The San Bernardino police union will ask U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside to lift a stay and allow them to sue the city because it believes the way the city imposed a contract on the union violated state laws, the union's lawyer said in court Tuesday.

That will follow a similar attempt by the San Bernardino Public Employees Association after a contract was imposed on its members, and will add another legal adversary for the city.

The California Public Employee Retirement System and SBPEA argue the city is not eligible for bankruptcy protection, and Tuesday's bankruptcy court hearing was intended to update Judge Meredith Jury on the progress they've made since the last hearing, Dec. 21.

Budget progress is finally being made, largely because of new agreements with the city's unions -- including three that were imposed unilaterally because the parties didn't come to an agreement.

"I cannot overemphasize the importance of these actions, because one of the linchpins of the city's pendency plan is the obtaining of concessions from (employee groups)," said Paul Glassman, the city's bankruptcy attorney. "It shows the city and City Council's resolve to do what is necessary in the Chapter 9 (bankruptcy) case."

Legal arguments over whether those contracts were legally imposed would have to come after Jury gives permission for a separate court case, and arguments about that would follow a separate track than the discussion scheduled for Tuesday.


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Those discussions concerned a timeline and procedures for producing the thousands of documents the city's creditors are seeking that relate to arguments about whether the city is eligible for bankruptcy.

Jury told city officials to meet with its creditors to discuss those issues, including whether the information the city gives to CalPERS should also be given to other creditors. Attorneys for CalPERS and the city said they had reservations about that, but Jury said she was inclined to require it.

Jury scheduled a hearing to discuss that progress for 1:30 p.m. on March 5. Another hearing on the SBPEA's attempt to lift the stay remains scheduled for 10 a.m. on March 6.


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