Managers association makes contribution increase

The Costa Mesa Division Managers' Assn. — a executive team of seven at-will city employees — will contribute nearly 2% more to California's retirement fund, a moved the City Council approved during its regular meeting Tuesday night.

The motion, unanimously passed by a 5-0 vote, is estimated to save the city $35,000 and will take effect April 8, according to a city staff report. On that date, the group's members will begin paying the state's maximum statutory amount of 10.469%, up from 8.52%, into the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS.

Raja Sethuraman, CMDMA vice president, noted prior to the meeting that his association's members were following the example set in January by top city executives, who volunteered to increase their pension contributions from 31.49% to 39%, thus saving the city about $50,000 annually.

Council members applauded the measure, noting that it encourages all city employee organizations to take steps toward a direction of doing their part to save the Costa Mesa money.

"This council is methodically meeting with employee groups," Councilman Steve Mensinger said before the meeting. "Some are more helpful than others, but we think that all groups will eventually contribute to their CalPERS share of employee contributions."

The council also approved, with a 4-1 vote, a mid-year adjustment that appropriated $1,241,225 from the available fund balance to the current fiscal year's budget. Councilwoman Wendy Leece cast the dissenting vote. The breakdown of the budget adjustment includes $183,000 for the General Fund, and $900,000 to the Self Insurance Fund, meant to cover anticipated legal fees.

As requested by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer when this item first came before council on March 20, city Finance and I.T. Director Bobby Young presented an extensive review suggesting ways to offset the requested budget adjustment.

His recommendations included exploring an increase to the sales tax, business license tax and transient occupancy tax, which is for hotel/motel bills.

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