Entrance to San Diego City Hall. Photo by Chris Stone

An organization represented by City Attorney candidate Cory Briggs is suing the City of San Diego to enforce portions of the voter-approved pension reform known as Proposition B.

The California Taxpayers Action Network filed suit Monday in Superior Court against the City of San Diego, the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System, and City Attorney Mara Elliott.

The 2012 ballot measure discontinued traditional pensions for new hires, giving them less expensive 401(k)-style retirement plans typical in the private sector. However, the ballot measure was later successfully challenged in court by public employee unions.

The new lawsuit argues that despite the unions’ challenge, the provisions of the ballot measure must still be applied to elected officials.

“Even though Proposition B is applicable to city’s elected officials, multiple public officials who assumed office after Proposition B took effect have been participating in city’s defined-benefit pension system,” the lawsuit argues.

The suit also accuses Elliott in particular of “spiking” her pension over and above that to which she would have been entitled when she resigned from her position as a deputy city attorney in December 2016 in order to assume elected office.

Kevin O’Neill, president of the taxpayers group, said, “San Diego’s voters ended pension-spiking and pensions generally for elected officials back in 2012, but today’s politicians have ignored and continue to defy the will of the voters. CTAN is confident that the courts will make sure the voters’ will is honored in letter and spirit.”

A spokesman for Elliott’s re-election campaign, Dan Rottenstreich, called the lawsuit a “political stunt.”

“Cory Briggs is about seven years late to this fight, but obviously not too late to file another frivolous lawsuit,” he said. “There are numerous city officials who receive the exact same benefit Mara Elliott does, which makes clear that Briggs’ phony lawsuit is nothing more than a political stunt to garner media coverage for his desperate campaign.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.