|The City of Chula Vista took another step toward comprehensive pension reform today. The City's unrepresented employees â€“ senior manager, professional and unclassified positions, including non-represented police captains and fire deputy chiefs â€“have all voluntarily agreed to pay the employee share of their CalPERS retirement plans beginning January 1, 2011. The 84 positions will experience an 8 â€“ 9% cut in compensation.
"This is another example of civil servants who truly value the services this organization provides to the community. While the City has continued to grow, we've continued to cut positions these past four years. We are now at 1987 staffing levels. This group of employees is working harder with less â€“ less resources, less staff and now less pay. It is not easy for anyone to take a reduction in pay during this difficult economic time, but they are making the sacrifice because it is that important," said City Manager, Jim Sandoval.
Last week, the Mayor, City Council, and executive staff, reported they would forego their employee share of their retirement plans. Now with the non-represented employees joining the effort, the contributions total to over $850,000 in taxpayer savings.
Non-represented employees are positions that are not unionized. These positions can be found in every department throughout the organization. Job titles range from Assistants to Technicians to Analysts to Managers.
"We are exhausting every possible option in an effort to balance the budget. Pension reform must be a component as we strive to weather this fiscal crisis. It is painful to realize without all employees participation and sacrifice, we will be forced to implement budget cuts that will affect the core of this organization and, more importantly, the vital services we provide to our residents," said Sandoval.
The City's forecasted budget shows at least a projected $12.5 million shortfall for the next fiscal year. The deficit does not account for the potential loss of Telecommunications Users' Tax (TUT). A ballot measure to modernize the TUT language and definition is on the November 2 ballot. The initiative, known as Prop H, if approved would secure the existing revenues which range from $5 to $6 million annually. Should Prop H ballot measure fail at the voting booth, the City could be facing a budget shortfall of $18.5 million come July 1, 2011. A shortfall of that magnitude would result in the loss of over 150 positions and vital services provided to the public. Entire departments and programs could be eliminated.
On October 5, staff will present the recommended budget reduction plan at a City Council Workshop. If endorsed by City Council, implementation of the reductions could begin as early as January of 2011. The meeting is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers located at 276 Fourth Avenue.