UPDATE: On Wednesday, the Police Officers Association (POA) released a "Confidential Settlement Document" that City Manager Ed Shikada had purportedly agreed to put on the November ballot. The firefighters union Local 230 would have also been included in the pension reform restructuring. But, according to the POA, the City Council rejected the deal.
The police union's news release included a graph indicating that $300 million in projected savings could have been possible through the quashed proposal.
However, Shikada released a statement later in the day essentially denying a deal was ever in place:
"We've negotiated in good faith in an ongoing effort to identify possible solutions," he said. "The document released reflected one proposal that still contained many unresolved issues, but it was one that we had agreed should be discussed with principals on all sides. It is not accurate to say that I, as city manager, reached an agreement with the litigants that was then rejected by the City Council."
After all the talk about pension reform saving San Jose's butt, it appears Measure B may be on its way back to the ballot.
City Manager Ed Shikada will strike up negotiations with public employee unions over some potential changes to pension reforms voters passed as Measure B in 2012. And the proposals appear to be as exciting as oatmeal.
One update would allow people who quit working for the city to pick up the same retirement benefits they had when they left, which is basically an admission that they should've have left. But it could (re)attract more street-ready cops to beef up the woefully understaffed San Jose Police Department.
Another revision would clarify disability retirement for seriously injured police and firefighters.
Those adjustments would ultimately have to come to a vote by the general public. The council has until Aug. 5 to vote to place a measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. State law requires the city to give unions advance notice and time to negotiate before the council votes to place a measure affecting terms of employment on the ballot. Click here to read letters to San Jose's bargaining units.
Mayor Chuck Reed, who championed Measure B and has maintained staunch support for the reforms even after they dragged the city into a litany of legal troubles, said the city is willing to make some changes.
"Measure B remains critical to San Jose's fiscal sustainability and is already saving us $25 million annually, which has allowed us to slowly begin restoring services," Reed said. "However, we also remain open to adjustments that can address concerns of our employees without having a drastic impact on our continually tentative fiscal situation."
If that seems like a lame duck compromise, Reed does only have six more months in office.
But the proposed revisions won't resolve the city's legal battles. Settlement discussions are in the works, but several cases remain tied up in appellate court.
"These changes provide an incentive for employees who have left the city of San Jose to return and will provide certainty to our police officers, which will help with recruitment and retention of new officers," Reed said. "The City Council is eager to address these issues, and I hope we will get agreement from our unions that these changes should be put to a vote of the people in November."