Glen Becerra at Governor’s Roundtable

Becerra shares City’s experience of Union and Management working together for pension reform

Pension reform is a term voters will hear much about in the months ahead. Government agencies in California, from the State on down to the cities and special districts, are acutely aware of rising retirement program costs.

Gov, Schwarzenegger this month hosted a pension reform roundtable in Sacramento – and Simi Valley City Councilman Glen Becerra was invited and participated, at the suggestion of the League of California Cities. See the Ventura County Star article.

Glen’s invitation to serve the roundtable was good news for Simi Valley, and excellent timing by the Governor. The City of Simi Valley this month ratified a new contract with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that includes precisely the type of pension reform movement the roundtable aims for.

Participation by Glen Becerra and the City of Simi Valley in the statewide debate allows Simi Valley officials to share their concern and the real impact of rising pension costs on the level of services cities can provide to their residents.

As Glen stated in the Star article, it is noteworthy that Simi Valley’s retirement contributions a decade ago totaled $1.8 million, representing about 4 percent of the entire City’s budget. Today that same cost sits at $8 million, or 15 percent of the City budget – with projections that it will hit 20 percent in the next five years.

“It will impact the quality of life for our residents,” Glen Becerra told the Star.

He added that the City’s SEIU bargaining unit was a cooperative partner in negotiating the new contract. It is important for employee groups and government agencies to work together to address the challenges, with the ultimate goal of making the government agencies more healthy financially to ensure their long-term success.

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