pensions

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence local news review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

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Highlights:

  • The City Council will consider amended five-year contracts for public safety workers on April 29 which would go into effect in November if approved.
  • The contracts establish a trust fund for retiree health benefits. The city would pay $7.5 million into the trust fund over 10 years; workers would pay between 2 percent and 4 percent of the top step of pay for their position into the fund over the next decade.
  • The contracts also offer wage increases that would raise pay at least 9.3 percent and change pension payouts to reflect a safety retiree’s top salary, and not their top three years of pay.

Welcome to The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

A federal judge who ruled earlier this month that a bankrupt California city’s pensions can be cut like any of its other debts is set to consider a contested exit plan that doesn’t contain pension cuts on October 30.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein ruled on October 1 that Stockton’s pension obligations aren’t more sacred than any other debt the city owes, clearing the way for potential cuts. But city leaders argued in court that they don’t want to cut pensions, fearing that cuts would impact the city’s ability to retain and recruit workers.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your two-sentence news review. Here are your headlines for this week.

Alameda Unified’s pension costs could nearly triple and those of its teachers could rise by 25 percent under Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to reform the California State Teachers Retirement System, or CalSTRS.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your Alameda news in brief. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

As a two-time performer at Carnegie Hall, former honors soloist for the Colorado and Stanford Suzuki Institute, and second-place winner of the 2014 American Protégé Competition for Piano and Strings, Alameda cellist Isabelle Brown-Lyden has the resume of a professional – and she’s just 12 years old. Brown-Lyden started playing when she was 4 and performing when she was 5.

The City Council will consider approving a plan Tuesday that would establish a trust to supplement newer firefighters’ pension and retiree medical costs.

Workers would fund the supplemental retirement and health plan by paying 3 percent of their salaries into a tax-exempt trust to supplement their existing retiree medical and pension benefits. The new trust will be open to fire department employees hired after June 7, 2011.

Approval of the plan would mark a shift in the way the city handles its employee pension and retiree health benefits while helping to restore benefits newer firefighters lost in a pair of recent contract deals – albeit at the workers’ own cost.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your 60-second headline review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

Alameda schools officials are crediting new, more progressive discipline policies for a drop in suspensions and expulsions. The district has implemented restorative justice programs at Alameda, Encinal and Island high schools that focus on repairing the damage a student has done, instead of just punishing students for doing something wrong.

New assumptions about how long public workers will live, what they’ll earn and when they’ll retire are expected to mean bigger pension bills for the City of Alameda.

The California Public Employee Retirement System, or CalPERS, board voted in mid-February to adopt the new assumptions and with them, cost increases for the nearly 3,100 public agencies that pay in to the pension system, the nation’s largest. The rate increases for local agencies will be phased in over five years beginning in 2016 – instead of the 15-year track increases are on now – while the state will begin paying higher rates later this year.