Councilman Jerry Kern was elected in 2006. One of his first actions on council was casting the deciding vote to keep the Oceanside Municipal Airport open. “I was the swing vote that saved the airport,” Kern said. “The previous council majority (Wood, Sanchez and Shari Mackin) was trying to get the airport closed.”
Recently Kern campaigned for the city charter that passed with strong voter support. “It will save the city $3 million to $6 million on projects,” Kern said. “It’s one of the best achievements I can point to.”
For the future Kern’s eye is on the city budget.
“We need to be really cautious how we spend our money,” Kern said. “I’m fiscally conservative as far as spending. To ensure the long-term vitality and economic liability of Oceanside is my No. 1 goal.”
One area in which Kern wants to tighten the financial belt is in city costs for employee pensions. “Every employee should pay their fair share of retirement costs,” Kern said. “The public safety union contract is up for negotiations. Anything other than paying their full retirement is a sweetheart deal for those guys and gals.”
The pension issue is one that Kern will not budge on. “The bottom line is that they pay their full share,” Kern said. “Every dollar we spend on their pensions is a dollar of services we can’t provide the public.”
Kern said he faced and defeated a union-driven recall because of his firm stand against city paid pensions. “To rein in pension costs is not going to be easy,” Kern said. “Regardless of public opinion and groups wanting special funding, I’ve been very consistent for the last four years protecting taxpayers. And that’s what we need to do for next five years at least.”
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