Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sept. 29 signed legislation designed to provide the Unified Port of San Diego with the authority to use an alternate system for retirement and disability services.
The current law, the San Diego Port District Act of 1962, allows the port to either contract with the State Public Employees Retirement System, or through a city within the Port District that has a retirement system. The port is contracted with the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System, the city’s ailing retirement plan.
This bill, introduced by Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, D-San Diego, amends the law by creating a third option for the port, allowing it to withdraw from the city’s retirement system and establish an independent system for providing services.
The port has 600 employees and 200 retirees, with a retirement fund of about $141 million. According to Ducheny’s office, this bill gives the port the ability to secure “a stable, alternative retirement system” for its employees should the funding crisis with SDCERS not be resolved in a way that satisfies the port.
“The heart of the bill is flexibility,” said Ducheny. “It allows the port another option to protect the financial well-being of its employees. And, it ensures that employees who have long invested in their future will be able to enjoy greater peace of mind when it comes to their retirement options. We’re simply adding another tool, an opportunity to preserve retirement security if the options they have now don’t provide for an adequate retirement system.”