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City of San Diego to seek U.S. Supreme Court review of ruling against move to DC plan

The San Diego City Council voted to seek U.S. Supreme Court review of a California Supreme Court ruling that struck down a 2012 state proposition that replaced the city's defined benefit plan with a defined contribution plan for new employees, said Hilary Nemchik, spokeswoman for the San Diego City Attorney's office, in an email.

The vote came in closed session on Oct. 9.

The California Supreme Court ruled in August that city officials should have conferred with union officials regarding the proposition. The proposition closed the city's defined benefit plan to employees except police officers hired on or after July 20, 2012.

The city unsuccessfully sought a rehearing of the ruling with the California Supreme Court stating the opinion failed to address First Amendment free speech rights.

Former Mayor Jerry Sanders helped to place the proposition on the ballot. The city unions argued that because Mr. Sanders was mayor when he spearheaded the initiative process, the city had the obligation to meet and confer with unions about the potential changes to their members' retirement benefits before placing it on the ballot under the state law that gave public-sector employees the right to collective bargaining.

San Diego argues the First Amendment protects the rights of Mr. Sanders to support the initiative. The unions argued the mayor's actions constituted unprotected "conduct" and that his support of the proposition resulted in a requirement that he meet and confer with the unions about it.