.

        • Until you do your civic duty and start policing these politicians, suffer the consequences.  So, after the city employees salaries and retirement have been reduced to nothing, who are you gonna blame then?!?!? This does not stop this reckless cities spending problem.  Where is the outrage of the money spent on land for a ballpark? Over the top spending on the convention center? Study after study. Millions of dollars tucked away for a lawsuit. And on and on.  So much more.  We live here, and we pay taxes too.  So thank you for screwing your neighbors.  Blind idiots.

        • Whoa big fella.  Help for your anguish and lack of self control is only a phone call away.  When you put on your red an blue suit with an S on it…time to check in.  I would probably blame my political team for such an ass whipping like I have never seen.  Your venting is exactly why you lost.  hahahaha.  Dude I don’t even think you saw that A whipping coming.  What do you pay dues for?  I would look into a refund.  The mayor did a good job of selling his goods. So who do you have to blame?

  3. This from the city mangaer:

    —- On Fri, 3/2/12, Robert St.amour <shotgun2095@aol.com> wrote:

    From: Robert St.amour <shotgun2095@aol.com>

    From: “Debra Figone” <citymanager@sanjoseca.gov>
    Date: March 2, 2012 14:34:25 PST
    To: “#All City Employees” <AllCityEmployees@sanjoseca.gov>
    Subject: Release of General Fund Five Year Forecast

    Dear City Employee,

    As we do every year at this time, we’ve just released our Five-Year General Fund Forecast today that finally has some good news:  after a decade of continuing shortfalls and budget cuts, we’re now actually anticipating a very small surplus of about $10 million for next year.  This good news must be placed in context, however.  We’ve been falling into a deep hole for a long time – and even if it looks like we might have finally hit bottom, we still have a long way to climb out of it.  Yet, I am relieved that we’re seeing hopeful signs for the future, and that we will not have to endure the same kinds of deep cuts that we’ve had to make in the past couple of years. 

    The forecast includes many assumptions about revenue and cost projections, of course, and these projections show that we could swing back and forth from small surpluses to small deficits over the next several years.  We will continuously update these assumptions as new information becomes available, and it’s important to keep in mind that these projections will continue to change, whether for next year or five years from now.

    Overall our General Fund revenues and expenditures are fairly well aligned in this forecast, reflecting the difficult steps we’ve taken to address our structural deficit.  Unfortunately, it’s also clear that we still don’t have capacity to restore key services that we cut in recent years, and the forecast does not address our significant backlog of infrastructure and maintenance needs.  The forecast does not assume employee raises, nor does it allow for increases in hiring and service levels.  And it does not include building back any of our reserves, which must be a long-term goal for us to achieve stability, especially in anticipation for the inevitable future rainy days.

    Here are some of the items the forecast does include:

    It reflects the very painful decisions that we’ve had to make in recent years to balance our budget by cutting costs, cutting services, cutting staff, and cutting compensation. Without those reductions, our forecast would continue to show serious shortfalls, and we would again be faced with the need to make further reductions.

    The forecast assumes the continuation of modest growth in the economy and the related increases in revenues such as property tax and sales tax. As our regional and national economies improve, that will help our future situation.

    And this forecast includes the most recent actuarial forecasts of costs for our pension and retiree healthcare plans.  Fortunately the updated forecasts are lower than the costs we projected a year ago – but it’s still a very big number.  The second year of the forecast shows a shortfall due in great measure to rising costs of retirement. Retirement costs will continue to be a growing portion of our budget and payroll costs, and this will affect our ability to provide services to the people of our community and to provide employee raises in the future.

    Given the modest improvement in the City’s financial picture, we don’t anticipate major service impacts and layoffs as we develop the budget for the next fiscal year, which is definitely better news for us.  As part of our ongoing commitment to financial reform, we still must continue to look at opportunities to provide services more efficiently and cost-effectively.  In some cases this could lead to reorganization of positions and resources potentially affecting staff on a case by case basis.

    This annual financial forecast has become an essential tool to help us get to our destination: stable finances, secure community services, and a desirable workplace. Developing the forecast is an immensely complex challenge each year, and again I extend my deep gratitude to Jennifer Maguire and her staff in the Budget Office.  They have worked long hours to give us the best possible instrument they can for us to use in these uncertain times, and, as always, we will update forecast as conditions change.

    Sincerely,

    Debra Figone

    City Manager

    • “Without those reductions, our forecast would continue to show serious shortfalls, and we would again be faced with the need to make further reductions.”

      In other words, Ms. Figone’s declaration of a surplus was a political decision.  Why now?  Is she trying to hold on to her job by giving the council a slush fund to hand out in an election year? 

      Until our road are repaired, the south substation opened, our police and fire departments fully staffed, etc… Ms. Figone should not be misleading San Jose residents with talk of a surplus.

  4. This evening, the POA and Fire Local 230 submitted a proposal to the City. It is an extension of an earlier proposal that included an opt-in into the CalPERS 3 @ 55 model.

    We have attached the proposal here.

    The major change in this proposal from the last is that it provides guaranteed savings. For several months we have told the City the many of our members wanted the opportunity to transition to the CalPERS pension plan. There would be savings from the members going to the 3 @ 55 model. The City has always said that they feared that not enough members would opt into the plan to provide significant savings.

    This proposal states that if we do not get 60% of the combined membership of the POA and Fire Local 230 to go to the CalPERS 3 @ 55 model, then we would face salary reductions. The amount of the salary reduction would be based on how far below the (combined membership) 60% figure we are. The pay reduction would be incremental and would never exceed 4% per year.

    The participation percentage would be recalculated every year. In doing so, it will begin to place new-hires into the equation. As the senior officers retire and are replaced by new-hires, the participation percentage will increase.

    Based on Fire’s and our members’ input, we believe that we will be above the 60% participation level if this is adopted. This would mean that there would be no pay decrease. However, if we found ourselves below that rate, as it increased we would eventually negate the salary reduction penalty. That is to say, the penalty for not reaching 60% will not go on forever.

    I smeel another reject from Chuck, I no longer want to hear they didn’t try!

  5. Seems you had to go to page 6 of the local section to even read about the new propasal and according to Chuck

    The latest union offers got a chilly reception from Mayor Chuck Reed and other top city officials. Reed and four other council members Friday issued a memorandum urging the City Council to proceed with his proposal for a pension reform measure on the June ballot, arguing only voters can adopt many of the needed changes.

    Are you kidding me!  Only voters and adapt the need changes.  Hell no, the city council could make these changes NOW and avoid the how ballot measure and pending law suit.

  6. Yesterday 5 City Unions proposed to the city that they will GUARANTEE the savings they have offered the city.  The offer states that if targets are not met on the number of employees that would agree to a reduced pension on a prospective basis that automatic pay cuts would ensure that savings targets would be met (police and fire).  To see the Police and Fire proposal, go here:
    http://www.protectsanjose.com/content/breaking-san-jose-police-and-fire-offer-pension-reform-guarantees-savings

    To see the offer from IFPTE Local 21 (AEA, CAMP, AMSP) go here:
    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/employeeRelations/RetirementReform.asp

    The city now has a budget deficit, a few short months ago they wanted to declare a fiscal emergency.  The city claimed that pension costs would explode to $650 million in fiscal year 2015-16 and now the real number is $320.2 ($308 with pre-pay).

    Does the city need batteries for its calculator or an ethics trainer to instill some integrity into its leadership, I say they need both!

  7. I am a Fire Captain who has voted for pay cuts (remember the fire and police unions voted for the 10% of total comp. pay cuts!) and we will vote for REAL, SUSTAINABLE PENSION REFORM. Here is the TRUTH….Our Fire Union leaders (past & present) have NEVER stated that pension reform is not needed. Firefighters and Police Officers accept that pension reform is needed. Please stop believing everything you read in this newspaper. It is so unbelievably biased and leaves out so many facts. Everyone has forgot about our real offer of pension reform several months ago, which the Mayor rejected, saying it was not enough and he needed 650million. Our offer would have saved the city nearly $500 million (numbers were verified by an independent actuary). Our offer got rid of the sick leave payout!

    Well now we all know the truth, that the number is around 300million. The Mayor just 2 days ago on the radio stated the $650million is still a real number. He is still telling lies!!! If the Mayor would have accepted our offer the city would have received $200+ million more than they needed!!!

    Even though we have caught the Mayor in a big lie and he continues to publicly bad mouth us, just yesterday the Fire & Police Unions offered the city an even sweeter deal!!! Our offer is REAL, SUSTAINABLE and LEGAL. Of course the Mayor in his typical fashion is playing politics and already turning a cold shoulder to our offer, before he knows all the facts of our offer. The Mayor wants his ballot measure, which is honestly a financial slaughter to city employees and illegal, to be passed. While the mayor tells the public that the city is trying to negotiate with the unions, he is telling lies, because there has been NO negotiating from the city. It is his way only. The Mayor continues to demonize city employees and blame us for the financial hardships the city has faced. He has absolutely no respect for Firefighters and Police Officers, who we are, and what we do. We still go to work and care very much for the citizens we took an oath to protect. I still go to work and subject myself to injury, disease and yes, even death. We still go inside burning buildings, even when we know that there is no one inside, just to protect as much of your property as we can. We are not the greedy people the Mayor and several people on the city council have made us out to be.

    The Mayor’s ballot proposal states that the employee will have a choice to remain in the Fire & Police retirement system or “volunteer” to go into a less cost to employee “401-K type plan” and social security. Well, the “volunteer” part is a bunch of BS! Because if I stay in the Fire & Police retirement plan, I am going to have to pay so much out of pocket towards retirement that I could not afford to keep my house and pay the bills, so I would be FORCED into the “401-K type plan”. For example, if a a top step firefighter who currently makes $75-80K/year base pay was to remain in the Fire & Police retirement plan, they would be required to pay so much into their retirement that their base pay would be cut to $30-35K/year!!! This is not a lie! Who could live on that, let alone support their family???

    The City Manager recently stated in an email to city employees that they dont even know what the “401-K type plan” is going to be and that there are many unknown IRS issues that have to be figured out. I have been a firefighter with the city for 17years and the city cant even tell me what is going to happen to all the money I have put into my retirement!!! So can you see why we are fighting the Mayor’s ballot measure??? He cant even tell us what the retirement plan is going to be!!!  No employee, government or private sector, in their right mind would want this plan!!! There is so much more to the mayor’s ballot measure that is illegal and destroys any sense of financial security I have.

    Firefighters and Police Officers do not get Social Security when we retire. So we have not been paying into social security. I currently pay over 15% of my own money into retirement. I don’t believe there is any other Fire Dept. out there that pays more than we do into retirement. The City does not even know if we can be placed into the Social Security System!!!

    If the Mayor rejects our offer and his ballot proposal makes it to the ballot we all know the voters are going to pass it, because who doesn’t want retirement reform, right??? Unfortunately when it does pass it is going to end up in court for several years and cost the city, taxpayers and city employees millions. The Mayors proposal is a financial disaster for everyone and WILL NOT result in REAL pension reform. Honestly, the Firefighters and Police Officers have and want to continue to do our part to get the city through this mess. All we are asking for is fair, responsible and real solutions.

  8. WHAT AN *&%^%$^&^%& LIAR! ON 3/1/12 THE MAYOR WENT ON 910 KKSF

    WHERE HE STATED “EMPLOYEES GET A 90% PENSION AND FULL MEDICAL/DENTAL @ 15 YRS OF SERVICE”. THAT IS A BLATANT LIE! EMPLOYEES MUST WORK @ LEAST 30 TO GET THE 90%

    THE MAYOR IS STICKING TO USING 650 MILLION AS HIS PENSION QUOTE. THAT IS A LIE ! ITS 320 MILLION AND IF PAID EARLY(USUALLY IS) ITS 308 MILLION

    THE MAYOR STATES THTAT “THE UNIONS DONT WONT TO NEGOTIATE” THAT IS A LIE ! THEY OFFERED THE CITY A PACKAGE THAT WOULD HAVE SAVED THE CITY 500 MILLION DOLLARS IN 5 YEARS.

    THE MAYOR CLAIMS “HE IS THE VICTOM , BECAUSE HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH” . THAT IS A LIE . HIS LIES ARE COMING OUT MORE AND MORE EVERYDAY! IF HE’S NOT LYING THEN WHY NOT RELEASE INFORMATION REQUESTED BY 5 COUNCIL MEMBERS???

    THE MAYOR STATED “EMPLOYEES NEED TO START CONTRIBUTING” EMPLOYEES ALREADY CONTRIBUTE BETWEEN 16- 25 %  TO THEIR OWN RETIREMENT

    FUNNY HOW HE NEVER MENTIONS “THE GREAT REAL ESTATE GIVE AWAY” OR “THE BASEBALL STADIUM” OR MONIES AND FAVORS TO AND FOR DEVELOPER BUDDIES. OR THE FACT THAT HE VOTED FOR EVERY BENEFIT / PAY INCREASE IN THE LAST 12 YEARS . I GUESS OPEN GOVERNMENT MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE

  9. It seems weird to have a narrative kind of description on the ballot about what kinds of changes they want to make to the charter rather than just putting the actual amended language for the charter on the ballot. 

    Seems strange.  But this is California with its 300 page constitution and new amendments added by factions and special interests every election, so I’m not surprised.  The more verbose, the less clear, which is, I think, how they want it.

    • Blair,

      Grow up the city is putting out so many lies I cannot list all of them.  Do some serious research.  This council sould mane the changes without a bllot measure.  But you will be the loser if they go forward.

  10. Pretty much sums it up how much they hate public safety.  Again they let some clown publish lies that we get free medical among other misleading facts.

    See you in court because nothing will change on Tuesday!

  11. The latest reform proposal by Police and Fire is projected to save just under $500 million over the next five years (according to an independent actuary.)  Since the current forecast is a shortfall of about $300 million, this goes almost $200 million beyond solving the problem. 

    Other cities and counties in the state have solved their pension funding problems by:
    •  Increasing employee contributions from 0% to 9 or 10%
    •  Increasing the retirement age from 50 to 55
    •  Reducing the annual accrual rate from 3% to 2.5%
    •  Freezing salary increases

    Before any reform, San Jose Police employees:
    •  Contribute 17% of their income to the retirement plan. That is slated to increase to more than 20% in July of this year, and it’s been as high as 23% in recent years
    •  Must have 25 years’ service and be 50 years old, or 20 years’ service and be 55 years old in order to retire
    •  Have an annual accrual rate of 2.5%
    •  Have taken a 15% compensation reduction over the last two contracts

    Additionally, San Jose’s unfunded liability is figured on a five-year amortization.  I don’t know of another municipality that uses such a short period of time.  If I were to amortized the unfunded liability of my mortgage over five years, instead of thirty, I could not afford to stay in my house.

    SJPD already has a retirement plan that is more costly to the employees, with a lower benefit, than virtually every other agency in the state.  And now we’re offering even more concessions.  Yet, Mayor Reed and the five followers would prefer to put their draconian proposal on the ballot.  Please read the proposal.  Do the math.  Ask yourself how you might survive on less than half your gross salary. 

    If I were to go to just about any Bay Area police department and work as a patrol officer, I would make more money, and have a better retirement package than I do at SJPD as a supervisor.  We are the lowest in overall compensation in the Bay Area, and far below average among Santa Clara County agencies.  Yet the hiring standards at SJPD are higher than many other agencies in terms of education, background, etc.  There is no way we can continue to attract high-quality candidates with our current compensation package, much less a worse one.

    San Jose spends approximately 50% of its general fund on Public Safety.  This is the lowest number in the country for cities with a population of 500 thousand or greater.  It’s much more common to see that number in the 65 to 75% range.  SJPD has the lowest number of officers per capita of any city in the country with a population of 500 thousand or greater.  If we had twice the number of officers we would still be the lowest.

    How sad it is to see City leadership (to use the term loosely) destroy morale, devalue their employees, and decimate a once strong, highly professional work force.  This has, and will continue to trickle down to a much lower quality of life for the residents of San Jose.

    • Sergeant X

      That was probably one of the best written and most truthful posts I have read in a long time.  I don’t even work for the City and I have chosen to pick up the drum and beat it because I see the injustice of what is taking place. 

      SJPD was the model that many police departments followed.  It was highly efficient at solving crime and policing a city with a very small staff for its population.  This was accomplished by extremely stringent hiring standards and an atmosphere of pro-ativity (stopping criminals before they commit more serious crimes).  Now its a heap of ashes and on the brink of a total morale collapse.  Currently SJPD cops bring home pay is about $2000 dollars per month less than almost any agency in Santa Clara County.  If the Mayor’s ballot measure passes it will be somewhere between $3000-$4000 thousand less per month……THATS BRING HOME DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!

      To add the icing on the cake they will have one of the worst pension systems in all of California along with their poor pay.  With poor pay and an overworked police force you will see officers continue to leave.  New hires will stay for about 2 years and then leave when opportunities arise.  I have studies police departments and finance for many years.  I will tell you this:  If the ballot measure passes and is deemed legal in court, the citizens of San Jose better hope every city in the area follows suit immediately leaving these cops no where better to jump to because this ship (city) is sinking fast.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch, I’ll bet my retirement on it!!!!!!!!!!

      • econ Professor,

        Thanks for the kind words, and support.  And the ship-jumping is already well underway.  We have lost dozens of very talented and experienced folks to other agencies in the last several months.  They are happy to be working for communities that appreciate them, and compensate them fairly.

    • I agree with everything you say except your last paragraph.  We as an association looked like keystone Union Thugs. Last week all we heard’‘’‘’’ We got Reed Lying!  look we got him lying.  Well we just got our A^^ess handed to us.  8-3.
          Then adding insult to being on our knees. We had to listen to “I had a prepared speech but I have to speak from my heart sob sob.
          Last night we had to have a vote to show we are serious. Today we took a wood shed beating.  O yea have faith were going to take em to court.  Yea right with what?  “Trust me we have a plan” gets me 39,000 dollars a year.  RIGHT!

  12. Soon to be judgement day for the dishonest mayor, city manager and the rest of their council cronies… An audit if the book is being request by several State Representatives…. We will see what happens when their cooking the books and lies are truly exposed!!!  Cant wait to see Chucks and Debs face!!!!  Oh you too Peter Griffin, I mean Constant….

  13. THIS IS GAME IN LIFE
    THAT UNCLE CHUCK IS PLAYING ON US IN SAN JOSE
    DO YOU THINK HE WILL WIN THIS GAME?
    MAKING OTHER PEPOLE RICH OR WILL SAVE THE CITY?

  14. RUNNING SCARED BECAUSE IT’S ALL BASED ON LIES

    Excuse me! Mayor Reed…haven’t you run for all your elections as a Democrat? Wasn’t your last campaign run on ethics and transparency?

    Why yes! I proudly proclaim my allegiance to the Democratic party and it’s position as the vanguard of the rights and protector of the working class.

    Really? Then why is the State of California Senate Majority leader , a member of the Democratic Party calling for an independent audit of your pension reform numbers? Could it be that your actually a Republican in Democrats clothing? Could it be that you really don’t care about the worker bee’s? The workers of the City! The Police and Fire, the staff of the Parks, Librarys, Community Center, and all of the Engineers and Architects, Inspectors, Technicians and Maintenance workers that that make it possible for all you Politicians to take credit for a job well done. OR…

    Could it be because your gang of 5 (Partners in Crime) lead by Pete Constant aren’t forthcoming with information on your MATH?

    Could it be because your City Manager (I use the term Loosely) said that it will take her more than a month after the vote by City Council on the ballot measure to provide information on the source of the MATH used by the council to vote at tomorrows Council meeting?

    Could it be because of the fraud that may have been committed with regards to the S.E.C. for yet another bond issue (credit card purchase)? During your self declared State of Fiscal Emergency?

    Could it be because of the lawsuit filed against the retirement board (that you politiced two years ago to be stacked in your favor) in regards directing independent actuaries to use fraudulent MATH?

    Could it be because the Director of the retirement boards, who’s Boss is the City Manager, directed him to have the Actuaries use fraudulent MATH to fit your agenda, or are we to believe that he acted independently, and your too busy spinning lies, that you haven’t got around to having him fired or promoted yet? As is usually the case at SJ City Hall when they think that the true will come out!

    Could it be because the Director of the Retirement boards is too pregnant with information to be scapegoated just yet?

    Could it be because you never tell the public what the ANNUAL PAYMENT is out of the GENERAL FUND to pay for all of the BONDS issued, that you voted for over the passed 10 years, including…The new City Hall, Airport Expansion, Fire Stations, Community Centers, Library’s, and Parks. And all of the other monies that are spent on items that are not in the City Charter. All during 10 straight years of so called budget deficits?

    Hang on!…. While you think about all that for a bit… I’ll go see if the Chamber of Commerce can take up a collection to rent a half dozen “Lie Detectors” for you and all your political cronies at tomorrows Council meeting.

    • Could you actually state some reality. Not just speculation. If a state audit is conducted it will validate the city numbers. The sec complaint is bogus and the other union scary lies will all be shown to be untrue. The unions have drug their feet once again and the workers (union members) should lookin for new leadership.

  15. Bet the Major will rush to get his ballot measure before the state finally starts looking into you bogas math and lies.  Guess that gives Deb til the end of the month to cook the books.  Funny how this can not come out before the ballot measure.

    Stepping into the conflict over the scope of San Jose’s public employee pension problems, a group of state lawmakers on Monday plan to reveal a campaign for a state legislative audit of the city’s finances and pension debts.

    Led by Assemblyman Jim Beall, a group of seven South Bay legislators will ask the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to conduct the audit, saying it is needed to resolve a heated debate over Mayor Chuck Reed’s projections of the city’s pension woes.

    The audit request comes on the eve of a City Council meeting Tuesday to consider whether to modify a June pension reform ballot measure that Reed is pushing to ease the growing costs of employee retirement.

    Sorry Jim Beall but we all knwn Chuck will never come the the table just like he will reject the lastest police and fire propasal even knowing it will save the city millions.  He will just say it is not evough so let the citizens decide.  Easier to make posioned kool-aid than tell the truth.

  16. Why don’t any of the characters who post on SJI, angrily expressing concern about preserving employee pay and benefits, ever comment on any other city related issues? It’s almost as if they care nothing about this community other than how much money they can squeeze out of it.
    For instance, Pierluigi is looking for feedback about the potential City sponsorship of something called the “Thousand Hearts for A Thousand Minds” program. Personally, I don’t think our City has any business spending $1 Million on this social program while it is in the middle of what it claims is such a desperate financial pickle. The cumulative effect of this sort of discretionary spending has a direct impact on the amount of money that’s left over to fund chartered services and employee pay and benefits.
    So why is it up to me of all people, John Galt, to be standing up for the interests of public employees? Why aren’t THEY expressing THEIR outrage that the City would even be considering spending money on optional, touchy feely crap like this while claiming that pension costs will break the bank?

    If unionized, mollycoddled City “workers” want to be taken seriously then they at least need to pretend that they’re interested in the overall welfare of “their” community and take a stand against wasteful spending BEFORE it happens. Otherwise, they just wind up looking like selfish, moneygrubbing mercenaries.

    • John

      you did not start at 12.98 an hour to be a police officer, work weekends, holidays, dedicate your life for 29 years. Get shot at, see numerous dead officers, children abused, accident victims (dead), called back for eathquakes, special events.  I could go on, we gave up pay raises for these benefits. No to the told we no longer deserve them.  Ask Chuck, he voted YES for all of them.

      Sory this is wrong!

    • Mr. Galt

      I am concerned about other issues in the city.  City officials have also not been focusing on other city issues in any depth.  I have a few examples, why would you build a soccer stadium away from downtown.  With the arena you could walk from downtown restaurants to enjoy an event.  There is almost nothing near the proposed soccer stadium on Coleman.  A combined downtown stadium could serve various events which could bring much needed and long over due revenue to the business people that have paid the price way to long.  The old FMC property could have been better used to expand the airports air cargo capabilities.  You probably already know this but the airports that have an enhanced air cargo service due very well because that is the money maker for them.  After all that FMC property was purchased with federal funds and not city funds.

      This is just one example, but the sole focus on employees breaking the cities back is the only issue the current mayor, manager, and council can seem to handle at one time.  I have read a few of your post over the past year, it seems that you are very supportive even defending councilman of dist.6. 

      I’ve seen very little support for city employees from you.  I would like to ask you this, in the case of a police officer or firefighter do you believe that for the potential risk they may take on a daily basis that they should be compensated less or more for that risk.  Many of my former co-workers and friends have already passed way before their time.  Yes life expectancy has increased over the years but tell that to a surviving spouse whose loved one dies a year after they retire due to illness that more than likely was due to their exposure during their career. 

      I had the unfortunate experience of responding to three police officers being shot and killed in the line of duty on two different occasions.  As tragic and difficult as it was for me to experience I can’t even imagine what grief went through the police force on those days and for the families left behind.  Yet it seems that that never comes up, after all the Mayor stated that police officers were on the gravy train.

      So maybe that is why you don’t see discussions on other city issues because in the grand scheme of things they seem trivial at the time.

      One last comment to you, I’m not sure what your profession is but most professions whether organized or not have benefited from organized labors battles and in this case the fight.  For you to use mean spirited name calling I think is uncalled for.  I’ve been told that of the entire workforce in the U.S. That only 12 to 15% are organized labor.  Of that only about 7% are public safety.  Not sure if those numbers are still correct today, but I find it hard to believe that such a small percentage and cripple local and national economies.  I respond to you comments respectfully as I can so I hope you take no offense.

    • OK, I have been following these comments for a long time regarding pension reform, the mayor, etc… So many people are are just pissed and want only to spout of their idealism and not hear or partake in an honest discussion of what is going on. Mr John Galt, I was going to sit and just blast you on Ayn Rand’s philosophy, objectivism, how Ayn Rand is actually pro-labor, she was against collectivism not unions (geez, even John Galt organized the “best and brightest” into essentially a union utopia that they VOLUNTARILY joined) and strongly knew her philosophy and theory would only work in society if man is honest, truthful, and honors his word and contracts. (Before a debate starts about Rand’s theory of objectivism, which I won’t be a part of, please know I studied at the Ayn Rand Institute and she is widely misunderstood by conservatives).  You obviously care about the state of the city. Good! I am glad. I too care about the city. Know what? I choose to be a firefighter for it and I voluntarily joined the union. It was never forced on me or any other member of this department. Know what, there was many guys who choose not to join. I can leave the union if I so choose to. Do I think pension reform is needed? Hell Yes! and I haven’t found one of my fellow firefighters who think differently. What I find so scary, is the major newspaper of the City is not printing all the facts, has family ties with the mayor and isn’t backing up anything it says with facts. The Mayor who presents himself and ran on a “sunshine” agenda now and his staff says it will take 29 days to write a memo regarding the 650 million number? Why 29 days? They say they always had the information and were being truthful. Mayor says that it is just “politics” that now the state legislators wants to look into where the $650 number came from. What? If he is honest, then he should welcome this! Democracy (and Rand’s Objectivism) will only work if man is honest. You obviously care about the state of this city. So try to start listening to all sides objectively, find the facts, then make a decision. By the way, I am far from being mollycoddled. I am currently working on average 68 hours a week for the department and I am only being paid for 50 of them. I am not the only one by any means.

    • It is outrageous that the City on the one hand is saying we are in dire straits and on the other proposing spending millions on unnecessary city services. 

      I also find it incredible that none of the “news” has reported that in the most recent Stanford survey (out of which they only report the bad news) shows that based on all current standards of determining funding ratios of pendions the SJ Fire and Police retirement fund is 80% funded—which is considered fiscally sound under the current measures. 

      Is there really a problem?

    • Most of us “mollycoddled” City employees contribute 40+ hours every week taking care of the overall welfare of this community. It’s called work, simpleton. Unlike certain unnamed parties on SJInside, we don’t love to read our own pontifications on every issue broached here. But when our idiot leaders and their simple-minded followers denigrate our work and scapegoat us, we tend to respond to posts and comments on those topics. It’s really not that hard to understand, is it?

  17. Over all, we have received positive feedback from the membership regarding the proposal. A few of you have brought up questions/concerns, so we thought we would address those in email format so that everyone could get the answers.

    Feeling rushed??

    We know. Sorry about that, but this proposal came together late Friday night. We are up against a very real deadline. The Mayor’s plan has already been voted on and approved to go before the voters in June. The Council has indicated that tomorrow, Tuesday, is the last day they will consider alternative language to the Mayor’s ballot. We have found a way to extend that deadline maybe another week, but we can only do that if we have a viable alternative. Our proposal is that alternative but the Council is skeptical that our members would ratify it if we could get it on the ballot.

    That is the reason we sent a letter to the City stating that our Board of Directors has unanimously endorsed our proposal and is recommending the membership support it as well. If we are able to get the City to prolong this process a little longer we want the chance to be able to demonstrate to them the POA membership’s support of this proposal. That is the reason for the one-day vote. 99% of Fire’s members support the proposal.

    $39,000 take home salary??? You’re sounding like the Mayor and his $650 million. What’s with all the doom and gloom. Are you trying to scare us into supporting this?

    If the Mayor’s plan goes into affect and we lose the injunction battle we will all remain in the plan we are in now except it will cost substantially more. All indications are that there will not be an IRS approval of the Mayor’s opt-in. His ballot is very clear. If there is no IRS approval, then all of us will stay in the plan we are in. Looking at the example below, one might argue that the 30% for taxes, etc. is on the high end but every member has different deductions. Our unfunded liability is currently 13% but we see this going up as well and that is why it is set at 16%. So in fiscal 2016/2017 here is where a top step officer would be:

    Post Ballot Top Step Officer at End of Implementation

    Gross salary                                                   $100,000

    Normal retirement costs                       12%            -$12,000

    Retiree medical costs                         16%            -$16,000

    Unfunded Liability                             16%            -$16,000

    Taxes/Medicare/Medical/Other                 30%            -$16,800

    Net salary                                                       $39,200

    If a judge allows the Mayor’s plan to be implemented, you will not be able to afford to work here. It’s not meant to be doom and gloom. This is what his document does.

    Disability Retirement

    The Mayor’s plan will severely limit your ability to be retired out on a disability retirement if you are seriously injured on the job. How severely? We asked if an officer were to be shot and paralyzed below the waist would that officer be entitled to a disability retirement under the Mayor’s proposed ballot? The answer was no. In fact, there isn’t any language that would guaranteed that officer continued employment.

    Our Long Beach model calls for expedited care for those injured by doctors agreed upon by the City and the POA and Fire. A panel of experts, again, agreed upon by the City and the POA and Fire would determine disability retirements.

    What Happens to the Fund?

    If we were to adopt a system where active members and new-hires went to CalPERS, those who stayed in Tier 1 (our current plan) and current retirees would stay under the existing structure. The assets would have to be divided and our current plan would turn into a “closed plan.” This is not something that would happen overnight. It would take about a year to figure out what assets stayed and what ones went to CalPERS. Closing out a plan is not a new idea. It has been done in the past and CalPERS, the City and the POA would work through the process.

  18. “If unionized, mollycoddled City “workers” want to be taken seriously then they at least need to pretend that they’re interested in the overall welfare of “their” community and take a stand against wasteful spending BEFORE it happens”. – John Galt

      As usual, you make a feeble attempt to deflect the issue.  We take lying by City Officials to be a serious affront to the “workers” you so disdainfully describe.  It is OUR futures, the futures of OUR families and OUR children at stake.  OUR retirement, OUR wages and benefits, OUR ability to afford living in the City we serve.  It is the support of OUR communities, YOUR safety, YOUR protection and YOUR future from disastrous reductions in force of Public Safety.  Spell it out plain enough for you?

  19. John , what planet are you on? have you not been listening to all the chatter around you. City Employees are so tired of bringing up these topics as they relate to WASTED tax dollars. The residents of San Jose dont listen to City workers, they dont want to hear the truth. They instead choose to blindly follow the Dishonorable , lying , cheating Mayor Reed. He lied to them about measure V&W , stating if passed it would allow him to hire even more public Safety , and then both F.D. & P.D. had lay-offs that returned staffing levels to the 1970’s. The Mayor then did away with binding arbitration which he claimed was strangeling the city , But he failed to explain to residents that both P.D. & F.D. always won in arbitration because they alwaysasked for benes that were comparable to other citys , while the city would ask for your first born. Arbitors had no choice but to choose one or the other(in arbitration it is all or none , 1side or the other)The Mayor screams fiscal emergency while hiding millions in the hope of bringing the A’s here. he brags of open Gov. but never informs the public that the same peoplethat sit on city council are also ( the now defunct RDA board) , and the new Diridon Developement Agency, And the Financing authority headed by Doug Figone himself. He lies about pension cost even thou statewide pensions account for 3% or less of total budgets. he uses $650million dollars as his “scare tactic’ when in reality it is less than 1/2 that amount. he goes on 910KKSF on 1/1/2012 and on radio states city employees enjoy 90% retirement and full medical/dental for life for free. none of this is even close to being true , so either the Mayor has Alzeimers, doesnt know his own city , or is just flatout lying, you decide . it is not up to employees to educate people who dont want to hear the truth. it is up to individuals to care enough about their communities , that they educate themselves. dont believe the unions , dont believe the Mayor , and DEFINETLY dont believe “The Merc”

  20. Public employee unions and their owned democrat political whores are sucking the life out of this country at every level.  Local, state, and federal.

    Either break the public employee unions now or end up like Greece tomorrow.

    Starve the beast.

  21. 1) John you don’t stand for City Employees.

    2) City employees who you routinely demean frequently post here protesting foolish expenditures of taxpayer dollars. they do it to point out the hypocrisy that is rampant in CSJ Government – and example: Mayor Reed and Council and City Manager say “we are going broke, he have no money, we have cut services we have laid off ….”  then they vote to add low income housing and annex unincorporated parts of town to further burden city services and infrastructure.

    The fact that nobody commented on a proposed $1million expenditure doesn’t mean anything compared to the comments critical of the hundreds of millions spent on land for the stadium… the hundreds of millions spent on airport expansion…  the vacant police substation…. Mayor Reeds “give-away” to the county of the old city hall along with the 10’s millions still owed because he decided not to turn over taxes collected by the RDA and due the county… the $x’s spent on “ART” mandated to collects dust in non-public parts of city buildings ….  where is the $19mil the city did not pay during the “pension holiday” that resulted from investment gains made by the retirement plan in the 90’s?

    THANKS for speaking up about the $1million waste but compared to what has been discussed ad nauseum here by City Employees – the $1mill you speak of doesn’t amount to a piss in the ocean.

    3) Are you interested in saving the City a firm $20mil minimum/year? If you are then you should show your support for City Employees who are willing to enable real pension reform amounting to real savings for the City and the taxpayers by switching from the City Retirement System that Reed still says will cost $650mil by 2014 to the CalPERS 2.5%@55 plan.

    Has the mayor or anyone in the City told you how much Reed’s proposed pension reform ballot measure will save the City?  (the answer is NO – because they don’t know how much if any savings the measure will provide)

    The mayor has set aside upwards of $4mil to fund the legal challenges to the ballot measure that will result when it passes. What is he worried about? That the ballot measure if passed will be ruled unconstitutional as many legal experts have opined? How much back pay will the City owe the plan if the ballot measure is ruled unconstitutional/illegal?

  22. Is this council really ready to reduce (with current ballot measure) to take police pay per year for a senior officer down to 39K per year!

    Wow, they will be jumbing of the sinking ship faster than you can count!

    Then bump medical up 25%, remember this is the same talking head that lies they get free medical for life!

    May God help you when you call for help, better start contracting with outside agencies for very poor police and fire service.

    Chuck will be long gone and could care less.  And the other 5, be voted out of office.

    remeber Chuck was on all these councils that approved these benifits instead of pay raises.