Tag Archives: Phil Kamlarz


Council faces tough decisions on unfunded liabilities

Mayor Bates: "people will need to start contributing"
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The Berkeley City Council special session on the $310 million — or higher — unfunded liability on promised employee benefits revealed the difficult choices faced by the city.

A presentation by budget manager Teresa Berkeley-Simmons made the root of the problem clear. The California Public Employee Retirement System (Calpers) assumed annual investment returns of 7.75%. The crash of the Great Recession in 2008 meant that returns in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 were negative 24%, producing an annual loss against assumptions of 31.75%. For Berkeley’s city employees, that has produced investment losses of $200 million.

“We can’t grow our way out of this,” Berkeley-Simmons said.

“Even if Calpers gets 7.75% forever now, they have lost $200 million on which we’ll never get 7.75%,” explained City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan.

City Manager Phil Kamlarz said the money to close the gap has to come from either increased contributions or a reduction in cash available for city services, or some combination of the two. Long term, the gap can be closed by reduced benefits for new employees, but that does little in the short and medium term.

“Rather than cut services, people are asking employees to contribute more,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “That’s the path we have to go down. People will need to start contributing more. It’s unfortunate, but they’re lucky to have a job.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley may pay for sex-change surgeries

The City Council currently meets in the Maudelle Shirek building but is looking for new meeting space.
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City employees who want to get sex-change surgery may soon get funds for the operation from their employer.

The City Council will consider tonight setting aside $20,000 a year to assist those who want to change their genders. The money will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In order to be eligible for the funds, city employees will have had to “successfully lived and worked within the desired gender role full time for at least 12 months (real life … Continue reading »

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City annual report highlights budget challenges

FY 2011 All Funds Budget Pie
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Phil Kamlarz, Berkeley’s long-serving city manager, stresses the budgetary challenges Berkeley faces in the city’s annual report, issued this week.

The city works on a biennial budget cycle, but the stresses of the current economic crisis have meant that the budget is subjected to regular revision. At the beginning of this year, in the middle of the current two-year cycle, the city had projected a $16 million deficit for the 2011 fiscal year. That would have required … Continue reading »