The City Council will consider a resolution next Tuesday that will eliminate pension benefits and make retiree medical benefits impossible for all future elected officials in Concord.
Under the current system, any full-time city employee who works for 5 years (elected officials are consider full-time city employees) qualifies for a pension and retiree medical benefits.
Ad Hoc Council Committee
Sporadic public criticism of Council members qualifying for these same benefits prompted the Council to create an Ad Hoc committee to investigate how to end them.
The Ad Hoc Council Committee was informed by staff that state law prevents the City Council from changing their own salary or benefits between elections – they can only make changes that take effect after the next election. Further, state law and California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) regulations prevent the City from making changes apply retroactively (to the current or former elected officials.)
To eliminate the pension benefit going forward the Council will create a new employee group “Newly Elected Officials” and make them ineligible for CalPERS pension benefits. Anyone newly elected on or after the November 2014 election will be in this new employee group.
To achieve the goal of eliminating the retiree medical benefit the Council will limit the eligibility of the “Newly Elected Officials” employee group to those members who have served a minimum of 30 consecutive years as an elected official with the City of Concord and who retire from the City of Concord as an elected official at the minimum age of 65. If these two new hurdles don’t prevent someone from qualifying (and they certainly will) the actual costs to taxpayers will be reduced by the fact that the amazingly loved and constantly reelected official will be on Medicare by age 65.
The Council is likely to adopt the resolution on Tuesday and direct staff to return to them in September with the appropriate paperwork so these changes can be effective ahead of the November election and apply to future officeholders.