MAYOR'S CRUSADE TO REFORM PENSIONS WILL HEAT UP SOON
By Steven Tavares
After a little more than a month on the job, it is becoming clear observers need to examine San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy’s words for nuance.
Cassidy described a conversation last month at the recent U.S. Mayors’ Conference in Washington, D.C. The remarks led Cassidy into a brief discussion Feb. 7 on pension reform that both hinted at his perceived superior knowledge of the issue and a warning to keep the issue private among the council.
“There’s a continuity to this [problem] and we need to address it here,” Cassidy told the council. ”It is something that we’re looking down the road in terms of a presentation on the city’s pension responsibilities-- retirement, health care. We’ll have a presentations so we can all be on the same page factually and take it from there on what types of decisions we’ll be making and conversations internally.”
It’s a couple of sentences unlikely to cause political indigestion among the council, at first hearing, but illustrates Cassidy’s well-known surliness towards divergent opinions. By alluding to a certain set of facts (presumably incorrect in his eyes) regarding pension reform among some councilmembers, he again is showing a predictable reliance on attacking his opponent's competence rather than currying favor towards his aims and beliefs.
Cassidy, who ran on a platform of having city employees pay more for their pensions to close the city’s $3 million deficit, appears to have little support among the council, at this point. His statement of “internal” conversations also flies in the face of constant references to government transparency made during the campaign and in his first month in office.
Ostensibly, keeping discourse unflattering to the mayor’s plan for pension reform under wraps is a good way to save face, but when sly comments disparaging your colleagues' understanding of an issue are made publicly by Cassidy, it really is not difficult to find one of them willing to detail the inner-workings of city government especially when it comes to detailing his impetus in procuring a majority of opinion.
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