Although things are moving in the right direction, we ain’t there yet.
While the Contracts Clause is a key navigational star in the firmament of our Constitution and economic universe, it is subject to being eclipsed by the Bankruptcy Clause.
CalPERS has led the state, cities, counties, and other government agencies to the edge of ruin yet continues to stand in the way of pension and benefits reform.
After a 12-week trial, a Contra Costa jury ruled in favor of the city of Richmond in one of the most significant employment cases of the year.
Although the point is sometimes lost in the debate, employees also have an interest in making sure their benefits are adequately funded and jobs aren’t vaporized or employee contribution rates increased dramatically to feed the pension beast.
In its decision, the court found that “under certain limited circumstances,” a vested right to retiree health benefits may be implied into formal legislation adopted by a public agency’s governing body.
While mandatory fact-finding may further public agency understanding and goals, it’s exactly what local government didn’t need in this era of shrinking budgets.
Even though the public is increasingly interested in the workings of government, the news media simply can’t convey the issues and problems in the depth necessary to enable the public to make informed decisions.