Pension initiative headed for June ballot (The UT)

An initiative that would eliminate guaranteed pensions for most new city hires and replace them with a 401(k)-style plan is officially headed for the June 5 ballot.

The City Council voted 7-1 Monday to place the “Comprehensive Pension Reform” initiative on the ballot in response to a petition filed on its behalf that was signed by nearly 116,000 of the city’s registered voters. Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who is opposed to the measure, said she voted against the move because it would cost less money if it was on the November ballot.

The initiative was crafted by Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Council members Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer who led a nearly six-month-long effort to gather enough signatures to trigger a public vote. It eliminates pensions for all new city hires except police officers and proposes a five-year salary freeze for current workers, among other things.

The measure faces two challenges which could derail its path to the June election. Labor unions have filed a complaint with the state Public Employment Relations Board accusing Sanders of unfair labor practices and a City Hall gadfly sued the city because he believes it isn’t an amendment to the city charter as supporters say. Decisions are expected soon in both cases.

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