The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 7, 2011
Modesto residents take up pension reform proposals

Watch Modesto for an indication of the public's mood about public pension "reform." Residents of the Central Valley city on Tuesday consider three ballot measures that sound a lot like retirement changes proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and others rolled out last week by the California Pension Reform group.

Measures Q, R and S, written by city councilman and mayoral candidate Brad Hawn, are non-binding advisory measures, but they would gauge the direction that that residents in the Stanislaus County seat think their officials should take labor negotiations.

Measure Q asks whether the city should transition from traditional defined benefit pensions for employees to defined contribution plans common in the private sector. Measure R asks whether the city should jettison the single-year salary factor for pension calculations in favor of a three-year salary average. Measure S asks voters to weigh in on increasing the minimum retirement age, which for most city employees is 55. Police officers and firefighters can start drawing pensions at age 50.

Click here for the measures' ballot language. Click here for the Stanislaus County sample ballot. Analyses and statements for and against Q, R and S start on PDF page 36.

Labor has launched local ads against the measures, including the one above that criticizes pushing back the retirement age for police.

Hat tip to Blog User S for alerting us to the union ad.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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