Cutting down the cost of workers’ benefits for The City is one of Mayor Ed Lee’s top priorities during his one-year term.
During a San Francisco Examiner’s editorial board meeting Wednesday, Lee spent some time talking about the big pension and health benefit cost problem, even saying it would “kill us” if the costs were not reined in.
Lee went on to say how The City must act quickly with a ballot measure for June. For June? There’s been a lot of talk about a November ballot measure but June?
“I wish very, very strongly to work with the Board of Supervisors to have a united effort here and to make every attempt to have a unified ballot measure that will go on in June,” Lee said. “We have to get something together by March.”
“It will be tough to meet a June deadline. We are on track to be able to put together a November ballot measure.” Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for a number of labor union groups in talks with The City about a measure, told the San Francisco Examiner when asked about a June measure.
So the San Francisco Examiner double-checked with Lee’s spokeswoman Christine Falvey. She said Lee “misspoke.”
Lee had said during the meeting The City had to act “in a hurry, because the numbers are great. The leak is fairly serious. It’s an increase in employer contributions of over $100 million each year.” Lee said he is also concerned about health care costs increasing by $10 million next year for active workers and $16 million for retirees.
“You add that all up you are talking a really big crack in this dam that’s more than just a finger plug. It’s huge,” Lee said.
While he did not talk about specific proposals, he said everyone should contribute more, retirees, new hires and active workers.