The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 14, 2013
From the notebook: Fighting heats up over pension reform law

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Our story in today's Bee examines union lawsuits against a handful of pension fund boards in the so-called "1937 Act Counties" that aren't in the CalPERS system. It's difficult to draw any sweeping conclusions from the lawsuits because the details of each vary and the 20 counties with their own pension boards have different rules when counting pensionable income.

Labor unions aren't sitting still for trimming what types of compensation go into the pension calculations for members who were in the system before the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act kicked in on Jan. 1 (specifically Assembly Bill 197, which defines pension reform rules for employees in the funds before the law took effect.)

This week California Attorney General Kamala Harris, at the direction of Gov. Jerry Brown, filed this Notice of Intent to Intervene in litigation against Alameda County's pension system, and she'll likely file similar papers soon in Contra Costa, Marin and Merced county courts, spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said, where unions sued those counties' pension boards for how they've interpreted the pension law.

To get a taste of the unions' arguments, check out this complaint against the Merced County Employees' Retirement Association:

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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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