Will City Manage to *Lose* Money on Pension 'Reform'?

You'd think even San Francisco wouldn't manage to formulate a “solution” for pension reform that actually costs millions more in both the long-run and short-run. Right? Right? Well — apparently not.

We've written a bit about Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and his proposed charter amendment to save the city money by rejiggering the pension system. He assessed his chances of getting the amendment out of Rules Committee today intact at “100-to-1” due to labor's objections. But he was wrong — sort of. The measure was passed on to the full board untouched — but so was a version with two amendments added by Supervisor Eric Mar that Eslbernd  claims would actually cost the city millions.*

Here's the nitty-gritty: Members of the SEIU currently do not pay the 7.5 percent contribution to their pensions as do nearly all other unionized city workers; the city has agreed to make the payments in lieu of giving SEIU workers raises. Now, however, the SEIU is pushing for a 7 percent pay raise in return for its workers making the 7.5 percent annual pension contribution. “We want what every other public sector bargaining unit got,” says SEIU organizer Robert Haaland, who said he's not sure “how the math will work out” regarding this plan.

Elsbernd, however, points out this is not a cost-neutral proposition for the city. In fact, he claims, preliminary estimates peg this as a $10 million annual cost increase for San Francisco — truly redefining the term “pension reform.”

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