Sen. Steve Glazer (D – Orinda) introduced a major pension reform bill, Senate Bill 1149, this week. I am proud to say I am a coauthor. The Sacramento Bee provides the story in the first piece below. The piece closes by mentioning superficially the three pension reform bills that I have introduced (for the first two, see MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 4 — February 12, 2018 and MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 5 — February 14, 2018).
The third pension bill that I introduced last week is Senate Bill 1033, which concerns reciprocity between public employee defined benefit plans. Many employees leave one system to go to another, only to have their salaries boosted dramatically by the new municipal employer. Unfortunately, the previous system is partially on the hook for this potential spiking in remuneration. My bill will shift the liability for the higher compensation component to the last employer. It’s a fair bill. And it’s something that CalPERS has been working on internally, as well.
Yesterday morning I had my second Joint Committee on Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention & Response Hearing. KCRA Channel 3 was present and provided their perspective in the second piece below. In a political world, a false rumor whispering campaign can destroy a candidate. I asked a few good legal minds on addressing false accusations.
Volume 6 of the CAFR rankings, the third piece below, provides the cities ranked from #250 to #201. The OC cities of San Juan Capistrano (#223) and Seal Beach (#201) are included. The group represents 6.2 percent of California’s population. The median city is Angels Camp (#241). For the previous five listings, see MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 5 — February 14, 2018.
Two interesting observations. The first we now see cities in the list that have a positive unrestricted net position, starting with #219, Livingston. The second is there are three cities that do not have their annual CAFRs online and have been unwilling or unable to send copies to me in a timely manner. These small cities are Amador (#222), Fort Jones (#221), and Westmorland (#220). When we update this listing, after all of the 2017 CAFRs have been completed, we hope to find these cities in their appropriate places, versus the generous “zero” that we’re giving them by default. (For those of you residing in the city of Livingston, we did make a minor adjustment, dropping you a few spots, which will be reflected in our next edition.)
CalPERS pension or a 401(k)? State workers could choose under Democrat’s bill
BY ADAM ASHTON
New state workers would have a choice about whether they want to join CalPERs under a bill a Senate Democrat submitted on Wednesday.
The bill by Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda is a long shot. Lawmakers last year rejected other proposals to change public employee pensions, such as a bill that would have suspended cost-of-living adjustments that retirees receive.
Glazer’s proposal, Senate Bill 1149, would enable new state workers to choose alternate retirement options outside of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, such as a defined contribution 401(k) plan.
That option probably is most appealing to younger workers who aren’t sure whether they want to commit to a 30-year career in civil service.
Currently, public employees must keep their jobs for five years before they vest into CalPERS or the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. If they leave before vesting, they do not receive pensions and they are not able to keep money their employers pay into the pension funds on their behalf.
Glazer’s bill would require public agencies to match employee contributions to 401(k) plans. The employees would keep the money if they leave civil service.
After five years, the employee could choose to join CalPERS instead of keeping the 401(k) plan, under Glazer’s proposal. That would make sense for workers who decide they like civil service and want to accrue long-term retirement benefits through the state’s pension plan.
“This program doesn’t undercut the existing CalPERS program,” Glazer said. “It offers as an option to new employees and arguably will help the hiring of new employees because of the potential flexibility to take that retirement savings with them” if they leave civil service.
The University of California began offering a similar option to new employees in 2016. It proved popular, with 37 percent of new UC employees choosing a 401(k) option over a state pension between July 2016 and January 2018, a UC spokeswoman said.
California pension plans tend to reward long careers in civil service. It takes 20 years for teachers beginning their careers at age 25 to come out ahead with a state pension instead of a fully matched 401(k) plan, according to a 2016 CalSTRS study.
On the whole, the study found, teachers are better off with pensions. It estimated that 86 percent of the state’s K-12 educators would earn higher retirement incomes with their pensions than they would have received with a 401(k) style plan.
Glazer said offering the 401(k) plan now would demonstrate to the public that lawmakers are serious about addressing the state’s pension debts. Today, both CalPERS and CalSTRS are riding a strong stock market to high returns, but they are both considered underfunded because they do not have enough assets to pay all of the benefits they owe to their members.
Several city governments that do not belong to CalPERS already offer 401(k) plans, including Orinda, where Glazer resides. San Diego voters in 2012 passed a ballot initiative that did away with pensions for most new city employees, instead offering them 401(k) plans.
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa this week submitted a separate package of bills that would make it easier for local governments to break from CalPERS without paying crippling termination fees and allow CalPERS to suspend the cost of living adjustments it pays to its pensioners. Moorlach submitted similar bills last year.
Reporting sexual harassment: Lawmakers work to protect accusers
At the California Capitol, there is fear and uncertainty about sexual harassment and how to define it.
“What is sexual harassment?” asked Laura Friedman, chair of the Joint Committee on Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response.
In a Capitol hearing Thursday, Friedman, a Glendale assemblywoman said, “I think there’s a lot of anxiety across the country about what is acceptable and what’s not acceptable. I feel like we’re getting to a place here at the Capitol where people are afraid.”
California lawmakers are grappling with how to hold members accountable for bad behavior.
Four members of the Legislature have either resigned or temporarily left the building following allegations of sexual harassment on the job.
Cristina Garcia, a Bell Gardens Assemblywoman, was accused by four anonymous former staffers of creating a hostile work environment. In a letter, the workers stated, “Ms. Garcia often spoke, if not bragged, about her sexual activity. She would describe various sex acts in uncomfortable detail.”
Garcia, the Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, is also known as an advocate for the #MeToo movement. She has taken a voluntary unpaid leave of absence, pending an investigation of the allegations surrounding her.
In a statement on Twitter, Garcia said, “I am confident I have consistently treated my staff fairly and respectfully.”
Thursday’s hearing focused on the conflict between holding members accountable without first having a fair hearing.
“Fact-finding becomes more challenging when it’s done anonymously,” said Assembly Rules Chair Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova. “But, you need accountability.”
But for lawmakers, that is a challenge.
State Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa, a member of the Joint Committee on Rules, asked, “I’m just curious how we address the balance in here so we take care of the creeps, but we don’t have all these scarlet letters that follow people for the rest of their lives when they are innocent?”
Lawmakers are planning more hearings, one on Feb. 26 and several others in March, before having final recommendations ready in April with new guidelines on reporting sexual harassment.
|Rank||City||Population||UNP||UNP Per||Year of|
|241||Angels City/ Angels Camp||4,020||($182)||($45)||2016|
|232||El Paso de Robles||31,745||($681)||($21)||2016|
|223||San Juan Capistrano||36,262||($204)||($6)||2016|
|215||South El Monte||20,862||$452||$22||2015|
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