City of San Diego Retired Employees Association

April 14,  2020

Board Meeting Minutes

NOTE: All votes were unanimous unless otherwise noted

To adhere to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, the meeting was held via Zoom online meeting service.

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Dick Wilken at 9:30am.

Board Members Present: Jim Baross, Mike Bresnahan, Chris Brewster, Karen Butler, Shirley Hall, Brad Jacobsen, Joan McNamara, Ty Rogers, Mary Ann Stepnowsky, John Tsiknas, Dave Twomey, Dick Wilken, and Janet Wood

Guests Present:  Joe Flynn

AGENDA: There were no additions or changes to the agenda.


Charlie reported by email that the SDCERS Board met via conference call in March and is likely to do so again in May if the distancing protocols have not been lifted.

MINUTES: The minutes of the March 2020 Board meeting were approved.

COMMUNICATIONS: Dick reported that an article in the UT expressed concerns about the health of our pension system resulting from the stock market losses. The reporter asked SDCERS for a response and the spokesperson said that the working from home environment made it difficult to respond. Later in the article Mike Zucchet explained that the pension system remained strong. Dick indicated that this was ‘not a good look’ and that SDCERS should have a system to escalate such press inquiries. Dick emailed his concerns to the SDCERS CEO.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Karen reported that there was nothing unusual, except for a partial refund on our Special Use Permit in the amount of $222.

M/S/C to accept the March Treasurer’s Report.

The stock market has dropped dramatically in the last month, but the good news is that while our Russell 3000 fund has dropped in value in the short term, as of April 9 it was 46% of our Legal Fund investment. Therefore, at the present time there is no need to rebalance in accordance with our rebalancing rules that if the funds are off by more than 45/55% we move funds from the money market to the Russell or vice-versa. We do, however, plan that going forward, when REA receives the monthly payment from SDCERS, an equal amount of the 1⁄2 that goes to the Legal Fund will be deposited in the money market fund and the Russell fund. Until the present time, all of the Legal Fund money was going to the money market fund, instead of an equal amount to each. We are recommending no change to the 45/55% rule on rebalancing, but again, that is not something that requires action at the present time. By depositing an equal amount in each fund, each month, we expect that we will be better able to maintain balance.”

M/S/C to accept the Investment Committee Report.


1) Dave updated the Board on our Image Enhancement Campaign. Carl Luna’s Restoring Respect conference has been rescheduled to October. The program to help distribute lunches to schoolchildren during the summer break has been superseded by an emergency program run by the school district to provide that service during the COVID-19 school closures.

The Advocacy Committee met via Zoom and was presented with another opportunity to raise REA’s profile within the community: The San Diego Foundation has established a fund to help with COVID-19 relief, and donations will be matched 1:2 by the Dr Seuss Fund. Due to an impending deadline to qualify for the matching funds, the Advocacy Committee (which also comprised a quorum of the Board) agreed to donate $3000 to the San Diego Foundation. This amount reflects one month’s dues income. The Foundation will acknowledge that the donation was on behalf of all REA members. Dick stressed the decision by the Committee to move forward without a vote of the entire Board is unique and was only done in order to meet the deadline for the matching funds. Board members were notified after the decision and given the opportunity to concur or object; there were no objections.

2) SDCERS has canceled the annual Health Fair events in June and we have canceled the May meeting with Mike Zucchet. This means that our next meeting should be in July, depending on whether Park & Rec has reopened their facilities; the speaker will be Hasan Ikhrata, the CEO of SANDAG.

3) John has developed a chart on how to rebalance our investment funds to reestablish a 50/50 funding ratio.


1) Dave reported that Voice of San Diego will be having a fundraising drive in August; this could be another opportunity for our Image Enhancement Campaign as well as a way to build a relationship with VOSD. The Advocacy Committee will discuss this at its April 23 meeting.

2) Joan reported that Deering Banjo and Taylor Guitars are made in East County. Both offer tours of their factories, but not at this time due to social distancing requirements. Joan will arrange for the tours once they become available.


Advocacy: See above. The next meeting will be April 23 via Zoom. Board members who are not on the committee but who wish to participate should email Mike to be sent the agenda.

Membership: No report.

Newsletter: Deadline for the next issue is April 18. Janet reported that she’s been getting very positive feedback about the newsletter.

Past President: No report.

Website: There was discussion about providing a link to Chris Brewster’s Voice of San Diego article about his interpretation of COVID-19 statistics. It was agreed to provide the link with a caveat that it is not official information.


Retiree Issues Task Force (RITF): No report.

Retirement Security Roundtable: Chris reported that the Roundtable will continue to meet every six months.

MEA: Contract negotiations are on hold due to COVID-19; it is probable that City workers will continue under the existing contract until negotiations can resume. Mike Zucchet will be asked about the status of the Prop B cases, but it is presumed that they are on hold.

Other Retired Public Employee Associations: No report.


Dave will see if Mike Zucchet is available for the August meeting, which was vacant. The rest of the year is full: Amy Abrams in September, SDCERS in October, Carl Luna in November.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 am.

Respectfully submitted,

Brad Jacobsen