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City of San Diego challenges constitutionality of AB 1248

The city of San Diego filed a lawsuit Thursday against the state of California, challenging the legality of Assembly Bill 1248, the city attorney's office announced.

The legal action has received unanimous support from San Diego City Council as well as three of the city's largest employee organizations.

The recently signed AB 1248 attempts to overrule part of the pension reform measure Proposition B, which was overwhelmingly adopted by voters last June.

Prop. B eliminates defined benefit pension plans for new employees in exchange for either Social Security or a 401(k)-type plan. The city and its labor unions would negotiate those options.

AB 1248, however, simply mandates Social Security, according to San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

“This lawsuit is not about Social Security or even Proposition B," he said. "It is all about local control and the right of a charter city to negotiate terms and conditions of employment with our labor unions without Sacramento dictating those terms.

“Under the California Constitution, home rule protects this right of charter cities and we will defend it against Sacramento meddling.”

The San Diego Municipal Employees Association (MEA), the city’s largest public employee union, the San Diego Firefighters IAFF Local 145, and Teamsters Local 911 support the city’s legal action.

The city and its unions have been negotiating a new retirement plan under Prop. B, which eliminated pensions for most new hires. The two sides have so far agreed on an interim 401(k)-style defined contribution plan.

The city’s labor unions have challenged Prop. B on other grounds.

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