Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 2, 1999 Election
Proposition B
Firefighter/Police Retirement Benefits
City of San Francisco

Majority Vote Required

126,012 / 71.30% Yes votes ...... 50,687 / 28.60% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Infomation shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Arguments |
Shall firefighters and police officers who transferred to the Tier 2 retirement plan in 1981 receive improved retirement benefits given other Tier 2 members since then if they meet certain repayment conditions?
Summary Prepared by the Ballot Simplification Committee:
THE WAY IT IS NOW: The City has two levels of retirement benefits for City employees, including firefighters and police officers. Tier 1 has better benefits and covers employees hired before November 2, 1976. City employees hired after that date are covered under Tier 2.

A Charter amendment passed by the voters in 1981 offered Tier 1 firefighters and police officers a cash payment to transfer to Tier 2 to reduce the number of employees receiving the more expensive Tier 1 benefits. Approximately 250 firefighters and police officers ("the transferees") transferred from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

Retirement benefits for City employees are set by the Charter and can be changed only by the voters. Benefit increases for firefighters and police officers who transferred from Tier 1 to Tier 2 have to be separately approved by the voters.

Since 1981 the Charter has been amended by the voters to improve retirement benefits for Tier 2 members. However, firefighters and police officers who transferred to Tier 2 in 1981 have not received these improved benefits.

THE PROPOSAL: Proposition B is a Charter amendment that would allow firefighters and police officers who transferred to Tier 2 in 1981 to receive the improved retirement benefits granted to other Tier 2 employees, subject to certain limitations. The transferees also would be required to pay back with interest the cash payment they received in 1981, minus the amount of their own contributions to the retirement system.

Fiscal Impact from the City Controller Edward Harrington:
Should the proposed amendment be adopted, in my opinion, the cost to the City and County would increase, as estimated by the Retirement System Actuary, by about $400,000 per year for the next 20 years.

However, no cash would be required since the City's Retirement System has a large surplus. While the cost of this proposal would reduce that surplus, it would have a minor affect. Even with this proposal, the City does not expect to have to contribute to the Retirement System for at least the next 15 years.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote of this measure means:
If you vote yes, you want to allow firefighters and police officers who transferred to the Tier 2 retirement plan in 1981 to receive improved retirement benefits granted to other Tier 2 members, if repayment conditions are met.

A NO vote of this measure means:
If you vote no, you do not want to allow firefighters and police officers who transferred to the Tier 2 retirement plan in 1981 to receive improved retirement benefits granted to other Tier 2 members.

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Arguments For Proposition B Arguments Against Proposition B
A small group of 254 firefighters and police officers - mostly minorities and women - have been unintentionally excluded from retirement benefit improvements recently approved by voters for the City's Tier 2 Retirement System.

Their unequal status is due to Proposition F, passed in 1980. Proposition F saved the City hundreds of millions of dollars by encouraging firefighters and police officers to transfer out of the expensive Tier 1 into the far less generous Tier 2 plan. Those who transferred were promised that they would receive future Tier 2 benefit improvements if they repaid money they got to transfer. However, obscure provisions in Proposition F locked them out of Tier 2 improvements even if they repaid the funds by requiring a separate special charter amendment just to receive the same improvements other Tier 2 employees receive.

Recently, voters have granted Tier 2 benefit improvements including better pension payments earlier, improved cost of living adjustments and domestic partner benefits. Those who transferred to Tier 2 cannot get any of these improvements.

Even new employees get far better benefits than these twenty-five year veterans who transferred to Tier 2! While the City requires private employers to offer domestic partner benefits, these employees cannot receive the same benefits!

This proposed Charter amendment will cure this unfairness at no cost to the City until at least 2015 and little cost thereafter. Those who transferred will repay with interest the City's contributions received in 1981 and get benefit improvements already enjoyed by their co-workers.

Those who transferred will not return to Tier 1 or get more than what they were promised in 1981. This small group of long-term firefighters and police officers will simply get the same retirement benefits as newer co-workers.

Please Vote Yes on Proposition B.

Board of Supervisors

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The firefighters and police officers have one of the highest pay rates and most attractive retirement benefits packages in the country. The politicians owe their allegiance to them, will put virtually any ballot measures up that are favored by organized labor. It will cost the taxpayers $400,000 per year (according to the city Controller) if Proposition B passes.

This ballot measure was rejected by the voters a couple of elections ago. How dare the Supervisors re-submit the same rejected ballot measure again?

It is time to stop the city fund as a candy store with special privileges granted to a few.

Stop the current Mayor from giving away our money in an attempt to pay off his political debts.

The Police Officers Association made a serious blunder by endorsing the Mayor. Now the police are faced with a city government being investigated for administrative corruption.

Vote no on Proposition B.

Martin Lee Eng
Mayoral Candidate 1999.
High tech company founder
News-Photo Journalist
Fr. Vice-Chairperson, County Committee
Email: Mayor-Eng@GlobalForum.com
Voicemail: (415) 680-1699

Stop the current mayor to give away our money for paying off his political debts. The police union made a serious blunder by endorsing him, with an administration plagued with FBI corruption probes into the next century, guaranteeing with criminal indictments.

Martin Lee Eng
Mayoral candidate 1999
Campaign website://http://www.GlobalForum.com

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The opposition against Proposition B has nothing to do with the Proposition, but is simply politically motivated by a mayoral candidate. Proposition B equalizes benefit improvements granted by the voters, not the mayor. Retirement benefits are set by Charter; they can only be changed by voters amending the Charter.

Proposition B is not about "giving away" money, but rather, about equal treatment. Most firefighters and police get pension benefits which voters recently improved - like 2% at 50, cost of living adjustments, domestic partner benefits. However, when the voters improved benefits, they didn't know that about 200 firefighters and police were left out due to a technicality in 1980's Proposition F requiring separate charter amendments for transferees. About 95% of firefighters and police already get much better pensions than those who transferred and saved the City approximately $200 million. The Controller's report says those benefits will not cost the City any money until at least the year 2015 and little thereafter, while the City has saved 33 times any cost associated with this Proposition. Don't be fooled by false accusations!

Firefighters and police earn retirement benefits by risking their lives every workday. Fairness demands that they all earn the same benefits. Rookies get every benefit improvement denied to excluded veterans with twenty years of service! San Francisco's political leaders, including the Mayor, every Supervisor, Fire and Police Chiefs, support this Proposition because it's only fair.

Vote Yes on Proposition B.

Board of Supervisors

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Created: November 18, 1999 14:59
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