San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has been talking with mayors from around the country on topics ranging from pension reform to gun control at the U.S. Conference of Mayors this week in Washington, D.C.
n a phone interview this morning, Reed said the 81st national mayor's conference that kicked off Thursday provides an opportunity to discuss city issues including pension reform, which he called his No. 1 topic.
Last June, city voters approved Measure B, Reed's pension reform plan that aimed to cap retirement spending.
Reed had said the city's retirement costs tripled in the last decade to $245 million per year.
The passage of the measure was followed by a series of lawsuits, mostly from city employee unions.
Reed said many cities, including some in California, are "plagued with the same problems."
He noted there were several ballot measures last year in various cities providing different solutions to keep retirement spending in check.
This morning, Reed said a contingent of California mayors met to discuss issues that are universal throughout the state, such as legislation that required the dissolution of local redevelopment agencies last year to spare state spending, leaving in its wake uncompleted or scrapped city projects.
Vice President Joe Biden also filled in the mayors on President Barack Obama's plan to reduce gun violence, which spurred conversation about city government's role in protecting children and residents.
Reed commended the portion of Obama's proposal that would funnel in $4 billion to add 15,000 officers to departments nationwide, mostly through a federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services grant program.
"There was a lot of applause for that," he said.
He said federal support would be welcome in San Jose and that some of the police force is already funded through federal grants.
"We all would like to have more officers," Reed said. "It's particularly important in San Jose because we are understaffed."
Dozens of officers have resigned from the department since last fall, closely followed by police Chief Chris Moore's retirement this month.
Reed, who is attending Obama's inauguration ceremony on Monday, said upon his return to San Jose next week, he will put together a trip report.