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Peskin Charter Amendment Would Challenge Pensions of Crooked City Employees

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Chrisopher Michel
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Flickr / Creative Commons
San Francisco City Supervisor Aaron Peskin

San Francisco City Supervisor Aaron Peskin wants to make it easier to withhold pensions of workers accused of breaking the law in connection with their city employment, KALW’s Johanna Miyaki has more.

Current union contracts make it very hard for a city worker in San Francisco to lose their job or pension — even when they are charged with criminal activity while performing duties as a city employee or officer. That could change, if Peskin’s charter amendment makes it on the ballot in November.

The list of bad-acting city employees collecting taxpayer funded pensions is long. Fresh on voters’ minds, may be former Department of Public Works director Mohammed Nuru. He pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge in January of this year and has been collecting close to 75-hundred dollars-a-month from the city pension fund since his arrest two years earlier.

Peskin’s amendment calls for an administrative review board that can cut off access to pensions, while criminal cases wind their way through the courts. If passed by voters, there are legal considerations that would have to be examined – beginning with The Contracts Clause.

The United States Constitution protects the vested pension rights of most public employees. It also prohibits state governments from specifically legislating to interfere with contacts as well.