City employees keeping promise to find solution to high health care, retirement costs 

We are members of Stand Up for Working Families, a coalition of San Francisco employees that defeated Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s Proposition B in 2010. During the campaign, we pledged to seek real retirement and health care reform once the election was over.

We’ve kept that promise.

After defeating Prop. B, instead of resting on our laurels, we immediately embarked on a serious effort to come up with a sensible reform package.

To help us, we enlisted civic leaders such as Warren Hellman, business leaders from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association and Chamber of Commerce, subject-matter experts, and elected leaders such as Mayor Ed Lee and supervisors Sean Elsbernd and David Chiu.

We’re almost done. Within a matter of weeks we are confident that we are going to submit a ballot measure with the support of the mayor and supervisors that includes:

  • Significant short- and long-term retirement reform
  • Real health care solutions
  • Unprecedented contributions from city employees

Why are city employees voluntarily giving up the benefits we fought so hard to win over the years?

Because nobody has a bigger stake in making sure that The City’s government is in good financial shape than its own employees.

And although we didn’t cause the problem — Wall Street did — it’s time for employees to step up and make sure The City remains in good fiscal health.

San Francisco pension historyAlthough the average pension for 80 percent of city employees is just $30,399, we have told the mayor we’re willing to increase our own contributions from 7.5 to 11 percent, and in some cases 12 percent, to help solve the problem.

We also acknowledge that health care costs are a serious problem. Northern California has some of the highest health care costs in the U.S., and this year city employees contributed an extra $10 million to the treasury by voluntarily increasing co-pays.

But our commitment doesn’t stop there. Our new ballot measure will include health care reforms.
We believe we owe the voters of San Francisco a solution based on facts, rather than political rhetoric, and that is what we are going to deliver.

There are no quick fixes. But we are confident that by taking action now and working together, we can make sure San Francisco’s government keeps providing its residents the programs and services they rely on.

  • Thomas O’Connor represents the men and women of the San Francisco Fire Department.
  • Sean Connolly represents The City’s prosecutors, deputy city attorneys and public defenders.
  • Gary Delagnes represents San Francisco police officers.

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