Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Police and Firefighters Pension Fund Task Force: Charge It!

Who else remembers the old Flintstone episode when Wilma and Betty are going shopping and yelling "Charge it! Charge it!" over and over again, working themselves into a frenzy at the thought of their shiny new purchases? Well, today City Manager Greg Burris offered his draft of the "charge" of the pension task force (okay, okay, different types of charges but I have to get your attention somehow).

The Council was requested to offer their individual top 12 choices from the City Manager's recommended task force members and applicant list, and any changes or suggestions they might have for his recommended "charge" of the task force by 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

Burris' top picks for the task force were:

> Brian Allen, owner and CEO of Pension Consulting, Inc
> Mary Beth Daniels, owner of Hunter Chase & Associates Concrete Construction
> Jerry Harmison, Attorney
> Carl Herd, Retired teacher
> Kenneth Homan, current member of the Police-Fire Pension Board
> James Jeffries, Attorney
> Robert L. Jones, retired lawyer, judge, and arbitrator
> Peggy Kubicek, retired financial advisor, retired teacher
> Carol Mihalevich, Vice President, Bank of Missouri
> Matt Morrow, CEO, Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield
> Charles Munsey, Health benefits consultant
> Jeff Rice, Financial advisor
> Craig Wagoner, real estate investments; CPA
> Lloyd Young, retired professor

Two of the recommendations do not live in Springfield's City limits.

Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky offered the harshest comments about the list from which the Council was asked to choose. She first wanted to know why Burris included people who were not Springfield residents. Burris explained, people who do not live within Springfield will be paying 50 percent of any sales tax the task force might eventually recommend.

Rushefsky appeared to be generally unhappy with the selection, though she recognized people who were not represented had excluded themselves by not applying to be on the task force, "It is not a diverse group. I think it is a very select group," Rushefsky said. She complained there were no blue collar, no labor representatives, "We're not seeing the general public and that's the problem, I'm really concerned that the folks out there who have concerns are not on here."

Councilman Ralph Manley suggested that each of the Council members choose 12 of the applicants for submission to the City Manager's Office, where they could be tallied and the 12 which scored the highest would make up the task force. None of the other Council members seemed opposed to that idea and so, it appeared that is the plan.

While a time line has been suggested for the task force to produce a recommendation, Mr. Burris made it clear it was suggested as a guideline to give the applicants an idea about how long they might be involved in the process. He said the Council could extend the deadline. Mayor Tom Carlson did not want the process to be rushed and didn't want the task force to feel pressured, "I'd rather have it (the task force) do a thorough job than feel rushed because the public will be more likely to support it," Carlson said.

The Council seemed to be in agreement that the new Council should choose three members for the task force. Burris suggested the membership be kept between 12-14, there might be more conflicts in scheduling, the more members the task force included, he said.

Councilman Wylie suggested the final decision should be up to the City Manager, however, Mayor Carlson explained that was not the case and Burris suggested the Council would need to approve the task force by ordinance.

The meetings of the police and firefighters pension fund task force will be open to the public.

The date of the new City Council's swearing in was also discussed. Because the new Council will not be able to be sworn in until after the County certifies the election results, Burris and City staff members felt that April 14 might be the earliest date possible to do that. Burris said they might be able to swear them in a day or two earlier but, the Council seemed settled on April 14 for the swearing in, in....

The End.


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