Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Town May Support Pension Probe Call; Atlantic Beach Would Be First Government to Back Rep. Adkins

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Town May Support Pension Probe Call; Atlantic Beach Would Be First Government to Back Rep. Adkins

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein

The Atlantic Beach City Commission will consider taking a stand in support of state Rep. Janet Adkins' call for a state investigation of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund.

The commission is slated to vote Monday on a resolution asking Gov. Rick Scott to order an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or the state inspector general's office.

Atlantic Beach doesn't pay anything directly to the Police and Fire Pension Fund, which is an independent agency of the city of Jacksonville.

But Atlantic Beach contracts with the city of Jacksonville for firefighting service.

Beyond that connection, Atlantic Beach Mayor Carolyn Woods said her constituents pay taxes to both Jacksonville and Atlantic Beach so they have an interest in the pension fund being financially stable and sound.

"Being a policeman and a firefighter are pretty unique jobs - they're hard and stressful," she said. "It just seems very important that we as a government make sure their pensions are being protected and that they're being managed properly."

If approved by the Atlantic Beach Commission, it would mark the first time a government body has supported the request by Adkins, who cited a series of articles in the Florida Times-Union when she wrote Scott on Dec. 10.

The proposed resolution asks the state to investigate three areas:

- Determine whether the Police and Fire Pension Fund followed state laws and rules when it created a multimillion-dollar pension plan for senior staff members at the pension fund.

- Examine whether the pension fund followed state laws and rules in determining the eligibility of police and firefighters entering the Deferred Retirement Option Program.

- Research the historical facts leading to the pension fund's financial problems so lawmakers are able to "craft common sense solutions" that will "prevent any future occurrences."

Police and Fire Pension Fund Executive Director John Keane said the fund doesn't see any justification for a state investigation, but he doesn't object to anyone asking for one. …

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