Bankrupt San Bernardino Will Resume Payments to Calpers

San Bernardino will resume paying into the California Public Employees’ Retirement System in July, ending an almost yearlong hiatus that began when it entered bankruptcy last August, according to a spokeswoman for the fund.

The city’s obligation to the largest U.S. pension, known as Calpers, is $25.5 million for fiscal 2013, which ends June 30, according to fund data. While that’s just 0.3 percent of all employer contributions to the system, fund and city documents show it’s about 21 percent of San Bernardino’s revenue.

San Bernardino has told Calpers that its payments will resume with the start of fiscal 2014 on July 1, said Amy Norris, a fund spokeswoman. Officials in the city of 213,000 haven’t indicated how they will come up with the $10.2 million already owed, she said by e-mail. The stopped payments raised concerns at the retirement system, which objected to the bankruptcy.

City Manager Allen Parker and Jim Morris, Mayor Patrick Morris’s son and chief of staff, didn’t immediately respond to telephone messages requesting comment on the payment resumption.

Stockton, California, the largest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy protection, continued to make payments to Calpers. The $256.6 billion fund has more than 1.6 million members and provides benefits to about 551,600 retirees.

Calpers formally objected to San Bernardino’s bankruptcy filing, arguing that city officials made “irresponsible and short-sighted” decisions that led to the fiscal predicament.

The bankruptcy case is In re San Bernardino, 12-28006, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California (Riverside).

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