[The following information was taken from an announcement issued by Councilmember Englander's office Tuesday].
Important Actions in City Council Today…
I am sending out this special announcement because there were several items in today’s City Council meeting that are highly important to the lives of people in our community, and I wanted to make sure that you knew my position and my actions.
Vote Against Department of Water and Power Rate Increases…
Today, I voted against the proposed DWP rate increase because both the independent report by PA Consulting and the Ratepayer Advocate (RPA) had about a dozen recommendations that have yet to be initiated or prioritized, including disparities between the salaries of DWP employees and employees of other utilities, pension reform, and the Department’s ability to reduce overtime costs.
While I voted against the rate increase, I commend the work of our new Ratepayer Advocate, Dr. Fred Pickel and the DWP General Manager Ron Nichols for making tremendous strides in transparency and outreach to the community and businesses. These are important first steps, and much more needs to be done.
I also recognize the important progress the DWP has made with respect to environmental and regulatory compliance, water and energy conservation, and badly needed infrastructure upgrades.
While I voted against the rate increase, I did vote in favor of implementing and prioritizing the RPA and PA Consulting’s recommendations to reform the DWP.
Bringing Pension Reform to City of L.A….
I was proud to vote for meaningful pension reform today. I have advocated for pension reform for years, and when I ran for office I heard from countless community members that bringing real change to our City pension system was crucial to the City’s financial health and its ability to provide the services they depend on.
Every dollar that we save on pensions today is a dollar that we can spend on core services: Police, Fire, streets, sidewalks, tree trimming, parks, and libraries.
We estimate that the proposed new pension tier will save the taxpayers $30 million to $70 million over a 5 year period; $169 million to $309 million over 10 years; and $3.9 billion to $4.3 billion over 30 years.
The Basics of the Pension Reform Proposal
1. Moving the retirement ages up from 55 to 65 years to reflect trends that people are living longer and able to work longer.
2. Lowering the maximum retirement factor from 2.16% to 2% per year of service.
3. Capping the maximum retirement allowance at 75% of an employee's final compensation instead of up to 100%.
4. Eliminating pension spiking by setting an employee's pension on a 3-year salary average rather than one year.
5. Modifying disability retirement benefits to avoid spikes in the number of disability retirements.
6. Eliminating the current 50% survivor continuance benefit and providing employees with an option to purchase a continuance for their surviving spouse or domestic partner.
7. Capping future retiree annual cost-of-living adjustments to 2% with the option for the employee to purchase up to 3% and eliminating the COLA bank.
8. Requiring employees to pay the full cost of purchasing service credit and setting a maximum of 4 years that they can purchase.
9. Controlling retiree healthcare costs by limiting the benefit to retirees only.
Significantly, the proposed new pension tier includes a cost sharing element, requiring employees to contribute a portion of their salary at 75% of the normal cost of the pension benefit plus 50% of any future unfunded liabilities. This will relieve the City from carrying 100% of future pension cost increases.
I will continue to fight for additional, meaningful pension and healthcare reform efforts.
- Mitchell Englander, Councilmember, Twelfth District