Healdsburg Mayor Gary Plass has raised more than $10,000 in his bid for re-election, outpacing the five other candidates combined in the City Council race, most of whom planned to collect and spend less than $1,000. To Plass, the contributions are a way to pay for the hefty cost of mailing his campaign fliers to voters, something his rivals are not doing.
If there’s a consensus in the Healdsburg City Council race, it’s that more needs to be done to rein in the cost of employee pensions. The two incumbents seeking re-election, Tom Chambers and Gary Plass, say they’ve made inroads by instituting less generous retirement packages for new employees and getting current workers to pay more toward their pension programs. But the incumbents bristle at criticism from challengers who say the savings that comes from implementing a second tier of cheaper pensions for future employees will take years to realize, and do little to address the shortfall for when current employees retire.
The Healdsburg City Council this week authorized the refinancing of some of the city’s employee pension debt, in a move estimated to save $900,000 over a decade. The City Council on a 3-0 vote approved the issuance of up to $9 million in bonds to pay off a ‘side-fund debt’ that the city owes CalPERS, the public employee retirement system.
Four people have taken out papers to run for Healdsburg City Council, including incumbents Gary Plass and Tom Chambers. Two others who plan to be on the Nov. 6 ballot are Shaun McCaffery, a mechanical engineer, and Vernon Simmons, a former Healdsburg planning commissioner. Councilman Steve Babb has decided not to seek re-election. A retired Healdsburg fire captain, he was elected two years ago to fill the unexpired term of Mike McGuire, who was elected county supervisor.