The other day, I had a short-but-sweet discussion with Darin Chappell in the comment section of another entry. In that entry, Chappell had already explained his personal reasons for declining to present the Save Our Springfield (SOS) pension plan proposal to the Police and Fire Pension Citizen's Task Force, after City Manager Greg Burris extended an invitation for them to do so.
When Chappell noted an email, written by Mark Wright to the City Manager's office, declining the invitation on behalf of the SOS spokesmen, I thought the public would be interested in reading that email so, I requested a copy of it.
Chappell had noted, "The very nice email response that Mark Wright sent back to Mr. Burris was much more than a simple declination, by the way. It says quite a bit about the City in general, and Mr. Burris in particular, that he seems to be characterizing our decision as he is."
Technically, I can't agree that Burris characterized SOS by not elaborating upon the reason behind the group's decision not to present their plan to the task force. It really isn't Burris' job to explain the reasons behind the actions of SOS, but, that said, I suspect Burris knew the negative nuance of, repeatedly, noting he had invited SOS to speak to the task force but they'd declined, while failing to share the reason for that declination.
Eventually, Mark Wright forwarded the email response to me.
I was surprised to find out, according to Mark Wright, no member of the press or media ever contacted him to find out why SOS decided against speaking to the task force, but, rather than holding Burris accountable for the negative nuance present, due to no reason for SOS' decision ever being published, I prefer to remedy the problem by publishing the reason here, and doing what I can do, in my small corner of the world, to make those reasons available to the public.
I do wonder if media representatives felt the public would not be interested in why the SOS group, after much public fanfare about their plan, chose not to present it to the task force. I don't even know if Burris, in an earlier interview with the News-Leader, might have elaborated on the subject. It is possible he did but the News-Leader failed to include that portion of his interview in their article. Who knows? But, according to Wright, "After Mr. Burris’ letter to the editor, when he mentioned we declined the invitation to speak to the task force, I expected some inquiries and never received any. You are the first. "
Tom Martz, who had signed on to endorse the SOS plan during his campaign for the City Council General Seat A, did make a presentation regarding the SOS plan to the Pension task force. In an email from Martz, he gave a summary of his remarks to the task force, which were delivered on Thursday, May 21.
"In this presentation I gave a complete review of the S.O.S. plan and expanded upon that by pointing out many of the pitfalls of the pension plan and the 1 percent tax, which the city tried to pass in February," Martz wrote. "With the opportunity given to me by the S.O.S group, in allowing me to present the pension solvency plan, along with the City Manager and the Pension Citizen Task Force, I believe they were given an opportunity to see that tax increases should not always be the first and final solution to government problems."
Anyway, it's kind of old news now but, I think the public might still be interested in that email so, following is the body of the April 30, email, SOS spokesman Mark Wright sent to the City Manager's office after Burris relayed an invitation for them to address the task force. I have omitted the email addresses and date and time stamps:
Darren and I are grateful for the invitation by Mr. Burris, however we have concluded that SOS cannot add anything of substance to our solvency solution for the Fire-Police Pension Fund. SOS respects the valuable time of task force members and has no desire to impede their important work by rehashing our well publicized plan.
Our goal was to bring forward a temporary alternative proposal that would be tax-rate neutral, which would allow city leaders time to come up with a permanent solution to the solvency issue. We are humbled by the fact that our proposal led to the creation of the task force and equally humbled that our proposal is under consideration. If the SOS solvency plan is chosen or a superior plan is adopted by the task force, we will be satisfied.
We sincerely wish city leaders and task force members the best of success as they seek out a solution to a challenging problem facing our city. SOS is confident that when the citizens of Springfield unite behind one common effort we can conquer any obstacle.
May God bless,