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Manager of L.A. city employee pension fund to resign

October 8, 2010 |  2:17 pm

The head of Los Angeles' civilian retirement fund has announced her impending departure, just as city officials are trying to get control of spiraling pension costs that threaten to reduce the amount of services provided to taxpayers.

Sally Choi will step down Oct. 15 from her position as general manager of the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System, which represents 43,000 active and retired civilian city workers. A news release from the pension system said Choi, an 18-year veteran of City Hall, is leaving to "pursue other opportunities."

The departure comes two months after pension advisers informed the City Council that retirement costs for city employees could consume nearly one-third of the city’s general fund by 2015. That fund pays for basic services such as public safety and parks.

Since then, city officials have been looking to reduce the amount of pension benefits provided to newly hired civilian and public safety employees. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is looking to place on the March municipal election ballot a measure that would roll back the size of retirement benefits provided to newly hired police and firefighters. Pension payments to sworn public safety employees must be approved by voters.

Choi's impending departure also comes two weeks after Department of Transportation general manager Rita Robinson, a 33-year veteran of city government, announced her decision to take a job with Los Angeles County government.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall