City of San Diego Retired Employees Association
January 12, 2021
General Meeting Minutes
Meeting held via Zoom
President Dick Wilken greeted attendees and reminded them that the meeting was being recorded and will be posted on our You Tube channel. The minutes of the November meeting were approved.
Dick announced that the recipient of the Tivoli radio for outstanding service to REA was Janet Wood, for editing our newsletter for ten years.
The five Officers and Board members re-elected at the November meeting were officially seated.
Chris Brewster summarized the most recent Superior Court decision in the Prop B litigation. Proponents of the proposition have 60 days to file an appeal. (Brewster’s full analysis is provided at the end of the minutes.)
Cynthia Queen of SDCERS informed members that 1099 forms for 2020 will be mailed on or before January 31; they will also be available on the SDCERS Member Portal. She also informed members that due to the lowering of the DROP interest rate, 200 employees retired in December.
Marcelle Rossman, Deputy CEO of SDCERS, informed members that because the Medicare Part B premium went up, the number of SDCERS members applying for reimbursement rose from 150 in December 2019 to 1500 in December 2020. Staff is working hard to get the applications processed by the end of January.
Dave Twomey updated members on REA’s Image Enhancement Campaign to increase awareness of City retirees’ contributions to the community. In 2020, REA co-sponsored Dr Carl Luna’s “Restoring Respect” conference; co-sponsored Voice of San Diego’s “Morning Report,” with a link to our website; and contributed nearly $3000 to the San Diego Food Bank.
The program was Scott Lewis of Voice of San Diego, who presented insights on local politics and issues. He noted that Mayor Gloria’s Chief of Staff has expertise in border issues, and that the City is in worse fiscal shape than the State, the County, and the school districts. He pointed out that Jim Desmond was next in line to become the chair of the County Board of Supervisors, but the supervisors instead elected Nathan Fletcher to the position. In the 2020 election, San Diego County had a record voter turnout of 84% and that as a whole, the county is leaning bluer: the county as a whole voted 52% for George W Bush but 60% for Joe Biden. He showed results from a poll VOSD conducted on various issues. Self-identified liberals, moderates, and conservatives all were concerned about the economic impacts of covid, but there were significant differences of opinions between conservatives and liberals/moderates on issues such as climate change, crime, and Black Lives Matter.
Chris Brewster’s summary of the
Superior Court Decision
in the Prop B Litigation
After Proposition B was enacted, several unions filed a complaint with the Public Employee Relations Board that it violated state labor law. The PERB issued a ruling that would have essentially negated Proposition B and made the new employees who were denied access to the pension system whole.
That ruling was appealed through the court system to the California Supreme Court by two plaintiffs: The City of San Diego and April Boling et al (private parties who had promoted Proposition B). During the appeal process, new employees received 401(k)s instead of being enrolled in the pension system.
The Supreme Court ultimately ruled against the Plaintiffs and sent the matter back to the Appeals Court, which essentially ruled further in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision the Proposition B should be overturned.
The City has now changed its position and agrees to the need to invalidate Proposition B, but April Boling et all have not, so legal opposition to invalidating Proposition B has continued.
One of the final, key steps in the invalidation process is a quo warranto ruling that would direct the City of San Diego to remove all language from the City Charter that was placed there through Proposition B. That requires a ruling by a Superior Court judge and then action by the City Council.
The judge in the case has verbally ruled from the bench in favor of the quo warranto removal of Proposition B language. His written ruling is expected within the next 10 days.
That ruling may be appealed to the Appeals Court by the plaintiffs should they wish to do so. They have 60 days to appeal. If they appeal, the appeal may take as long as 18 months. If they do not appeal, then after the 60 days, the City Council can act fairly quickly through normal legislative process.
At that point, two things will happen.
First, all new employees in classifications eligible to be part of the pension system prior to Proposition B will be made a part of the system.
Second, the unions will meet and confer with the city to determine how the approximately 4,000 employees denied a pension in the intervening period will be handled. It is notable that the PERB order included making the affected employees whole for lost pension benefits plus 7% interest per annum. Therefore, the unions have some substantial leverage in those negotiations.
If the judge’s ruling is appealed, then all of this would be postponed by up to 18 months, depending on how quickly the Appeals Court elects to take up the case.