Santa Rosa winemaker Ken Churchill, an advocate of overhauling public workers’ pensions, has jumped into the race to replace Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire.
Cities and counties need to move quickly to stem rising retirement costs before they overwhelm budgets to the point where it becomes impossible to deliver routine services, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed told the Sonoma County Taxpayers Association on Thursday.
Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday appointed a leader in the Sonoma County Taxpayers Association to the board that runs the county public pension system, despite complaints from labor groups that his organization is hostile to union interests.
Several Sonoma County politicians who rely on labor union support are coming out early against a proposed statewide ballot measure that could dramatically overhaul public employee pensions.
Sonoma County has reached a tentative labor agreement with sheriff’s deputies that includes reduced pension costs for taxpayers and increased county contributions toward employee medical expenses.
Sonoma County’s pension system has hired as its new top administrator an official with the much larger and more politically embattled Orange County government retirement fund.
Santa Rosa and its firefighters have reached a tentative, nearly three-year labor agreement calling for them to receive salary increases totaling 4.5 percent but also requiring them to pay 12 percent toward their pensions by 2015.
Officials of Sonoma County’s emerging public power agency sparred Thursday while setting compensation packages for a pair of new hires, splitting over appropriate pay for the posts and how salaries and benefits at the agency would compare to other public entities.
Santa Rosa’s pension costs are set to soar by about $12 million over the next six years as it is forced to pay higher rates by a state pension system trying to come to grips with a massive gap between its assets and what it owes current and future retirees.