The Pacific Grove City Council on Wednesday, a day after city elections, will decide whether to hire a consultant to study possible savings from new ways of delivering fire-protection services .

The council also is scheduled to discuss opinions from two city lawyers that a controversial 2002 council vote increasing pensions for public safety workers remains in effect without legal flaws.

Critics who warn the city is headed for financial ruin because of high employee pension costs maintain the 2002 vote was improper for a number of reasons and the public wasn't alerted to the potential costs.

City Attorney David Laredo and attorney Cepideh Roufougar, who represents the city in pension litigation, concluded neither "the facts nor the law" support the position the 2002 vote was improper.

In a council report, Laredo said an Oct. 27 letter from pension critic Danial Davis didn't contain any information that changes his opinion about the 2002 pension vote.

"No timely opportunity exists to modify this action," Laredo says in the report.

On a related topic, the council will discuss the city's obligation under the state's new pension reform law.

The council, seeking cost savings on another front, also is slated to decide whether to spend about $45,000 on a consultant to examine different ways to supply fire-protection services.

Four firms answered the city's solicitation for consultants, and the lowest-priced proposal came from Matrix Consulting Group of Mountain View. Emergency Services Consulting International of Wilsonville, Ore.


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, made a $46,073 proposal.

The city spends about $3 million a year for fire services under a merger with Monterey and Carmel.

City Manager Thomas Frutchey said the consultant costs could be paid back in three years if it resulted in fire budget reductions of at least $15,000 a year.

Also Wednesday, the Pacific Grove council will consider:

· A resolution offered by council members Bill Kampe and Ken Cuneo that "corporations are not people and money is not speech." The resolution supports amending the U.S. Constitution along lines urged by the group Move to Amend.

· Authorizing the Museum of Natural History to start a citizen program to count monarch butterflies in the city's Monarch Sanctuary. The program will train middle- and high-school students and adult volunteers in counting techniques.


If you go
·What: Pacific Grove City Council
·When: 6 p.m., Wednesday
·Where: 300 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove