Plaintiffs want signatures tossed in city pension change suit

2013-08-06T13:42:00Z 2013-08-06T13:49:25Z Plaintiffs want signatures tossed in city pension change suitPatrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Lawyers for plaintiffs in a case that would force a change to the City of Tucson employee benefits plan argued that thousands of signatures gathered in a drive to get reforms to public employee pension plans should be thrown out.

The attorneys said some of the people hired to gather the signatures were convicted of felonies and ineligible to vote in Arizona and by law could not collect signatures or engage in electioneer.

In addition, they said some of the people who worked on the petition drive gave false addresses, thereby making their affidavits improper and void.

Lawyers arguing on behalf of the Committee for Sustainable Retirement, a group that has funded much of the petition and referendum drive, said any anomalies in the petition gatherers addresses was accidental.

They also said the plaintiffs could not prove petition gatherers were ineligible and that some of those in question had their voting rights restored in the states where they were convicted of felonies.

The plaintiffs, one of whom is a city employee, are fighting a referendum drive that would force a change to non-public safety employee benefits. If passed, the city would have to move from a defined benefit type plan, where workers receive a set pension amount after they retire, to a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k)-style plan.

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