Update From Ann Smith Re Pension Litigation and the August 6th Court Hearing
I trust you all remember the pension litigation despite its diminished profile now that Mr. Aguirre has been removed from office. I am continuing to represent you in the case as we await a final judgment and thus the re-triggering of the appellate process which remains to be confronted before the attempt to take-away your pension benefits is put to final rest.
In sum, although we have prevailed to date in getting the City’s claims dismissed and a judgment entered against the City, there is no “final judgment” in the case as a whole because SDCERS and the City have not resolved the claims between them and until they do, we remain in a holding pattern. We want the final judgment to be entered which will re-trigger the appellate process – remember that Aguirre’s prior appeal on our victory was thrown out as premature – so that we can do our best to assure that Judge Barton’s decisions in our favor on the pension take-away claims are upheld by the appellate courts and the case is finally and truly “over.”
Today, the City’s motion to throw out SDCERS’ claim was argued and Judge Barton took the matter under submission. In a nutshell, SDCERS asserts that the City did not fully remedy prior pension underfunding by the McGuigan class action settlement and judgment and that more money is owed to the system due to the manner in which the payment transactions related to retiree health benefit were handled between 1997 and 2005.
On the other hand, the City asserts that no more money is owed beyond what the City committed to pay under the McGuigan judgment and remains committed to pay each year in amortizing the plan’s unfunded actuarially accrued liabilities.
If the City prevails on its motion, we will move quickly to getting a final judgment entered and begin the appellate process again – assuming the City decides to pursue an appeal (which seems likely for “political” reasons).
If the City’s motion fails, there will be a trial of SDCERS’ claim next February and we will be many months away from entry of the final judgment we need to get back to the appellate court and over the finish line.
Judge Barton will issue his final written ruling in the next few days and I will let you know the result and, thus, the likely time-line.
Meanwhile, pursuant to MEA’s new MOU, we begin our efforts on the Retiree Medical Benefit issues with a first meeting with the City set for 8/17/09.
Best regards, Ann Smith