DeMaio forms task force to study implementing pension reform ide - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

DeMaio forms task force to study implementing pension reform ideas

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Councilman Carl DeMaio announced Wednesday that he has formed a task force to study how to implement any pension reform measures passed by the voters or City Council.

San Diegans in the June primary election will consider a ballot measure that would offer most new city employees 401(k) plans instead of enrolling them in the debt-ridden pension system. It would also put a five-year lid on compensation that could be later used to compute a worker's retirement pay - the employee would still be eligible for raises and bonuses, but the extra money collected during the time period would not be considered when figuring pension amounts.

DeMaio, who is running for mayor, said different pension reform ideas could come from other City Council members or unions.

"I can say with some optimism that 2012 is shaping up as the year of pension reform," DeMaio said.

The reality of how increasing city contributions to the pension system is reducing the funds available to pay for municipal services is beginning to sink in with union leaders and Democrats on the City Council, he said.

The task force needed to be formed now, he said, because if voters do pass the so-called "Comprehensive Pension Reform" measure, some of its provisions are to be implemented in 30 days.

The nine members he appointed include accountant April Boling, a former City Council candidate, chair of the city's Pension Reform Committee and former chair of both the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and San Diego Convention Center Corp.; William Sheffler, who has served on the Pension Reform Committee and board of the San Diego City Employees Retirement System; and Robert Kevane, an accountant and president of the San Diego Association of
Realtors.

DeMaio said the panel would hold at least one public hearing early next year, which could yield a wide range of ideas.

He said he would like to see the task force members put together guidelines for setting up the 401(k) plans and determine industry benchmarks for retirement benefits at other municipalities and nonprofit organizations.

"My hope is we have a whole set of reports, ready to go, by June," DeMaio said.

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