San Jose City Workers File Lawsuits to Overturn Unlawful Pension Measure
Suits allege breach of contract clause and vested rights doctrine
SAN JOSE, Calif., June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- San Jose Police Officers' Association and San Jose Fire Fighters, Local 230 filed separate lawsuits in Santa Clara County Superior Court yesterday seeking to block the implementation of San Jose's Measure B which makes unlawful changes to employee pensions, health care and disability benefits.
Both lawsuits can be found at www.protectsanjose.com.
"Measure B is unlawful and unconstitutional," said Christopher Platten, legal counsel for San Jose Fire Fighters, Local 230. "It impairs decades old promises made to current and retired San Jose employees."
In addition to the lawsuits filed by police officers and fire fighters, the City of San Jose quietly filed for declaratory relief in federal court before the voting polls closed on Tuesday. The City is seeking to determine if the benefit changes they proposed to the voters are actually legal.
"The City of San Jose is asking the courts to thumb their nose at nearly 70 years of California case law with Measure B," said Gregg Adam, legal counsel for the San Jose Police Officers' Association. "Our request to the court is simple, to uphold the law and ensure that promises made to employees are promises kept."
San Jose's Measure B forces current employees to either reduce the pensions that were promised to them or pay considerably more money to keep their current pensions. Based on the provisions in Measure B, police officers and fire fighters could be forced to pay over 40% of their salaries for their pensions.
"Mayor Chuck Reed wants our police officers and fire fighters to put their lives in harm's way, at the same time his Measure B virtually eliminates disability retirement benefits for us," said Jim Unland, President of the San Jose Police Officers' Association. "The message to cops is clear, put your life on the line, but if you get injured while protecting us, you're on your own."
Upon filing the lawsuits, the legal counsel for San Jose's police officers and fire fighters were contacted by the City's attorneys, informing them that the City will not be immediately implementing Measure B because the City has yet to figure out how to implement Measure B and is unclear as to whether all the provisions of Measure B are in fact legal.
"While Mayor Reed talks a good game about the city saving money with Measure B, it will not save San Jose taxpayers one dime," said Robert Sapien, President, San Jose Fire Fighters, Local 230. "The Mayor and his allies had an opportunity to save hundreds of millions of dollars with our pension proposals. Unfortunately, he'd rather spend millions of dollars on lawyers and grandstand."
Earlier this year the San Jose Police Officers' Association and San Jose Fire Fighters, Local 230 made pension proposals that would legally reduce the cost of pensions, increase the retirement age and create a second tier pension benefit for new employees. Police officers and fire fighters guaranteed the City savings in their offer by promising to cut their pay if their proposal fell short of savings goals. The City rejected the offer.
SOURCE San Jose Fire Fighters, Local 230Back to top