A second California city has fallen behind on its payments to CalPERS, prompting a lawsuit by the big pension fund.
Compton owes $2.7 million to the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the pension fund said Monday.
CalPERS sued the city in Sacramento Superior Court after Compton failed to make its required payments for September.
Harold Duffey, the city manager, said Monday that Compton is experiencing a short-term cash-flow problem and expects to clear up the debt before the end of the year.
Compton has been facing significant financial problems and publicly flirted with a bankruptcy filing over the summer.
Still, Compton's troubles represent yet another challenge to CalPERS and the durability of public pensions in general, as cities cope with severe revenue shortfalls.
San Bernardino, which filed for bankruptcy protection in August, is $5.2 million behind on its payments to CalPERS.
The fund has tried to get the bankruptcy case tossed out, saying the city is using the bankruptcy law unfairly to get out of paying its bills.
In Stockton, another city in bankruptcy protection, two creditors are trying to keep the city from paying its CalPERS bills. The creditors, a pair of bond-insurance companies which are owed millions, say their claim shouldn't take a back seat to CalPERS.
Skipping payments to CalPERS, the nation's largest public pension fund, was once considered unthinkable. Vallejo considered scaling back its pension benefits after its bankruptcy filing in 2008 but backed off after getting a warning from CalPERS.
Duffey said Compton submitted a payment plan to CalPERS, promising to "catch up in December." But the pension fund filed the court case anyway.
"Contributions are required by law and if they're not paid, we do intend to pursue all obligations," said CalPERS spokeswoman Amy Norris.
The unpaid bills include payments for pensions and health insurance, she said.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Dale Kasler
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.