Measure L, Pension Reform

The initiative, if voters approve it, will set the retirement age for city employees at age 60. The current retirement age is 55. The change in retirement age would not apply to current city employees but only to those who are hired after the measure takes effect (if it is approved), and it would not apply to the city's police officers, who would continue to be treated under the old rules. Under Menlo Park's current rules, an employee can receive 2.7% of his or her salary for each year of service up to 30 at age 55 with a cap of 81%. The initiative will, instead, allow a city employee to earn up to 60% percent of an employee’s salary at age 60 or 2% at 60 for 30 years of service. 

This is a reasonable and fair approach to take, both for the City and future employees.  The current City Council also negotiated these two terms to be included in new contracts with one of the unions that represent city employees in May, 2010, to take effect in 2011.

The Menlo Park Pension Reform Initiative is one of several pension-reform ballot measures appearing on the November 2, 2010 ballot in communities around the state.

There are many ways to tackle unsustainable pension payments, such as addressing the issue of pension spiking or contribution amounts.  San Jose and San Francisco, CA, are also looking at ballot measures this year to address the problems of unsustainable pensions.  In San Francisco, it was the Public Defender, Jeff Adachi, who led the signature drive to put pension reform on the ballot.  

However, pension reform must take place at the State level to really be effective.