San Diego mayor resumes public-employee enrichment schemes

March 14, 2013

By Chris Reed

Sideshow.Bob.FilnerWell, that didn’t take long.

Bob Filner — a paleoliberal former Democratic congressman who was elected mayor of San Diego in November — is embracing the same sort of ridiculously generous public-employee compensation policies that led to his city’s immense fiscal crisis a decade ago. That crisis amounted to an early warning of the now at-hand pension tsunami afflicting local and state governments around the nation. It was so severe that it led to San Diego being called “Enron by the Sea.”

However, since 2005, seven years of prudence from Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders have actually left San Diego in far better shape than many other California cities. But Filner is determined to change that:

“City politicians already have voted themselves the richest pension benefits of any city employees, but under a new proposal by Mayor Bob Filner, city politicians will have even more to look forward to once they leave office.

“Mayor Filner is asking the City Council to pass an extraordinary law this month to allow former city politicians to “double dip” by collecting full city pensions while being eligible to be rehired by the city with full salaries simultaneously. …

“Filner’s proposal for ex-City Council people is not the only effort to expand pension ‘double dipping’ at City Hall.

“In December 2012, the city’s pension system announced that city employees could retire, start collecting a full pension, and return to work at City Hall on a full salary – provided that they simply wait six months.

“The city’s pension system formulated this policy to help retired city employees thwart IRS efforts to impose a pension penalty tax of 10 percent on government employees who retire and then return to work at the same government agency.”

That’s from Thursday’s U-T San Diego column by former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio, a libertarian Republican who lost narrowly to Filner in November.

Buyer’s remorse is likely to set in soon. When Sanders left office, he was very popular.

But despite Sanders’ endorsement, DeMaio was effectively demonized by public employee unions as a radical. Still, it’s doubtful that many of Filner’s voters wanted him to re-embrace the city’s old ways.

A city with a pothole problem that reminds many residents of life in the Third World doesn’t want to see the further enrichment of already well-paid public employees.

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