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Smart Voter
San Diego County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Proposition G
Retirement Benefits
City of Carlsbad

Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 23,998 / 64.3% Yes votes ...... 13,335 / 35.7% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the Charter of Carlsbad, California be amended to add Section 502 Retention of Benefits limiting increases in safety retirement benefits without an amendment to this section?

The Charter of the City of Carlsbad would be amended by adding the following section.

Section 502 Retention of Benefits.

Safety employees hired on or after October 4, 2010 (the effective date of the ordinance amending the City's Contract with CaIPERS to create a second tier of retirement benefits for safety employees) shall not have their retirement benefit formula (commonly known as the 2% at 50 years of age formula) increased without an amendment to this section. The City Council may reduce this formula as provided in state law without an amendment to this section.

Fiscal Impact:
Should Proposition G be adopted by the electorate, any increase in the safety employee retirement formula will require the holding of a general or special election. The costs of placing this matter on the ballot were approximately $35,000. A future election could cost more depending on voter turnout. A special election would cost between $450-$500 thousand since it would not be combined with a statewide election.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
If you vote yes, you wish the City Charter to be amended by requiring a future vote of the electorate if safety employees' retirement benefits are increased.

A NO vote on this measure means:
If you vote no, you do not wish the City Charter to be amended to require a vote of the electorate to increase the safety employee retirement formula.

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
THE WAY IT IS NOW: Public employees in Carlsbad are covered by contract under the Public Employees' Retirement Law (Government Code 20000, et seq.). This law is administered by the Board of Administration of the Public Employees' Retirement System ("CaIPERS"). State employees are automatically covered and local governments may cover their employees through contracts with CaIPERS. Carlsbad has done so for its safety employees (police and fire employees) and their retirement benefits under this contract are calculated using a formula commonly known as the "3% at 50" formula. This means that the safety employees may retire at 50 years of age with a defined benefit of 3% of their single highest year of salary for each year of service. Effective October 4, 2010, the City Council amended the contract with CalPERS to provide an estimated $2.1 million in savings over the next 10 years by providing that safety employees hired after that date shall have their retirement benefits calculated using the "2% at 50" formula. A safety employee who retires at age 50 will have his or her retirement benefits calculated at 2% for every year of service, increasing to a maximum of 2.7% at age 55 multiplied by the highest average salary over a 3 year period.

THE PROPOSAL: On July 27, 2010, the City Council resolved to place Proposition G on the ballot which would amend the City Charter so that increases in this benefit formula would require an affirmative vote of the electorate. The benefits could be reduced according to law by the City Council without a vote of the electorate.


A potentially misleading mailer by the Carlsbad Firefighters Legislative Action Group implies the League of Women Voters is opposing Proposition G. Please note the League of Women Voters has not taken a position supporting or opposing this proposition.
News and Analysis

San Diego U-T

North County Times Partisan Information

North County Times

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Arguments For Proposition G Arguments Against Proposition G
Ten years ago, Carlsbad, along with most of the state, increased pension benefits to its employees. Due to stock market losses and increased pension benefits, the retirement plan for our safety employees is now only 65 percent funded. This budgetary shortfall has the potential to crowd out other critical public services, including parks and libraries.

Over the last three years, 2007 - 2009, the City has paid over $48 million into the CaIPERS retirement program, while the employees have only paid $1.5 million into their retirement portion. This must change, because the City cannot afford this type of expense.

A "yes" vote means that taxpayers - not politicians - should decide if pension benefits should be increased to secure and retain a professional work force. The current system is broken. Carlsbad has always been aggressive and at the forefront of change. We are Carlsbad - proud of our City - vote "YES" on Prop G.

Mayor Pro Tem

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The Argument that we must pass Proposition G to effect change does not hold water as the only intent is to kill the power of future Councils to reduce, freeze or increase employee benefits. Prop G does not change or lower employee pension benefits at all. Instead, it ties the hands of future Councils and passes the buck to the voters who will be forced to make those tough decisions regarding employee pensions.

The current system is a good one because it allows for changes as needed. A NO vote on Prop G will enable future elected officials to do the job for which we elect them. That is to make decisions for problems that arise on their watch. Again. Prop G does not change or lower pension benefits at all. It only passes the problem on to us, the voters. We must defeat this proposition. Please join me in voting NO on Proposition G.

Argument against the City of Carlsbad proposed Charter Amendment, Proposition G

This amendment allows voters to decide whether any future increases in the public safety pension benefit formula will be subject to voter approval. The measure will require a simple majority to pass.

The current bargaining process between the City and its employees allows both sides to make changes to salary and benefits when appropriate. In tough economic times, salaries and benefits are reduced to equate with changes in the private sector. Similarly, in times of growth, the City can survey its neighbors and make the necessary adjustments to guarantee it draws the best applicants.

This proposition essentially creates larger government. Charter amendments such as this allow your elected officials to pass their responsibility onto others. Voting NO on Prop G will require City Council to effectively and efficiently carry out their duties as an Elected Officials and how it relates to the future of these important fiscal matters. Make sure your elected representatives deal with the financial problems that have arisen on their watch.

Please Vote No on Proposition G


Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Proposition G simply requires voter approval before the City of Carlsbad can give certain city workers retirement benefits that are even more generous than what they currently have.

The opponents of Proposition G want you to put your trust in elected officials.

Proposition G protects the public by eliminating the power of elected officials to increase pension benefits in exchange for contributions by special interests.

Proposition G doesn't increase government. Proposition G requires the supporters of a public employee pension increase to present their case directly to the voters for approval or rejection. If the advocates of a pension increase can show that the retirement benefits currently available aren't adequate to attract or retain qualified employees, voters will approve reasonable benefit

City Council Member
City Council Member
CITY Council Member

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