San Jose, a city that has been thrust to the forefront of California’s pension reform debate, may take a somewhat softer approach to its ballot initiative.

City Manager Debra Figone has recommended that the City Council approve new language for the pension reform measure that would be fairer to employees. For one, it would cap the total amount that employees would be required to pay to cover the city’s unfunded liability. The new language would also provide more generous benefits than originally proposed in the first draft of the initiative.

According to Mayor Chuck Reed, it’s a move that demonstrates that the city is sincerely trying to work with its employees to return stability to the city’s financial footing. However, the unions say that it still asks too much from employees and is based upon reactionary and unsound facts.

From the Mercury News:

San Jose officials Tuesday called for softening a proposed June ballot measure to trim city worker pensions while acknowledging they failed to reach a deal with employee unions to slow growing retirement costs, ensuring a tough election fight that could draw national interest.

A divided City Council had approved a June ballot measure in December but held off sending it to the registrar of voters to allow for changes based on mediation talks with workers. City Manager Debra Figone said that unless the council votes to change or withdraw the ballot language, it will go to the registrar as it was approved in December.

Read the full article here.