State Supreme Court refuses to hear case involving Sonoma County pension hikes

The California Supreme Court has decided not to hear a legal appeal from a retired Santa Rosa attorney who argued Sonoma County government pension increases approved nearly two decades ago should be invalidated.

The state Supreme Court notified parties Wednesday it wouldn’t consider the suit filed by George Luke in Sonoma County in 2017, according to online court records. A Sonoma County Superior Court judge ruled in the county’s favor in August 2018, as did a state appellate court in December 2019.

County attorneys and the county grand jury separately found in 2012 that officials did not meet public notice requirements when the Board of Supervisors in the early 2000s approved enhanced retirement benefits.

The county’s rebuttal to Luke’s legal challenge was that a procedural error shouldn’t be grounds to void the upgraded pensions received or promised to thousands of current and future county retirees.

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