Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pension Reform Deal No Longer a Sure Thing; Even If Brown and Fund Negotiators Agree, Some Council Members Wary

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pension Reform Deal No Longer a Sure Thing; Even If Brown and Fund Negotiators Agree, Some Council Members Wary

Article excerpt

Byline: Eileen Kelley

Thirteen days ago Mayor Alvin Brown proclaimed it was great day for Jacksonville after his chief negotiator and the Police and Fire Pension Fund's top administrator reached an agreement on pension reform.

But as the days turned into nearly two weeks, the agreement seems to be anything but that with both sides now questioning the logic behind each party's understanding of the May 21 agreement.

Now both sides will come together again at noon Tuesday to hash it out in public. Six hours have been set aside for the discussions at City Hall.

The heart of the problems appears to be about the length of the agreement, who or what group will handle future discussions and what happens if the city doesn't make good on its promise to increase its minimum payments by an additional $40 million a year.

Mayoral spokesman David DeCamp said the questions have been questions typical of a final review by attorneys and said the mayor's office is confident that technical questions on the law can be worked out.

"We're optimistic we can reach a final agreement on Tuesday and file a legislation on Wednesday," DeCamp said.

Assuming the groups come to an agreement following Tuesday's meeting, there could be another showdown right around the corner about the funding source when it comes time for a City Council vote.

Jacksonville City Council President Bill Gulliford has been emphatic since the tentative agreement was reached last month that he will block the introduction of legislation until there is a clear funding plan in place for the additional multi-million dollar infusion of cash the proposed agreement calls for. To date, the city has not provided a financial analysis of the pension reform agreement other than to say the new deal will generate $1.5 million in savings for the city over the next three decades. DeCamp said the city has had to work with an actuary to complete the financial analysis.

Monday, Gulliford said his statements last month were philosophical; now he believes he has the law on his side. Code provisions state that no city entity can enter into a contract obligating spending unless the council has appropriated the funding source. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.