cityhall3.jpgA ballot measure proposed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to enact widespread reform to city workers’ pensions and health benefits passed an important first step today.

The Board of Supervisors’ rules committee voted unanimously this morning to send the proposed charter amendment to the full board, which will vote in the coming weeks on whether to put the measure on the November ballot.

The proposal–the result of months of negotiations between city officials and labor and business leaders–would cap pension benefits and raise retirement ages for city workers as well as require them to contribute more to their retirement and health plans.

Lee has said the proposal could save the city between $800 million and $1 billion over the next decade. San Francisco’s pension costs are set to increase by more than $125 million in the next fiscal year and by more than $100 million in each of the next three years, according to the mayor’s office.

The board committee voted 3-0 in favor of the measure this morning, and the full board could vote on it as soon as July 12, although Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said changes to the measure that day could delay the vote for another week.

The measure appears to have the support of a majority of supervisors, nine of whom stood alongside Lee when he announced the measure last month.

However, it might not be the only measure on the November ballot to address the city’s pension costs.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi is calling for more extensive reform and has proposed a separate ballot measure.

He is collecting the roughly 50,000 signatures needed to get it on the November ballot.

Adachi proposed a pension reform measure, Proposition B, on last November’s ballot but it was rejected by the city’s voters.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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