The following letter to the editor was published in The Beach Reporter newspaper (TBRnews.com) on Thursday, March 27, 2014 in the Letters section. The Beach Reporter has a strict 250-word limit excluding the title.
No on Measure A
Mayor Fisher claims the “business community” supports Measure A, and the City Council has no control over employee pension costs. Not true.
Most El Segundo businesses oppose Measure A. Ninety percent are not Chamber members, and the Chamber board did not allow its general membership to vote before supporting the tax hikes.
City Council controls pension costs in three ways: (1) Amounts of employee salaries, which are increased by pay raises and “special compensation”; (2) Percentage of total pension contributions employees are required to pay; and (3) Pension plan options the city provides.
Firefighter and police pensions pay 3 percent of their single highest year salary for each year worked, up to 90 percent. Fisher supported firefighter and police pay raises of 11.25 percent to 32.3 percent over three years, plus additional 5 percent annual “step” raises, approved 4/7/09 and 12/2/08, jacking up pension costs.
The council can save more than $3.3 million yearly by requiring city employees to pay half their total pension contributions, as allowed under state law effective 1/1/13. The city now pays 71 percent to 94 percent of total pension contributions.
The council can save several million more yearly by eliminating automatic additional 5 percent annual “step” raises, and “special compensation” for things that are existing job requirements or unrelated to the job.
These savings must be negotiated with the city unions later this year, after the April election. The Measure A tax windfall will weaken the City Council’s bargaining position and preclude these savings.
See PublicSafetyProject.org for more information. Vote “no” on Measure A.