Council Votes in Favor of Ballot Measure

Let the real battle begin. On Tuesday, the City Council voted 6-5 to place a retirement reform ballot measure before voters in June 2012, which will also be the same time California voters take part in the presidential primary election. Supporting the ballot measure were Mayor Chuck Reed and councilmembers Madison Nguyen, Pete Constant, Rose Herrera, Sam Liccardo and Pierluigi Oliverio. Voting against the measure were councilmembers Xavier Campos, Kansen Chu, Ash Kalra, Nancy Pyle and Don Rocha.

While the vote could set off an intense legal fight between unions and the city, the council directed staff to “invite all employee unions to continue engaging in mediated negotiations,” according to a press release sent out by Mayor Reed’s office.  The theory behind this is that the city “would leave open the possibility of changing in the ballot language measure should an agreement be reached between now and March.”

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

65 Comments

  1. Councilman Pete Constant AKA: hypocrite   You retire on a questionable job related injury from the police department.  You receive a service connected disability retirement pension.  And yes, because it was a disability retirement you receive half of your pension “TAX FREE”.  And now you vote to approve a ballot measure that would take away money from thousands of honest, hard working city employees who retired and expected to get paid as promised by YOUR city council.

    Boy does this smell like a rat.  Wish you would be next to take questions from SJI.  Love to hear your version of your back injury.  I guess you healed well in retirement.

  2. The vote was already fixed… you have those that can be an individual and make a decision on thier own,,, then you have the 5 followers of chuck reed. illegal is still illegal, which will come out later on….reed cried wolf about a fiscal emergency and now look he has egg al over his face….

    • Aren’t you guys failing to remember who got us in this pension mess? Ron Gonzales and Cindy Chavez among others. Chuck Reed just was lucky enough to inherit this problem and has to try and clean up the mess.

      • Aren’t you forgetting that Chuck Reed was on the same city council. He voted yes for everything.  Think his quote was,” I voted yes for everything, but that doesn’t make it right.” That’s a Stanford graduate talking.

      • Just like John Kerry was “actually for the war in Iraq before he was against it,” ……….

        Councilman Reed was “actually for the pensions” before Mayor Reed, “was against the pensions.”

        What is most insightful about Reed’s support is that he now says he KNEW he was making a mistake when he was supporting the pensions he supposedly “knew” were bad for the City. This admission should have been a warning to us all. 

        Mayor Reed has made a habit of doing things that he knew were wrong at the time. He directed the RDA to withhold taxes collected that were due to the County resulting in a huge judgment against the City/RDA ($68million comes to mind). Part of that judgment was satisfied by the City (Reed) giving the old City Hall to the County which only erased $10mil from that debt.

        Now he puts forward a ballot measure that he has been advised will be ultimately struck down after a lengthy and COSTLY legal battle. Reed has already set aside between $4 and $7million dollars to defend at a time when he says the City cannot afford to waste any money?

        • If Reed is truly setting aside money to defend the inevitable lawsuit, that can only mean that he is hiring outside counsel, which seems to indicate that he doesn’t believe anyone in the city attorney’s office is up to the task.

        • JMO, remember that because the Association of Legal Professionals (ALP, the City Attorneys’ Union) will have a direct conflict of interest in what appears to be certain litigation, the City will have to conflict out the legal services to a private firm (it’s safe to assume Holzman’s firm, even though he has lost every attempt he made on behalf of Orange County). We can only start to imagine what the price tag will be, just as we can only start to imagine how many law suits will be filed and the City’s hired guns will have to respond to every one of them. If you like getting paid handsomely and your pride doesn’t suffer from getting your hat handed to you, that firm won’t be a bad place to work.

          I’d sure like to PRA these legal bills on a monthly basis, if only to keep a running tally of funds that could have gone to something of benefit to the folks that live here.

        • Conflicting it out: thanks for reminding me that the city attorney’s office is unionized.

          The concedpt of professionals joining a union is so foreign to me that it completely slipped my mind.

  3. How does Pete Constant keep getting a free pass for being the world’s largest hypocrite for collecting a tax free pension for the rest of his life, yet going to the press and media bragging that he is Mr Pension Reform? Are people that blind to what he is?

  4. Less cops, closed parks, closed libraries, lower morale, fewer services and all courtesy of spending millions on a costly and time consuming legal battle that doesn’t have to be fought.  When will the citizens of San Jose learn that Chuck Reed is incompetent and short-sighted?  Now you will see the unions start reaching out to national organizations for assistance who have much deeper pockets.  Your tax dollars spiralling down the drain…

    • The Mercury “News” is in bed with the Chamber of Commerce and all other local media sources appear to no longer provide investigative reporting.

      I don’t see how the average citizen is suppose to learn the truth behind San Jose’s fiscal problems.  More sad days are ahead for us in Detroit West I’m afraid.

      • To get the word out to the citizens. Help them to understand better and let them know the truth about what the unions have already proposed, but the City turned down. Nobody is going to get anywhere, if the citizens have no knowledge of the truth. It is up to the employees to start the fight and to fight hard for what is true.

  5. I was in the council session for both the morning and afternoon.  It’s amazing to me that council members still see that the only problem to the citys on going fiscal deficit is the pension system.  No one is talking about increased revenue ideas for the city.  I’m not talking about increasing taxes and fees I’m talking about bringing big business to the city.  The lure is not there.  That’s why the airport is also failing, because no one has a reason (other than to visit family) to fly to San Jose.  Every labor rep. urged to continue negotiations and even the POA president stated that he believes that labor and the city are very close to reaching an agreement.  Why would you vote on the ballot measure now without having those results of the good faith bargining process that have been happening.  The Mayor and Councils actions yesterday make it pretty clear that the they are still in the attack mode on city workers.  As I said before why is it that other citys in the state of CA. have come up with negotiated reforms.  Why is it citys like South San Francisco are doing so well and the 10th largest city in the nation can’t seem to figure a way out of the fiscal defict for the last 10 years.  The sole focus of pension reform is not going to get the city of San Jose out of an on going deficit like the Mayor and Council believe.  Only innovative ideas on generating revenue along with other measures like pension reform etc. will work.  The Mayor and the Council missed an opportunity to build back trust with city workers by postponing the vote and give more time to negotiate.

  6. San Jose has higher retired or disabled police and firefighters than other cities.

    A recent City Auditor report found that 2/3 of San Jose fire fighters and 1/3 of San Jose police officers receive a disability retirement – rates that are considerably higher than in other jurisdictions.

    In some cases, employees were granted a disability retirement even though they were working full-time in their regular job up until the day they retired.

    DISABILITY RETIREMENT: A PROGRAM IN NEED OF
    REFORM

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/auditor/AuditReports/1102/1102.pdf
    A. Accept the City Auditor’s report on “Disability Retirement: A Program in Need of Reform”
    as amended in this memorandum.

    B. Direct the City Attorney to prepare ballot language for a ballot measure allowing the
    residents of San Jose to vote on changing the City Charter by amending Section 1504 and
    Section 1505 to clarifY the purpose of the disability retirement benefit as outlined in the
    City’S Auditor’s report.

    C. Direct the Administration to look into the feasibility of forming a disability retirement
    committee, independent of the Police and Fire and Federated City Employees’ Retirement
    Boards, to review and decide on disability retirement applications and allow the City Council
    to appoint a Hearing Officer to make decisions on appeals regarding disability retirement
    applications.

    proposed by Mayor Reed, Vice Mayor Nguyen and Councilmember Liccardo

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/mayor/news/memos/11April/DisabilityRetirement_04282011.pdf

    1) What are numbers of disability applications approved or disapproved ?

    2) Are Pension Boards biased towards granting disability retirements vs Independent review Board ? 

    3) If potentially biased has Boards granted disabilities to friends and those who are not qualified ?

    4) Does city ever go back and review the disability status of those granted disability at least once after a few years have passed or once granted it is for life ?

    Those with real disabilities deserve disability retirement have little to be concerned but others with questionable disabilities as some have said about Pete Constant should be concerned

    • You failed to mention one little paragraph that the Auditor buried in her report (page7):

      “As these figures show, disability retirement is a significant portion of total benefit
      payments – particularly for Police & Fire. However, it should be noted that
      disability retirements increase the retirement plans’ total benefit costs only to the
      extent that an employee “retires early”. If the employee is age and service
      eligible, the benefit cost to the plan is the same as if the employee had service retired.
      As is discussed later in this report, it appears that a large number of
      disability retirees are service and age eligible. In those instances, the additional
      “cost” of disability retirement is manifested through the loss of Federal and State
      income tax revenue.”

      In simple terms, the City is paying the vast majority of retirees the same amount, regardless of whether they are disabled or not, because they had earned their retirements. There is no added cost. The only difference is that diabled reitrees get a state and federal tax break. Chuck just wanted to jump on the bandwagon because it was another devisive issue to inflame the uninformed. His “reforms” mean that a cop who is shot and paralyzed in a bank robbery better get his wheelchair down to the city mailroom and start sorting. Constant is one of those who costs the City money because he retired early. Funny how the Auditor seems to be able to come up with whatever report that fit’s the Mayor’s fancy?

    • totally agree retirement board hands out disability retirement like candy then keep the facts under wraps.  I want to see an independent auditor to investigate these cases.  I can name a few who got disability retirements due to non work related injuries.

      And then their pension is 50% tax free.

      • If you are aware of work disability approvals for people with non work related injuries or anything else false or illegal, then start naming names and facts. The boards will have to review the cases. You can do this anonymously.

        As a citizen, you have a responsibility to fix the system.

        If you just want to make accusations without doing anything about it, then you are wasting all our time.

        • I tried, the board will give you NO information citing confidentiality .  Got stone walled.  I will not post names here but the board is well aware of the names I provided.  It is like the info went in one window and out the other.  I do not expect to hear a response.  I can live with my attempt.

      • disability retirement payments are also considered separate property, so if the retiree divorces the wife for a younger model, the ex gets none of his pension, no matter how long they were married.

  7. How is it even possible for Pete Constant to vote on anything impacting the Police/Fire pension fund? It is a clear conflict-of-interest. Obviously, if the measure is intended to “achieve reform” by requiring additional contributions from, or a reduction of payments to, active employees—which is exactly what it is, then Pete Constant, as a retired member of that fund, just voted (with his yes vote) to improve the fiscal health of the fund from which he draws a pension, at the expense of current and future city employees. His vote serves his self-interest: his ability to continue to receive benefits will, if we accept the measures intent as stated, improve via the proposed reform.

    This conflict exists regardless of whether or not some aspect of the “reform” affects the formula upon which his monthly pension is based. As a retiree, this measure does not put the value of his future labor at stake. An analogy would be if he were to vote on a pay cut for current city employees to fund improvements in a restaurant district in which he owned a cafe.

    No elected official should be voting on anything that improves his own financial condition, let alone an issue that threatens to substantially harm a specific class of workers.

    Take Constant’s vote off the board and I believe the issue would be deadlocked.

    • Pete Constant, with his 50% tax free disability retirement pension, voted yes meaning he agreed to move forward with this ballot measure to take away money from and the hard working current employees and those that have retired.

      But I do agree he should not have been allowed to vote on something that he is receiving money from.

      • Regardless of the vote, he helped craft the entire ballot measure. You can be darn sure he protected his pension interests in the process. Is there anything in this that will automatically affect his pension payments. Nope. Funny how that works.

    • BS Monitor,
      If Pete Constant and his 100,000 or so contituents should be denied a voice in this matter due to a ‘conflict of interests’ then so should any judge who might ultimately rule on the outcome of this ballot measure should it pass. Don’t County and State judges have a direct financial interest in preserving the status quo in the matter of guaranteed lifetime pensions for government employees? Mightn’t each and every one of them hesitate at issuing a ruling that sets a new precedent relieving taxpayers of the burden of perpetually supporting government workers from the instant they’re hired until the day they and their surviving ‘domestic partners’ die?
      Judges are Government employees and as such are beneficiaries of a system that is available to them and only them. It’s in their interest to see this system preserved. Seems to me the fix is in but the ref’s been bought by your side not ours.

  8. Yesterday’s vote was about the Mayor’s ego and saving face. Never mind that the POA and Local 230 had offered a roll-back to 1996 pension levels. The Administration never negotiated for a solution because they had marching orders from Reed to maneuver toward a ballot measure at all costs. As Councilman Rocha said, the issue was no longer about pension reform, but politics. The councilmembers who alligned with the mayor all spoke about “the spirit of recent offers and compromise” and how that should continue with the vote for the ballot measure. Unions and collective bargaining units don’t respond well to extortion. Where will all the big-business interests and Republicans be when the City is mired in expensive litigation and has to make big payouts to the plaintiffs? As Councilman Rocha asked the Chamber of Commerce, which blustered for the ballot measure, “are you going to pay the City’s legal bills?”

    • I would let this go to ballot and then fight it in the courts. I would NOT be giving up more and more and more. That’s what he wants you to do. Whose to say this just isn’t another one of his bluffs to try to get the unions to give more. You can kinda see that in the wording above, that “the city would leave open the possibility of changing in the ballot language measure should an agreement be reached between now and March.” They know this is illegal and they probably have no plans to put this on the ballot, but if they did…it would never get past the courts. They want to bluff the unions into giving in to what THEY want. I would call their bluff and let them go ahead and put it on the ballot and then fight it in court. You all know who will win. Take a stand and do it!!!!!

  9. How could this be?  We were told today that this was not going to happen.  Maybe they should fix the vote like they fix the vote.  This makes sense to the people who know.

  10. As the New York Times reported yesterday, draconian efforts, such as Reed’s, are causing talented government employees to leave employment earlier than they wanted too, creating a huge vacuum in institutional knowledge and a lack of “know how” in municipalities. You are already seeing evidence of this in the police department. The “permanent government” of any city is it’s long-time employees who work 30+ years as councils amd mayors come and go. As younger employees waste money and time “reinventing the wheel,” the City will have a hard time hiring quality staff now that they have poisoned the well and villified public service. When the economy picks up, good luck competing against the private sector and local cities which have treated their employees with respect during the recession. Nice legacy, Mr. Mayor, you’ll be right up there with Governor Walker.

    • Chuck and Sam, did they cover this in the Contract Law portion of law school?

      Art 1 Section 10 U.S. Contitution:

      “No State shall…PASS ANY…, LAW IMPARING THE OBLGATION OF CONTRACTS, or…”

      • > Art 1 Section 10 U.S. Contitution:

        “No State shall…PASS ANY…, LAW IMPARING THE OBLGATION OF CONTRACTS, or…”

        Oh.  So it’s in the U.S. Constitution.

        So what.  It’s a “living document”, don’t you know.

        That may have been what it meant once upon a time, but that was then, and this is now.

        Contracts?  BWAAAHAAAHAAA!!!!

        Ask the Chrysler bondholders what the government thinks of “contracts”.

        Property rights?  BWAAAHAAAHAAA!!!

        Ask David Souter why he thinks it’s OK for the government to take private property for the “public purpose” of raising tax revenues.

        So the unionists think their sacred collective bargaining rights and their sacred contract is going to save their obscene, corrupt retirements.

        I don’t see any reason why the liberals’ favorite government power, eminent domain, couldn’t be used to smash the unions’ anti-public-interest contracts, and use the pension money for PUBLIC PURPOSE instead of lining the pockets of greedy, insider-connected unionists.

  11. why should the unions negotiate now. without declaring a fiscal emergency, the ballot measure has no chance of passing. it had little hope with a fiscal emergency declaration but now has zero. the city has no intention—as it has not had all along—of negotiating in good faith. this vote proves that. also, why wasn’t figone fired for her wildly inaccurate numbers/projections.  if the citizens and the mayor want city hall to be run like a business then figone should be fired.  such incompetence in forecasting the deficit and savings from the layoffs and paycuts would not be tolerated in the private market—unless of course reed wanted the fake numbers to push his agenda forward.

    • “…the ballot measure has no chance of passing.”

      Actually, it will likely pass by a very wide margin. If you see today’s Field Poll on statewide pension reform, the reform side wins big.

      While the two measures are not identical, they are similar. Voter sentiment will probably be similar in San Jose.

      • is to starting educating the citizens so they know that what they will be voting on is illegal and will not be upheld in the courts, thus costing the taxpayers so much more money to only come full circle to where everything started. All those millions paid out and the City would be no further along.

      • oops—imprecise use of wording. meant no chance of succeeding—in the sense it will be overturned by a court if it passes by the voters.  I agree people believe in pension reform and I think the unions agree on reform but agree on negotiated and not draconian reform.  It is unfortunate though that the public will not be educated as to the true consequences to the employees of the ballot measure. It is actually quite different from the Governor’s in a number of respects and the sytems are quite different.  However given the rhetoric the public does not understand these significant differences and each system and each proposal with regard to each system must be analyzed separately. 

        Also worth noting—the public cannot understand the cost/benefits of the proposal and its components because the City cannot even answer address these issues.  I requested public records reflecting the cost savings to the City by the proposal to raise the retirement age. Since this has been proposed by Republicans to “fix” social security it seems it could work for the City as well. However, I was told the City does not have the breakdown of the cost savings of each component. The City has no idea what the costs are and what reforms are needed to meet those costs. Without that basic information, the City cannot possibly be negotiating in good faith. If the City is not informed how can they expect the citizens to make an informed decision.

        • we will address in court:

          “City does not have the breakdown of the cost savings of each component. The City has no idea what the costs are and what reforms are needed to meet those costs. Without that basic information, the City cannot possibly be negotiating in good faith”

          And, no, they are not negotiating…period. That’s okay, though. We are going to deal with this.

  12. Yesterdays Council Meeting was an absolute joke . it was not about “Fiscal Emergencies” or ” Pension Reform” . i t was about an absolutely Corrupt Mayor and City Council pushing their Agenda. It was about Union Busting . It was about selling the Public a bunch of Lies. Lets see if this changes anything with the “Reed Ballpark” ? Lets see if The dishonorable Greeds Ballot measure stands the test in Court? Doug Figone is worthless as A City Manager . Lets be honest Sam Liccardo is a Kiss—-! to the highest degree. Pete Constant ( Peter Griffin)  Is a walking contradiction , he walked away with a Service Disability and Now wants to deny real workers the right to a Disability! There are real Police Officers and Firefighters And other City workers that are more deserving than Peter Griffin to a service disability. this City is being driven down the Drain   by the city administration . I refuse to live in this heap of——City ! House is on the Market as we speak.I will not spend 1 dime in this pathetic excuse of a city.EVERYTHING I earn will be spent else where, property taxes else where.

  13. Why would the POA people approve of any Pay Cut? You know the city hates you guys, you know they want blood and will layoff as soon as they can. You know the ballot measure was a clear sign that this city does not want or need any police officers! Good God Police Officers wake up! Why in the world would you bargin in good faith knowing what the city is trying to do? I would not take any pay cut and let the city lay off- they are going to do it anyways why make it easy for them? Does this pay cut seem as a good faith effort?- Do you guys think the city is playing in a good faith effort?  POA you really think your new E-board will look good with this offer- the city could care less about you and your officers! Glad I am not a cop in this city

  14. @got it wrong

    Nothing stated in my post was wrong. I acknowledged the possibility the measure might impact retiree’s benefits, but focused on what I consider the significant distinction, that being that as a retiree, the value of Pete Constant’s future labor will not be jeopardized by the measure (no matter how it is written). That is not the case for current employees: both their retirement benefits and annual compensation are put to risk, all in service to bolstering the fiscal health of the fund Pete Constant relies upon for his pension, thus turning his vote for the measure into a vote for his self-interest.

    Next time try reading the post thoroughly before commenting.

  15. Why is Council politicians going after city employee’s pay and pensions  

    – It about political promises made and paybacks expected

    Where can Council politicians get get millions needed to pay the San Jose old boys and gals their yearly political tribute payments that was promised during the last election for campaign contributions that overturned Council labor majority ?

    Not from millions in redevelopment political slush fund that has been taken away by Jerry Brown to fix state deficit

    Not from $ 1-2 million an acre profit developers made when Council approved converting industrial and retail land for housing development since bank are not lending money for construction and people are not buying or buying foreclosures so demand for new housing is almost zero

    Not from city construction, consulting and sweetheart high profit contracts   Baseball stadium will not high profit city construction deals for Council to give out by private construction with city money for infrastructure improvement contracts already promised

    Not from millions that was given out to non profits and community groups who employed family, friends needing a high pay for just showing up until the next political job came along

    Not from selling city and redevelopment land cheap so those with political connections can make millions in easy and quick profits by flipping land to housing developers   The last of the good cheap city property has been sold, promised or is worthless in down housing market and economy

    A few million is still available for low income housing as we saw last week when Council approved deals in Berryessa since downtown housing development is dead until economy revives unless city can bundle state grant like they did a month ago when they sold city property with $27 million state grant improvement grant to good old boys You can look up who they are`

    So where will city politicians get $100,000 for a upcoming Council election and $1 million for Mayor election unless they have millions in city money to give out  

    The good old boys and gals did not get to be 1% richest by given out checks, cash envelopes or free rent campaign offices without knowing they would get millions back in profits recession or not

    Why Political Push to reduce Pay and Pensions?

    Council politicians needs millions from employees to pay off political promises made, for future political campaigns promises and for political future deals  

    South Bay Labor is powerless to stop city employee layoffs, pay and pension cuts   Labor has little political power, their best Mayor candidate is out of running, they have almost no campaign funds since there are few union construction jobs and made many political mistakes that turned off voters

    Council has scr*w*d residents for years with high taxes, low services, and poor streets now the city employees will also get scr*w*d

  16. I have tried searching through the city’s website to find the 2011 defined benefits of the elusive Unit 99, but cannot find it anywhere.  Does anyone know where this can be found?  As a resident/voter, I would like to see what the city council/mayor/executives receive in benefits and retirement so that I can be more informed when it comes to election time.

    • Unit 99 is also known as the “Confidential Employees Unit”. They are everybit a union that the POA is under the broad jargon of the public though they don’t want you to know it.  They have a basic pay and benefit package that is put together by some City Commiittee of Resident “volunteers” – I thinnk they are just called the Pay and Benefits committee or something like that.  The membership on that committee like other volunteer committees is made by COuncil members and it has a councilmember on it as a liaison. They meet and come up with the basic package which is then sent to the COuncil for ratification – THe COuncil votes on its own pay and benefits as well as those of other City Dept Heads and assistants.

      Individual members – say the City MAnager can negotiate additional benefits on an idividual basis which then have to be rubber stamped by the COuncil.

      So say Reed really wants Deb to comeback and be the City MAnager. Deb says fine but when I left for that other job I lost all my accrued sick leave. I’ll come back if you will reinstate those hours. Negotiator say ssure, takes it to the COuncil who has to approve Deb’s appointment to Manager and then the pay/benefits packack she gets. 

      Bing – bang – boom, Deb is the City Manager and she has all 1200 hours (this takes the normal employee 12.25 years to earn 1200 hours if they took zero sl during that time. )  of sick leave in her bank after 6-7 years back on the job.  I thnk she also may have negotiated a fully funded Deferred COmp plan – THe City paid over 13K to her deferred comp last year alone….

      Individual members of Unit99 can negotiate

    • You may easily find this information by writing a letter addressed to Mayor Reed and Council.

      The heading of your letter should contain, “Request for Public Record Information”.

      The body of the letter should contain what information you are requesting such as “what city council/mayor/executives receive in benefits and retirement”.

      Take two (2) original copies of your letter to the Office of the City Clerk which is on the second floor of the Wing building (corner of E. Santa Clara Street @ South Fourth Street). Have both originals “time and date stamped. Keep one for your files and the other copy goes to the Public Records Manager. You will get the truthful answer within ten (10) days. [You will probaly get your answer within a day or so because this request is straight forward.]

      The Public Records Manager is very good at what he does and is honorable.

      A little unkown trivia about Unit 99 for you.

      Councilmember Liccardo and Councilmember Constant tried to take away the Health care benefits to Unit 99’s family members. Their attempt to do this horrible thing failed. City Attorneys were affected by this cowardly act by CM Liccardo and CM Constant.  As a result of this stunt the Attorneys, who had a belly full of this crap, shortly thereafter formed their own union called “The Association of Legal Professionals”.  This union has the potential to bring the City of San Jose to its knees if this union deems that it is in their interest to do so.

      I hope the aforementioned was helpful to you.

      For information on the City Manager type “resolution 73799” into the Google search bar and check out the “employment contract”.

      David S. Wall

  17. @John Galt,

    First of all, the notion that Pete Constant’s vote represents the voice of his tens of thousands of constituents is built on the assumption that voters in his district are aligned with him on every issue, which is never the case in a representative system. Second, those in his district who believe that tolerating conflicts makes for bad government would, no matter their particular feelings on this issue, be supportive of his sitting this one out.

    The distinction between Pete Constant’s interests in this issue and that of any judges who may be deciding it is huge: Pete’s continued success for his successfully sucking a defined pension out of the system will be directly affected by the ballot measure, something that is not true for any potential judge. I do, however, get your point about the judge’s self-interest in the system, but allow me to point out that what they will be deciding is a much more far-reaching issue than sustaining the pension model, one that effects everyone in the country: the enforceability of contracts.

  18. I want to remember the names of all those who had the courage to stand up and vote to place this reform measure before the voters on the next (relatively large turn-out) regular election ballot.

    Its easy to cave and capitulate to special interests who’s private interests (pay/benefits/development oppty) translate into votes cast in favor of favored constituents.  I actually believe in democracy and the wisdom of the common man/woman and think we can decide this better than the folks in office looking forward to the next re-election campaign or bid for higher office.  So let’s see this through on popular election basis with a campaign from both sides on the strengths and merits of the proposal.

    BTW – I also think choice is a winner in most ballot races and qualifying an altertnative (slightly weaker pension reform measure) is a better use of your dues paying members political contributions than fighting this (it worked in SF).

    I also wonder how I would feel as a future city employee required to pay dues to a union that fought the good fight for senior employees and sold me the younger new hire down the river.  Should I have to pay the same union dues if you sold me out before hire for a second tier pension so you could protect your more senior members?  How should I feel about that?

    • What worked in SF was a less egregious ballot measure backed by the unions and the mayor.  here we have one very far reaching ballot measure backed by the mayor.  The unions have offered alternatives—all rejected out of hand. If the mayor would partner with the unions then it would be voted on unanimously I imagine.  It is unfortunate that employees will have to pay to get a fair and reasonable opposing measure on the ballot. If the City wants to know what the citizens want it would put both proposals on the ballot itself and ask the citizens to choose but that is not what the city is doing.

      Also, how can the public make an informed decision when the city cannot answer some very basic questions about the cost/benefits of the measure.  I made a public records request asking for two basic pieces of information: 1) how much will the penalty cost each employee who chooses to stay in the old tier and 2) how much savings will be generated by simply raising the retirement age which is one component.  The City could answer neither.  The new ballot meausre caps the penalty at 25% of compensation but it did not when I asked.  They should have known the consequence.  Also, how can they project a total cost savings when they do not know the savings of each component. They were either lying saying they had no records or their numbers are pulled from thin air.  Either way it is a HUGE problem in letting the citizens vote when they will not be able to make informed decisions because the city cannot given them the information they need to make them (or else will give false, unsupported information).

  19. Pier while I have you here…

    Why are the parking fee’s at Alum Rock Park temporarily suspended?

    I just kind of wondered why in a “fiscal emergency” we don’t provide enough diversified small sources of city income, instead of going for the larger scale projects. If the park is closed Monday because of budget cuts, why are we cutting off income?

    Feel free to have a parks person respond here.

    Robert

  20. that this information is not post for the public to see by any news media (From the San Jose POA)

    First and foremost, we have signed a tentative agreement (TA) with the City to delay the binding arbitration that was scheduled to begin on Monday. The TA also says that we will agree to continue the 10% reduction into a second year (fiscal year 12/13).  The TA also means that our current MOA is in effect through June of 2013 (2-year contract). The issues we have side letters on are still open to negotiations (pension, sick time buyout, SRBR, worker’s comp offset, layoff process).

    This TA has been approved by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors (The following Board Members were present and voted in support of the TA; Jim Unland, John Robb, Franco Vado, Rick De Lisser, Conrad Taylor, Rich Benitez, Keith Cottrell, Bobby Avila, Juan Vallejo and James Gonzales. The following members were not present for the vote; Becky Marquez, Ed Conover, Kevin Nishita and Chris Bielecki). The next step is a ratification vote by all active members. If the members approve the TA, it will be approved by the Council. If it if rejected by the members, we will proceed to arbitration in February 2012. Retirees and those individuals who have recently left the POA are not allowed to vote.

    Voting will begin on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 8AM and run for seven days concluding on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 8AM.

    We will be out at the briefings to answer questions and will get to BOI as well. A two-year deal without the commitment to the ongoing giveback was something the negotiations team sought months ago. At that time, we were unable to get that concession from the City. We believe this is the best course of action for our Association to take. We know that no one will be happy about the 10% pay cut continuing for another year, however, no matter how arbitration went, it was very likely we would have been continuing the 10% into next year anyway.

    By postponing the fight over the word “ongoing” we have some stability in our contractual picture for another year. We made this offer to the City during negotiations but the City rejected it back then. This TA secures a 2-year deal without agreeing to the ongoing 10%. It does not guarantee no layoffs, but if this TA is ratified, it would be very unlikely we would have any layoffs next year unless something dramatic changes with the budget.

    Yesterday there was a Council vote that moved the Mayor’s ballot one more step closer to a reality. The Council, in a 6-5 vote, approved the Mayor’s ballot language for the June 2012 election. The small victory was that it has not yet been submitted to the Registrar of Voters. It means there is still time to alter this ballot language. We expect the 5-year projected retirement numbers to be available in early January and we will have to see if it alters the political landscape.

    There have been many small victories this last week but the task at hand is still daunting. The Mayor has suffered a few setbacks, but, as predicted, he has adjusted accordingly and continues his goal of challenging vested rights.

    The unions, specially those offered by the police have been continually rejected by the city bent on an ballot measure.

    • It’s old news.  The POA rolled over again. In briefing one year ago.  We want you guys to sign this contract.  We unlike the rest of the unions will be getting our money back after one year.  Were going to fight for you guys!
          Fast forward this year.  Sign the new contract.  Were not going to fight for your 10% back.  When Chuckie says.  Sit Up POA, Roll over POA play dead POA they do it. Speak POA meow meow

  21. Employee Unit   Full Time FTE     Ave Cost Pay &
                Equivalents     Benefits per FTE

    Executive Management(Unit 99)        215 $196,236
    Association of Legal Professionals (ALP) 36 $207,667

    San Jose Fire Fighters, Local 230 (IAFF) 645 $201,611
    San Jose Police Officers’ iation (POA) 1,085 $203,211

    CITYWIDE                   5,400   $141,918
    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/employeerelations/totalcomp/11-12/CitywideAvgCostByEmployeeUnit.pdf

    Unit 99 Council Resolutions – Changes

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/Agenda/20110419/20110419_0306res.pdf

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/ORDS_RESOS/RESO_75363.pdf

  22. Don’t cave. We want our day in court. Stop trying to negotiate. DO NOT Give up another thing. We want to go to court. Let them put it on the ballot. We’ll be better off when the court rejects it. Stop trying to give away the kitchen sink and all the fixtures.

  23. Members of an armed gang are on trial after they’ve been charged with stealing millions from the Dubai royal family. The £2million heist ($3,099,000) was the royal family’s “holiday spending money” set aside for its visit to London on June 24.

    If they can throw around $3million for a London vacation, maybe we can appeal to the Dubai royal family to help with our budget deficit.

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