One Step Closer to Helping Struggling Seniors

Board of Supervisors Places Charter Amendment Restoring Retirement Benefits for City Workers on November Ballot

During its meeting on Tuesday, July 19, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to place on the November ballot a Charter Amendment designed to right a wrong and help struggling seniors.

Because of changes to the San Francisco City Charter more than a decade ago, more than 4,500 city retirees have had their pensions unfairly compromised. These changes stripped away their supplemental Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), and forced many to live on pensions as little as $22,000 a year. Pensions for most city retirees total less than $50,000 a year making it very difficult for them to continue to live in San Francisco.

The Charter Amendment will restore the supplemental COLA benefit payments to former city workers who retired before November 6, 1996.

The Charter Amendment was sponsored by nine of the 11 supervisors.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai, lead sponsor of the Charter Amendment, spoke of the need for this amendment to right a wrong. “I think this is a long time coming,” said Safai during the Tuesday meeting. “In the history of our retirement system, we’ve never had a benefit . . . taken away. I don’t think it was fair.”

Fred Sanchez, chair of the campaign to restore retiree benefits, was very pleased with the unanimous vote from the Board of Supervisors. “Starting today, we begin the campaign and the real journey begins,” Sanchez said. “It’s going to be our job to educate the public to restore the supplemental COLA for these retirees. It’s the just and fair thing to do.

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