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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023
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Court Won’t Reverse Decision Over City Pension Benefits

The 4th District Court of Appeals on Nov. 13 denied an appeal by City Attorney Michael Aguirre that sought to roll back increased retirement benefits approved by the city of San Diego’s retirement board in two controversial votes in 1996 and 2002.

In those votes, the City Employees Retirement System’s board, at the behest of then-City Manager Jack McGrory, did not make annual contributions to the pension fund in exchange for enhanced retirement benefits.

Aguirre lost at the Superior Court level last year, but appealed the case which he said should have returned $900 million in illegally approved benefits to the city’s treasury.

A cross complaint filed by the retirement board over prior city underfunding of employee health care benefits is pending in Superior Court.

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On Nov. 12, a city actuary told the City Council that the value of the pension fund as of Oct. 31 was $3.8 billion, down from $4.3 billion at the end of September. Heavy losses in the portfolio’s stock holdings were the main cause of the declines.

That would mean its unfunded liability, or the total amount owed to all current and future city retirees, was about $2.7 billion, or more than $1 billion more than it was earlier this year.

Rebecca Wilson, chief of staff for the retirement system, said the actuary’s numbers were not provided by the pension fund, and cannot be certified as accurate.

, Mike Allen

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