Friday, June 19, 2009

Recommended Reading 15: Reducing Police-Fire Pension Benefits Off the Table?

Pension reduction not among ideas Springfield News-Leader

An excerpt:

"During recent small- group discussions, members of at least two of the three task force subcommittees have said the attempt (to reduce benefits) could be more trouble than it's worth...."

While the New-Leader article reports several members noted, "Nothing's yet set in stone," and further relayed one of the task force members as stating if members of the public request further study during town hall meetings the task force can take another look at the issue, and could "stop in our tracks and backtrack," for the moment, they don't appear to even be considering recommending any reductions in pension benefits for consideration by the City Council.

A fresh look at their "charge" might be a good idea. One of the bullet points in the Police-Fire Pension Task Force's Charge is that they are to:

"Provide written recommendations to the Mayor and City Manager, ranking the one or more recommended options that should be considered, recognizing that City Council must ultimately approve any proposal. In addition to ranking the Task Force's recommendations, the report should indicate the advantages and disadvantages of each option considered from the perspective of the citizen, the City as employer, the employee, and the pension system."

Maybe it is just me but, I think the task force should include reduction of benefits in their final recommendations, what benefits the task force might recommend be reduced, and fully document the pros and cons of such a move. In fact, I think they owe it to our elected City leaders to leave that option on the table as City Council looks toward solving the pension problem by providing the means for a healthy plan for our police and firefighters for the future.

The final decision is something to be considered and determined by the City Council, not the Police-Fire Pension Citizen's Task Force.


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