Third measure of day that would rein in city spending on its employees quashed.


Earlier today, The Appeal dutifully reported that political pressure forced supervisors on Thursday to kill off ballot measures that would help the city spend less on salaries for firefighters and Muni transit operators.

And a few hours later, labor wrapped up its complete-game shutout, convincing supervisors to effectively geld Supervisor Sean Elsbernd’s proposed ballot measure that would have asked voters to reform retired city employees’ pension and retiree health benefits — so much so that Elsbernd removed his and the mayor’s names as sponsors of the legislation.

Elsbernd proposed that the city’s public safety employees contribute 9% of their annual paychecks to the city’s stressed and soon-to-be-overdrawn pension fund (right now employees contribute 7.5%, and the city covers the difference), and have employee’s pensions set by their average paycheck over the last three years of their employment (the latter to combat “pension spiking,” in which employees — mostly police and fire, we’re told — receive a promotion or raise shortly before their retirement, and then have their pension based on the late “spike”).

Instead, Supervisor Eric Mar introduced amendments that would have SEIU employees contribute 7.5% of their checks in return for 7% guaranteed raises, and reduce the three-year survey to a two-year survey. Mar, a progressive, introduced both amendments the behest of SEIU Local 1021 representatives, a City Hall source told The Appeal.

Elsbernd’s original proposal would have resulted in “significantly reduced costs,” according to the Controller. Mar’s new additions have not been fiscally analyzed, but Elsbernd offered his own assessment.

“These amendments will increase employer costs,” he said.

Both Elsbernd’s original measure and Mar’s new, labor-friendlier measure will go to the full Board of Supervisors next Tuesday.

Elsbernd’s ballot measure will likely fail at the Board, and if a majority of the Board of Supervisors approve Mar’s updated version, Elsbernd will oppose it.

It is possible that voters could see his original proposal in some form: voters could be asked to affix their names to circulated petitions to put the charter amendments on the ballot. No solid plans as yet exist to do so.

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