While many of the pension reform plans out there call for fixed employee contributions towards pensions and benefits, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s approach to solving the city’s pension problems are a bit different.

He’s tying employee contributions to the economic conditions in the city. What that means is that in the good years, like the economic boom of the 1990s and early 2000s when the city wasn’t contributing to pension plans, employee contributions would be lower. In tough times, the rate would increase. The plan calls for contributions to be set each year.

While the Mayor’s office hasn’t released the maximum that employees would have to pay, it is likely higher than the city’s employees unions care to give. The head of the union said that he wishes they spent more time investigating the problem before proposing the solution.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

San Francisco’s generous public employee benefits would become notably less so under a draft plan Mayor Ed Lee rolled out Thursday in an attempt to rein in the city’s spiraling retirement costs.

City workers’ pension contributions would rise and fall with the economic climate, the retirement age would be raised for new hires, and workers would pay a portion of their salaries for health care under a tentative plan city officials presented to unions Thursday. Lee hopes to reach a compromise to serve as the basis for a November ballot measure, but at least some union officials were disappointed with the proposal.

“I think they’re overreaching, and I told them that, but we need to spend some time and analyze this,” said Bob Muscat, who chairs an umbrella group of city unions. “They’re asking for higher active employee (pension) contributions than I think anybody is prepared to make.”

Read the full article here.