San Francisco Pension Deficit Deepens

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco’s pension fund for retired city workers is even worse off than projected. The city will have to contribute around $600 million next year to pay for pension costs.

Last year, the Civil Grand Jury caught flack from city workers’ unions for predicting that San Francisco would have to contribute 17 percent of retirees pensions. As it turns out, it’s even higher – 18 percent, according to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who sits on the City’s Retirement Board. That’s 4.5 percent higher than last year, and it’s now projected to rise to 26 percent in three years.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

”It will be the equivalent of having two San Francisco General Hospital budgets, about $650 to $700 million on the books, whereas just five years ago it was zero,” said Elsbernd.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose pension reform measure was narrowly defeated by voters last year, said that it confirms what he’s been saying.

”It’s going to bankrupt the city, there’s no question,” said Adachi. “And what’s scary is that it’s going to happen within the next four or five years.”

The pension fund is supposed to be self-sustaining, and every dollar the city has to backfill comes out of money for city services and programs

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • Lala

    pathetic…for lazy ass CITY employees…who have an awful attitude when you ask them for help…or get off hands free like Debbie Madden…destroyed people’s lives with her antics…but simply got a slap on the wrist…and no jail time! Typical!

    • Ed

      Don’t insult people. It makes you look petty and idiotic. Yes, the pension system needs to be addressed but I work with many city employees, all of whom do a good job with a professional attitude. If you have had some bad experiences, thts too bad but don’t insult a whole group of people for the actions of a few.

      • Jed


  • Zak

    So, this goes back to the original question that was asked in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2001. Where did SF put the $$ when the BOS lowered the contribution amount by the City, not only to the SF Retirement System, but to CalPERS. As one in CalPERS, working in SF, CalPERS waived the contributions from Municipalities in those years because CalPERS touted how well it was doing during the Dot.Com boom (PERS was at $345 Bln). So, for 6 years, us CalPERS employees contributed, but the City did not, like other municipalities. That would have equaled $485 Mln. Then it came to our attention, the City cut back on contributions to those in it’s own retirement system. To this day, none of the BOS can seem to answer where that money went. And we continue to blame the workers.

    • Jeb

      Intersting the city was able to find 99 million for the Asian museum pretty quickly, like pocket change. By the way did anyone look at the museums books before the 99 million dollar bail-out?

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  • John 6

    Why do we as tax payers have to pay for someone who is retired. It is the individuals job to secure his or her retirement future. I can see the employer, in this case a city, or other government agency. putting in matching funds along with the employee. The employee needs to put away funds for retirement. I say, once you retire, that’s it. I have to fund my retirement. SO SHOULD YOU!!!!!

    • Jeb

      First, do you have a 401K if so your employer contributes to your retirement. In this case the employer happens to be the Government.
      Second, it was in a contract agreed to by your local elected or appoionted officials (you know the ones Ed likes so much). Governments operate off the money made by us. Therefore we are on the hook.
      Third, Because of term limits the elected officals have no real interest in serving you or the city at large for the long term. Unions are contributers and the treaditional voters in a district only have to pleased once every couple of years. Supervisors have a two term life time and the electorates memory is less than two months.
      Fourth, ranked voting the way it is done locally ensures bad governance, you can never have a real majority leader. You must always appeal to the lowest comon denominator. Regardless how you felt about Perata (personally didn’t support him) he lost because the runner up appealed to the lowest instincts. “anyone but Perata” she didn’t say why or what she would do for the majority of Oakland residents. The thirty second sound bite has been reduced to the two second twitter, so she got the twit vote.

  • Roger Craig

    We taxpayers should not have to pay for them. They are a bunch of crooks from former Mayor Newsom to the city workers that do not want to give back.
    Hope we go Bankrupt as this city needs to remove a bunch of lazy cronies that give away it all to their buddies and it is the rich here who run the city and thier special interest.

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