Detroit Ruling Unlikely To Affect San Bernardino Pensions

This week the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Michigan “ruled that the bankrupt city of Detroit can impose cuts to its municipal pensions plans.”

Political pundits and anti-public safety politicians like Mayor Pat Morris immediately touted the decision.

They believe the ruling now gives the ability to cut pension payments and retirement benefits in the City of San Bernardino.

It appears they’re getting ahead of themselves.

The law covering pensions in Michigan, isn’t the same law covering pensions in California.

According to a statement released by the California Public Employees Retirement System:

“The Detroit court failed to recognize the difference between a two party contract and the unique nature of a state public employee retirement system, which creates a three-way relationship among a public agency, its employees and the retirement system. In California, our members’ vested rights to their pensions are protected by the California constitution, statutes and case law.

“Unlike Detroit, CalPERS is not a city pension plan. CalPERS is an arm of the state and was formed to carry out the state’s policy regarding public employees. The Bankruptcy Code is clear that a federal bankruptcy court may not interfere in the relationship between a state and its municipalities. The ruling in Detroit is not applicable to state public employee pension systems like CalPERS.”

While Mayor Pat Morris and his anti-public safety cronies on the City Council would like nothing more than decimate the retirements of San Bernardino’s fire fighters and police officers, the Detroit ruling isn’t going to make that automatically happen.