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City Of San Jose, Unions Remain Far Apart On Pension Reform

SAN JOSE (KCBS) - The San Jose City Council has started studying a pension reform proposal from five of its unions. The concessions would save the city almost a half-million dollars over 5 years.

Mayor Chuck Reed calls it a good start, but said it doesn't go nearly far enough.

"Our target requires savings of $216 million a year," he explained. "In order to do that, that's the basis of our fiscal reform plan, it's the basis of the ballot measure we're going to put in front of voters in March."

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

Police Officers' Association president George Beattie warned that the ballot measure, which would give the city more power to make changes to pension plans, would be challenged in court.

"They make a promise to us, hey you come be a police officer for 25 or 30 years, we'll pay you a good wage but at the end of your career we're going to reward you with a nice pension and benefit package. And now, some of us, like myself, I've got less than two years to go, you're reneging on the contract you made with us," Beattie argued.

"We believe it's illegal," he opined about the ballot measure. "If that happens, it's going to take two, three, four years for the courts to decide what the outcome of the case will be. In the meantime, there's no savings."

San Jose is facing a $90 to $115 million budget shortfall in the next fiscal year.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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