Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Action on Pension Deferred; Council Votes to Delay Decision on Account for Departing Pension Boss

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Action on Pension Deferred; Council Votes to Delay Decision on Account for Departing Pension Boss

Article excerpt

Byline: Eileen Kelley

After years of failing to take action - or at least demand that action be followed through on -C the City Council on Tuesday voted to defer any action on whether the specially created pension for the executive director of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund was authorized and legal until the matter is discussed again at a council committee meeting.

Three years ago, City Council voted unanimously in support of taking legal action.

And then the matter went nowhere.

On Tuesday, when a resolution to once again authorize legal action regarding John Keane's Senior Staff Voluntary Retirement Program was on the table, Councilman Bill Gulliford was able to persuade a majority of council to defer the action.

Keane is set to earn about $227,000 annually out of his specially created pension account; an account that the city's General Counsel in 2012 said was not authorized and therefore illegal.

For 12 years city officials had no idea that the special pension account had been created. A total of three people are part of the pension plan. One person has already retired, and another - a widow - is drawing a portion of her late husband's pension.

The bulk of the account, which is valued at $4 million, is set to go to Keane.

Keane's pension, which will increase by 3 percent a year and is more lucrative than a city pension or a Florida State Retirement System pension, is on top of an additional pension of $65,000 for Keane's service as a firefighter. Keane is also drawing Social Security.

Following the rather short City Council meeting Tuesday, Gulliford said he plans on introducing an amendment or two on Monday when the Finance Committee is scheduled to take up the Keane pension.

Now, any decision by the full City Council won't happen until after Keane retires on Sept. 18. …

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