• Judge Finds for City in Pension Suit

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    Judge Thomas Wills has found for the City of Pacific Grove in its countersuit to the suit brought against it by Sally Jean Aberg, Frances Grate and Daniel Davis (Aberg, et al v. City of Pacific Grove) concerning the “Citizen’s Initiative Petition,” which attempted to rescind the City’s adoption of an ordinance in 2002 which gave “3 @ 50” retirement to safety personnel.

    On Jan. 21, 2014, the judge had ruled that the City was bound to place the initiative on the November, 2014 ballot but he made it clear that he would not resolve the entire matter until the question of the City’s request for a declaratory ruling as to the legality of the rescission of “3@50” was settled. Also taken into consideration was the related Pacific Grove Police Officers Association suit against the City in which Judge Wills had ruled that contractual rights to a pension are vested.

    City Attorney David Laredo said, “The judge has put a lot of thought and has issued a careful decision. We have avoided a very expensive set of processes” including the ballot measure and future litigation. Not yet decided is the claim for legal fees. He said the judge told the parties that the City had complied with CalPERS regulations in the 2002 action and had not concealed actuarial information. The judge, said Laredo, found that the retroactive intent of the Citizen’s Initiative provided no way to carve out the language and make it enforceable. “The court also found the City Council based its decision upon appropriate actuarial data,” he added.

    City Manager Frutchey added, “The City has reached out to the petitioners [Aberg, Davis and Grate], and asks them return to the table to identify and implement prospective changes better able to meet the interests of our entire community.”

    “I hope this will allow the city to put behind it a 12-year-old question,” said Mayor Bill Kampe. “Pacific Grove has taken more proactive steps than most other cities we know of to contain pension costs.” He added that he hoped energy could be spent now focusing on pension reform at the state level.

    The City Council meets again on July 16, 2014. Judge Wills’s written decision is due late in the day on June 26, 2014.

    The petitioners did not respond to an email request from Cedar Street Times as of press time.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on June 26, 2014

    Topics: Front PG News

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