SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to take away the right of the San Diego City Employees Retirement System Board of Directors to settle lawsuits on its own.
The decision -- which must come back for a second reading before being finalized -- stemmed from the pension board's $700,000 settlement of litigation brought by the former president of the Municipal Employees Association -- which represents city white-collar workers. The deal with ex-MEA boss Judie Italiano was the board's only settlement of a lawsuit in the last four years, according to SDCERS.
"(The settlement) offended me, and this City Council had no opportunity to be briefed, to weigh in, to examine the options and decide if this large settlement was in the best interest of the taxpayers," Councilman Carl DeMaio said.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he was previously unaware that the SDCERS board claimed the power to settle cases without consulting the City Council as part of a 2008 trust agreement that allowed the agency to co-mingle funds of its three branches -- the city of San Diego, the Port of San Diego and San Diego County Regional Airport Authority -- for investment purposes.
The agreement was finalized before he took office.
"No other part of the city has blanket authority to settle lawsuits," Goldsmith said.
He said SDCERS is just one of several city agencies that operate on a quasi-independent basis, and none of the others have such power.
The City Charter and California Constitution grants SDCERS independence from the city in managing investments and benefits, but not litigation, which could involve a variety of issues, Goldsmith said.
Tuesday's action by the council does not allow the city to undo previous settlements like the one for Italiano.
Several dogs were taken into the custody of San Diego County and put down, after a Lomita woman reported that her six dogs were attacked and some killed by a group of pit bulls.
Temperatures are expected to rise slightly on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, but will remain cooler than normal.
John Coleman, a long-serving San Diego weatherman and founder of The Weather Channel, has died at the age of 83.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.
The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, which prompted the closure of many federal operations, such as national parks and monuments and that included the shutdown of Cabrillo National Monument.
A transient accused of fatally stabbing a man after they got into an argument near a 7-Eleven store in Poway pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge.
Coastal rail closures could complicate the commute for the thousands of people expected at Women's Marches set for downtown San Diego and San Marcos Saturday, though additional transit options are being made available.
A man arrested in the doctor's lounge at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa after claiming to be an anesthesiologist pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony charge of treating the sick without a certificate.
People who bought new homes in Otay Ranch's Village of Escaya can start moving in Friday - later than planned but after the developer took steps to address methane found at the site.