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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Adachi's Latest Pension Claim Riles City Hall

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 4:40 PM

This will not go smoothly...
  • This will not go smoothly...

In a pension-related version of Martin Luther nailing 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral, Jeff Adachi took to the steps of City Hall today. But, since this is a pension-related matter, you can substitute the theses with hundreds of millions in pension obligations.

Adachi's move portends yet another pension-related bloodbath in November's election. And it outraged some of the key movers and shakers behind Mayor Ed Lee's more modest pension plan.

At issue is, in Adachi's words, a 4 percent raise awarded to police officers "in exchange for their agreement to contribute 3 percent more into their pensions." This, he says, will cost the city millions in the long run.

City controller Ben Rosenfield acknowledged that this was not a "cost-neutral" provision. But that raise was part of a massive police pay hike approved by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2007. It was something the cops were due, regardless -- and, you could argue, managing to finagle a 3 percent boost in pension payments actually reduces anticipated burdens.

Rosenfield described the raise as part of a "previous contract agreed to by a previous mayor and board. We were previously contractually obligated to give this raise."

Adds Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, Adachi is "ignoring that this pay raise was already scheduled. That salary raise was already incorporated into every retirement projection and was in the city's five-year plan already. If you accept the premise that when you enter into a contract you have to pay it out, then the city is [now] doing better than what it had been doing."

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Adachi, however, does not accept that premise. He believes the cops' promised raises should have been retroactively wiped out. "All over the country they are reopening contracts and not giving raises that were previously negotiated given the economic crisis," he says. "I just think it's crazy they're giving some of the highest-paid city employees a 4 percent wage increase. We should have required police and fire to defer their raises again as was done in the past."

Police, fire, moderate supervisors, liberal supervisors, Ed Lee, the entire labor movement -- who will Adachi alienate next? If voters embrace him in November, that may be all that matters to him.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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