CalWatchdog Morning Read – October 12

by CalWatchdog Staff | October 12, 2016 8:53 am

Good morning. Happy Hump Day. While it seems everyone is trying to get footage of Trump speaking candidly in recordings of “The Apprentice,” which we’ll call the “Trump tapes,” we start this morning with some pension news.

A decision by four Marin County public-employee associations to appeal a pension-related case to the California Supreme Court could ultimately determine whether localities have the tools needed to rein in escalating pension debt.

At issue is how far officials can go to reduce some benefits for current employees after a state appeals court has chipped away at a legal “rule” long favored by the state’s unions.

In August, a California appeals court ruled against the Marin County Employees’ Association in its case challenging a 2012 state law reining in pension-spiking abuses – i.e., those various end-of-career enhancements (unused leave, bonuses, etc.) that public employees use to gin up their final salary and their lifetime retirement pay. …

Even though the dollars at issue are relatively minimal, the case has become a major flashpoint. California courts have long abided by something known as the “California Rule.”[1] It’s not a law or even a rule, actually. It refers to a series of court rulings concluding that once a pension benefit is granted to public employees by a legislative body (board of supervisors, city council, state Legislature), it can never be reduced – even going forward. 

CalWatchdog[2] has more. 

In other news:


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  1. “California Rule.”:
  2. CalWatchdog:
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  4. Politico:
  5. The San Jose Mercury News:
  6. LA Weekly:

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